5 Things Hurricane Sandy Can Teach Us

As I am sure the whole world knows, 50 million people on east coast of North America are embracing themselves for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. Public transport is grounded and over 7000 flights have been postponed. The storm has already taken 60 lives, has disrupted the presidential campaign and shut down Wall Street for the first time in nearly 30 years. This really makes us realise what little control we have over things…

Adapted from the BBC

Ever the optimist, I have Five positive things that this storm can teach us:

  • We don’t know what we don’t know. Storms come and go with little warning. We take too many things for granted: we are used to the tube working and flights arriving on time. We complain when they are a few minutes late, but really – in the presence of this almighty world – we are very small and our efforts relatively insignificant. We can’t take on nature and she is always in control. Don’t take things for granted in your own life. Just because you have a job or you have your health, don’t take them for granted. These things can change in a heartbeat. Similar to how you should keep stores of food and maintain the weatherproofing of your house, you should work hard on all aspects of your life. When you try and do it all at the last minute, sadly it is often too late.
  • We can never completely account for the unexpected. Think you have it all worked out? Got all the Emergency Funds you need? What would be your backup plan if a storm destroyed your house tomorrow? Do you have proper insurance? Do you have enough money to temporarily relocate? We can never have a safety net that is too big. Just because you have accounted for the washing machine breaking down and the car’s service, it doesn’t mean you have thought of it all. Realise that disasters don’t always happen to someone else.
  • Relationships matter. In times of danger and panic, you never know who you might need help from. That neighbor you never made an effort to speak to? The old friend from college you never bothered to call back? We need to maintain our relationships and ensure that we have friends that are genuinely willing to help us. Equally, we have a duty to help our peers, neighbors and others.
  • The importance of diversification. This hurricane has the potential to destroy houses, shops, offices, parks and worst of all lives. Even if the storm doesn’t affect you directly, there is no telling what catastrophic effect this could have on stocks, businesses and property. Whether you are a landlord, investor or business owner; the storm could destroy your income or interests. Having all your eggs in one basket is a dangerous game. Diversify your stocks/funds between local and foreign markets, buy property all over the world and expand your businesses in different neighborhoods.
  • Realisation of how good we actually have it. Disasters remind us of how lucky we really are and what we take for granted on a daily basis. Experiencing a disaster gives us a sense of grounding and the realisation of what others constantly have to live through. It reminds us that instead of buying a new car or a bigger house, that there are people with no car or no house.Above all, disasters bring us closer together.

 

To all my friends around the world – I sincerely hope that you and all your loved ones stay safe. Don’t try and be heroes, we can’t fight the power of this world.

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Comments

  1. These types of storms and natural disasters definitely help give you some perspective on life that’s for sure!

  2. Very well said! I know I can’t even imagine how scary it must be being on the east coast right now, especially while we are having perfect weather out here on the west coast. But you know, even though we have good weather, earthquakes can happen at any moment, so it’s good to be prepared. It’s one of those things you don’t think about much till it happens.
    budget & the Beach recently posted..Week in Review-10/28/12-I Buy FitnessMy Profile

    • Thanks :) It is strange to think that only a couple of hundred miles away, people are oblivious to the horrendous weather. Stay safe with those earthquakes!

  3. Hey savvyscot, I promised I would pop by soon!

    What a thoughtful article. Our thoughts are definitely with our friends across the pond at this difficult time for them.

    I know we all moan about the weather here in the UK every time there’s a drop of rain or a snowflake falls, but this definitely puts it all in context – we really are very lucky to have such a moderate climate.

    And thanks for making the point about diversification of your stock portfolio!

    Best,
    MI
    Miserly Investor recently posted..Dividend Investing: Tools Of The Trade – Part 2My Profile

  4. Great post, SS. We take many things for granted on a daily basis and most of us have no idea how well we have it. Life is very unpredictable and it’s so important to live life to its fullest…while properly saving for your future. :)
    Jason @ WorkSaveLive recently posted..1-Year Blogoversary Giveaway! Apple iPad Mini, $100 Amazon GC, $50 Paypal Cash!My Profile

  5. I totally agree! We were hammered (Halifax) in ’03 by hurricane Juan, we knew we would get the crazy winds and surf off the ocean but we didn’t account for the 100+ yr old trees in the city which caused million of dollars worth of damage, blocking roads, knocking out power for up to 2 weeks in some cases and killing people…it was sad and scary. Can’t mess around with Mother Nature- she’s boss.
    Catherine recently posted..Paying More For Loyalty?My Profile

  6. Tackling Our Debt says:

    Life is very unpredictable and many times people take things for granted until the day that something horrible happens, such as a weather disaster or extreme health issue or job loss.

    Hopefully this hurricane doesn’t turn out to be as bad as the predictions.
    Tackling Our Debt recently posted..Blog Post Swap: Sharing a PF Interview with Natalie from Debt and the GirlMy Profile

  7. Great post! Weather and life are unpredictable. Just when you think you have everything figured out and things are going smoothly, life throws a curve ball. The lesson is to be thankful for what you have and know that you have it better than most.
    Jon @ MoneySmartGuides recently posted..Contrarian Investing – When To Use It & What To Be Aware OfMy Profile

  8. “We can never completely account for the unexpected.” Isn’t that true?! This past several years has been nothing but unexpected events for me. New job check, moved twice, check. Depressed, check. Got out of being depressed, check. So much can happen so quickly and life can take you in so many directions, the best we can do is prepare a little ahead of time.

  9. Edward Antro says:

    My friends in NJ have been posting some crazy photos from the storm, like a shark swimming through town! And a hurricane just before Halloween? It doesn’t get more unpredictable than that!
    Edward Antro recently posted..Is There No End to the Fees for Selling a House?My Profile

  10. Great post. We don’t have many natural disasters where we live, but used to deal with tornadoes in my hometown. Community really pulls together in rough times. If we could only be like that always, it would be a better world.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..What Happens Before and After Foreclosure?My Profile

  11. justin@thefrugalpath says:

    Your hurricane metaphor is like a young family that doesn’t have life insurance. Then one day the father doesn’t make it home from work and the mother is left without much to keep the family together.
    justin@thefrugalpath recently posted..Three Things I am Glad That My Parents Taught Me About MoneyMy Profile

    • True That! That literally breaks my heart to read stories like that… My wife’s friend was killed in a car crash yesterday and left a new baby fatherless. I sincerely hope their finances were in track – it is tragic :(

  12. Holly@ClubThrifty says:

    I have been glued to the screen watching this storm!!! I hope that it turns out better than it looks like it might….

  13. I’ve been watching the clips. The images from New York are a great reminder of what is really important. Here, in the southern most part of the Great White North, we’ve been told to get our 72 hour emergency kits ready and it’s been wet, but apart from the duration hardly noticeable. Urks me a little I spent time, money, and energy getting ready.
    Mandy @MoneyMasterMom recently posted..Preparing for Hurricane Sandy: A Mommy’s GuideMy Profile

  14. Yea it’s crazy how we take things like power and water for granted. We had a day long power outage and it was kinda cool for a day, but would have really sucked if it lasted longer..
    Harry @ PF Pro recently posted..Case Study: Build Credit for Someone by Adding Them as an Authorized UserMy Profile

    • I agree. It can be fun to lose the ability to go online, put the tv on, lights on, appliances on etc… but for a while! Let’s hope North America can recover quickly

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