This 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?