It’s Better to Prepare than Repair

March 22, 2021

We survived the snowmageddon of 2021. I’ve been in CO since 1976 and have seen quite a few spring blizzards. They arrive (used to without a lot of fanfare), dump a bunch of snow, create massive drifts and wreak havoc on travel for a couple of days. Then, the sun comes out and the main thoroughfares are typically dry in a few days, but the side streets are a different story. It seems like a prudent personal practice to be prepared to live for several days at home with enough food, water, and TP (I can’t believe I’m recommending this) to survive. I was dismayed to see the run on grocery stores. I can understand getting a few items, but the shelves were bare at many locations across town. I’m not sure what’s leading to this panic, hoarding mentality, but it concerns me.

This spring storm reminded me of the Adams family and the lesson, “It’s better to prepare than repair” that Ron Blue describes in his book, “Surviving Financial Meltdown."

Imagine an attractively designed yellow two-story home standing alone on highly sought-after real estate along the Texas Gulf Coast. Just a few days before, that house was part of a thriving community. Now, it is surrounded on every side by the wreckage of about 200 other homes and buildings. A private helicopter pilot took the photo when flying over the area after it had been slammed by Hurricane Ike in September of 2008.  

https://www.chron.com/news/hurricanes/article/Owners-return-to-last-home-left-in-Bolivar-town-1763667.php

Not long after the pilot posted the image on CNN’s iReport site, the buzz started. Viewers began debating whether the photo was fake. After all, how could one home withstand 110 mph winds and a storm surge while every other building around it had been pulverized? The speculation ended when the sister of one of the homeowners identified it and provided another photo of the house taken just a few months earlier. 

Reporters quickly located the homeowners, Warren and Pam Adams. Just three years before, the Adams’ home had been destroyed by Hurricane Rita. The couple wanted to rebuild rather than leave the coast because they loved the beach so much. So, they did—but they understood that their new home might be in the path of a hurricane again someday. 

The couple hired an engineering firm to oversee the contractor as their new residence was built. The builder put the house’s bottom floor on wooden columns that raised it above the surrounding houses, the foundation was made with reinforced concrete, and they followed the latest hurricane building codes to the letter. 

Despite its solid construction, the home did sustain some damage in Hurricane Ike. The first-floor garage and a wooden staircase on the home’s exterior were destroyed, the interior suffered water and mud damage, and furniture, appliances, and other possessions were ruined. Yet, unlike their neighbors, who returned to their former home sites hoping to find a few personal belongings among the rubble, the Adams can repair their home. 

The precautions the couple took when rebuilding their home after Hurricane Rita may have seemed extreme to some. Yet, their foresight appears brilliant after the town sustained a direct hit by Hurricane Ike. In fact, after Aaron Reed, a spokes­man with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department confirmed that the Adams’ home was the only surviving home on that side of the beach. He added, “I thought, if I were ever to build a house on the coast, I’m going to contact the guy who built this.”

Crises, natural disasters, financial meltdowns, and pandemics will continue as they have for millennia. During these times, we may feel out of control, and in some respect, these events reveal how little control we truly have. However, there are tactics you can use to prepare yourself financially for the next (fill in the blank) calamity:

  1. Spend less than you make. By the way, this is a guaranteed method to building wealth, contentment, and confidence (actually all of these are, but this is for sure)
  2. Avoid the use of debt.
  3. Plan for financial margin. Have a 3–6-month emergency fund, and save for your short, mid, and long-term goals.
  4. Set long-term goals.
  5. Give generously. This is a guaranteed strategy to break the power of money in your life.

I know these habits and principles always work, are always relevant, and are always right.

Until the next snowpocalypse, Vaya Con Dios!