In the financial world, analysts are abuzz with forecasts about how Japan’s devastating earthquake will affect the markets, both tomorrow and in the long-term. But when it comes to bloggers who write about family finances, I’ve found none who have broached the issue. Isn’t there something that we can learn from the earthquake in Japan that we can translate into our own lives? I’d like to suggest that there is – and that it’s worth mulling over these lessons from the Japanese earthquake so that we can better prepare our own home and finances for the event of an unforeseen emergency.
Reconsider earthquake insurance (or at least keep your house up to code). Most people think that unless they live in an area that is prone to earthquakes, they don’t need coverage. However, this may not be entirely accurate. The whole point of having insurance is that it offers a financial net ‘just in case’ something disastrous happens. In other words, even if you don’t expect to have an earthquake, you may want to cover yourself anyway. Chances are, if you live in a low-risk area, you can find earthquake insurance for around $1000/year (possibly less). If you really don’t want to spend this money, make sure to check that your home meets all current building codes, so that in the event of a catastrophe, your damage will be limited.
Stock up on food and water. There are a million excuses as to why most of us aren’t prepared for an emergency. There’s no room in the pantry, buying water is a waste of money, or we live in a low-risk zone, to name a few. But I’d like to suggest that spending a few dollars to make sure that your family will be better off in the case of an emergency is money well-spent. If you don’t use the supplies within 6 months, make an effort to use them and to replace with fresh supplies, so that you’ll always have what you need when it.
Invest in an emergency-preparedness kit. If you enjoy saving money, chances are that you’re hoarding it for a ‘rainy day’. But if there’s one thing that we can learn from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, it’s that once it starts raining, it’s too late to purchase what you’ll need. So, take some of your hard-earned funds, and invest them in an emergency-preparedness kit. Not sure what should be in it? You can find dozens of lists online, and you should choose the one that makes you feel the most comfortable. Some critical elements – whistles, garbage bags, first aid supplies and a can opener.
Purchase a fire and waterproof box. It’s important to keep your most important documents safe during an earthquake, flood or any other national emergency. Not only can having your important information help you during the event, it can make your life easier afterwards. For around $50 you can purchase a waterproof, fireproof box that will store your documents as safely as possible. If you’re extremely nervous, you can also scan in your most critical documents and store them in a cloud storage solution. However, protecting the originals is a safer strategy an investment of this type can truly pay off in the long run.