What if the Mistake is With Preparation?

mistakeThis post is me being my own devil’s advocate. You see, not long ago I posted an article on The Probability Spectrum of Disasters which basically stated that you should focus your preparations on the scenarios that are most likely to happen to YOU rather than what you’re most afraid of or some guru says you should be preparing for. Examples would include job loss, chronic illness, house fire, etc. Once you’re as ready as you can be for those scenarios then move on to things like earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and eventually EMP, pandemics, and so on.

I then got to wondering that if it’s all about the numbers (the statistics) then I would imagine that being affected by a disaster is actually statistically less likely than NOT being affected by one. In other words, I’m willing to bet the math says that in my lifetime I’m less likely to NEED the vast majority of my preparations than not, small power outages and such not withstanding.

So, why am I doing it? Why am I planning for a less likely scenario? Taking it a bit further, consider the fact that I’m even less likely to be drastically affected (i.e., end up dead or maybe displaced) by any single disaster, then the statistics certainly don’t bear out my desire to prep. I’m better off preparing for normalcy… kids’ college, 401K, retirement, etc.

Granted, I would need to find some numbers to verify my assumptions but let me ask you, how many people do you know that have been severely affected by a disaster in their lifetime? (I’m talking about earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.) I know I’ve lived through nearby earthquakes, seen tornadoes from afar, and even remember my parent’s house flooding due to a lot of rainwater and poor city sewer drainage but I would be the first to say that I’ve never been drastically affected by any of these. In fact, I can’t think of anyone I personally know that has been severely affected or even displaced by any serious emergency situation.

This isn’t to say that it can’t happen. Obviously disasters happen, people become displaced, lose everything, and even die. We know that. But I put a LOT of time, effort, money, and thoughts into my preps and it never seems to end. I sometimes stare at my assorted “for emergency only” gear and wonder if it would have been money better spent on a 401K, my kids’ college funds (hah!) or just dining out.

I don’t truly know that I will ever need any of my stuff. Most of my friends and family would never spend a dime on “for emergency only” gear and I’m sure that many think I’m a bit crazy (or at least I’m their first and only stop if disaster ever strikes them). I know I’m venting to the converted here but are we (the real 1%) wasting our time? Are my preparations the real mistake?

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Author: Damian Brindle

Discover How To *Effortlessly* Get Prepared For Disasters Of All Kinds In Only 5 Minutes A Day... Fast, Easy, And Inexpensively... In LESS Than One Single Month... By Following An Expert In The Field With My 5 Minute Survival Blueprint. You'll Be Glad You Took Action Now. :)

11 thoughts on “What if the Mistake is With Preparation?”

  1. I prep mainly for job loss. I have been out of work 7 times, and having a full pantry always made a huge difference. It’s never good having to try and choose between heating and eating.

    Beyond job loss, I prep secondarily in case of economic collapse or earthquake. These are possible scenarios in my area. Other scenarios that could happen in my area can’t really be prepped for except in terms of paying attention to alerts from the authorities and being ready to bug out (wildfires, volcanic eruption).

    My garden, if anyone asked, is because the food you grow yourself is food you know to be safe to eat, not loaded with pesticides and other chemicals. And it tastes better.

    I have never had my house burn down, or suffer a flood, but I still have insurance on my home. I have never been in a car accident, but I still have insurance on my car. I replace the brakes on my car before they have worn out so that I won’t have an accident.

    And if the SHTF, I will be prepared with lots of TP in the cupboard to cover that mess 🙂

  2. Wow really great article, it got me thinking. I know that at least one of the reasons that I prep is for a sense of security. it’s a little like having insurance. I hope and pray that my house will never burn down or that a tree wont flatten it but I have insurance anyway.

    Real goo article and I agree 100% that statistically I may never “need” most of my preps. I do use the more common stuff like some of my EDC gear and a few things from the get Home bag in my trunk once in a while but not the more exotic stuff.

    Em I ever going to really need several different Body Armor systems? Yeah, I can see how family and coworkers could find that sort of purchase very strange.

  3. I do know someone personally impacted by Hurricane Katrina-she thought she and her brother/sister were safe.They literally escaped in her truck up a hill as the water rushed in. The house she rented literally floated off its foundation. She had nothing left-no clothes (no BOB), no family pictures, laptop, etc. She has a BOB now, her current pictures are backed up on the cloud and flashdrives (kept elsewhere), etc. But she had to go thru it to learn never again. Like has been said before we buy insurance and hope and pray to never need them. But they are there IF we need them. So are your preps.

  4. I know folks who have spent thousands of dollars on insurance policies they never needed to make a claim on, should we cancel all of our insurance? With preps, many of them are a one time expense, it’s done, move on – but they are still there when the 401k vaporizes. We are paying 3X for fuel what we did 10 years ago with the greatest inflation happening in the last 3 years. Any non-perishable item you buy today that you will NEED & USE anytime in the future, regardless of disastrous circumstances, is a wiser investment than financial vehicles.

  5. Most of the stuff in my BOB, is used on frequent camping trips, (so it dosen’t go to waste). As to the rest of my preps- both my adult son & daughter think that their dad is a couple of fries short of a happy lunch!
    (They’ll be singing a different tune, sometime in the very near future.)

  6. I have lived through earthquakes. The one that collapsed the freeway in California actually emptied all my cabinets of dishes and food. (The back of the cabinets were toward the epicenter). I was without power for 3 days then.

    Later, living in the mountains, heavy rain dropped several trees onto powerlines – out of power again – so I rushed to buy a generator and bought the last one and fuel. We were out of power for 3 days, again, but a neighbor up the hill 1/2 mile away went without for 2 weeks (single user on a long line).

    If you look at things statistically, on the average we have a low probability of being affected. But here in the real world we see people on the TV news in every disaster saying ‘I never thought it would happen here’. Plus, if you think about it, doesn’t it seem that whatever you don’t think will happen does happen?

    Disasters won’t wait until you are ready. They also don’t care if you are prepared or not. They will happen to somebody, just like the lottery, and it isn’t whether you are prepared or not that determines who gets tapped to be ‘it’.

    In my mind, people who are just getting by and have made no preparation to be without the day to day ‘light switch and refrigerator’ haven’t thought about what happens when they can’t get the power on in a week . . . or 2 or 3. (Remember the ‘snowpacolypse’ a couple years ago? I had friends without power for 10 days).

    The people that keep rebuilding and getting flooded year after year? Well, I guess they deserve it :). But they know what to expect and how to respond.

    I guess what I am saying is this, things happen to people every day. But, is your family going to look at you and say they are hungry and cold, or are they going to say ‘Thank You’. Yes, you may never NEED everything. Or, you may NEED IT ALL. It is the luck of the draw. In the interim, keep up, take the family shooting / hunting / learning new skills. But most of all LIVE LIFE to the best of your ability and be happy.

    Thank you for your site.

  7. I couldn’t agree with this post less. Maybe it is I’m older or because I live in Florida and have seen too many hurricanes to count over the years. I’ve had close friends and family wiped out in hurricanes Hugo and Andrew. I’ve had to evacuate for several myself and had my sons and husband trapped on an island during a Cat 4 that was only a 1 the night before. We’ve lived through job losses, a tornado, a forest fire that stopped just short of our property (before moving to Florida). If you live long enough, you will eventually have a SHTF event. They are sometimes personal and sometimes a widespread event, but sooner or later, they happen. Being prepared makes all the difference.

  8. Even though the odds are small we are all looking out for the Black Swan event (Taleb). So sure, the odds of you being unemployed are greater than the odds of a SHTF event, that doesn’t preclude that event happening in the future. Because a Black Swan event is totally unpredictable (can’t give it odds) doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Hence the need to prep.

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