No Is A 4-Letter Word–Chapter Eighteen–Always Carry an Umbrella

I am sure that you are aware that I don’t mean this literally. Always carry an umbrella is a metaphor for Always have a backup plan or to be prepared for the unknown or inevitable.

I have always tried to live by this motto…I think it is a good one. Even car manufacturers must think it is a good idea, otherwise they would not include a jack, tire iron and spare tire in all of their new vehicles. This is probably the most popular example. The second one would be an item that all women have to deal with and that is feminine hygiene products for their monthly cycle. I am sure you would be hardpressed to find a woman that did not carry a spare feminine item on their person during this time.

So, being prepared for extenuating circumstances is quite common and something that most people take for granted. I was a professional wedding photographer for several years. I always had a complete backup outfit for my weddings. I also have spare batteries of every type that I used, just in case. I also carried a repair kit that included thread and needles, gaffers tape, scissors, zip ties, and all kinds of doodads that might come in handy.

I am also an avid scuba diver, or at least I used to be. One of the first things that my dive instructor told us to do was to make up a “save a dive kit”. It contained any item that might break in your scuba diving rig from O-rings to fin and mask straps, to snorkel keepers, more zip ties, tools and duct tape.

I am sure that you are getting the picture. It is always good to be prepared. One more example is a first aid kit. Whenever my wife and I go out in the wilderness we bring our kit with us. You never know when you will get a cut, nick or scrape in the backwoods.

Most people even if they are not particularly handy still keep a few items like screwdrivers, pliers and a small hammer for that occasional odd job that needs to be done around the house. You never know when you may need to hang a photo or some such item. Or a handle that might come loose on a cabinet. So, if we can have backups for everyday things, why can’t we have backups for our major life events?

Most people try to put a little money aside for a rainy day. Some people have a savings account, others even keep their money hid away at home, so that they have easy access to it. A retirement account is a plan for the eventuality of old age. While I have tried to invest in a 401K a few times, I will probably only have social security to retire on. When the interest rates dropped I refinanced our house, so now we can afford the mortgage when we retire. It will be a little tight but at least it will be manageable.

Our ultimate backup plan is to move to the Philippines since my wife is a Filipina. This is a valid plan for us if it gets too tight. In the eventuality that I can’t work full time anymore, I have a van fully outfitted to sleep in with a utility trailer and generator. This would allow me to work per diem and live in the van on BLM land so we could live dirt cheap. I would simply put all the things we could not live without in storage until I am able to collect social security and we then could afford to get another place to live in. Having backup plans is empowering. I was always afraid to be without work. It has happened twice in my life. You know what I survived both times. And I did not end up becoming homeless.

While I don’t forsee us needing to take this extreme measure it is always a good idea to have a plan, just in case.

Business owners also need to have emergency plans in place for the occasional mishap. Unfortunately sometimes the circumstances are so extreme that no amount of planning can prepare you for them. The COVID pandemic is one of those instances. Thousands of people lost their businesses and even their homes. I have always been fortunate in my career choices. I have always tried to find a career that was immune to economic downturns and even pandemics. My career as an ICU RN is just such a one. My previous job was a manager in a grocery store. I figured that this was pretty safe since everyone has to eat.

Unfortunately none of my career paths afforded me a get rich path. This, of course, would have been the most secure path of all. There is nothing like being rich to give you peace of mind.