I have a serious problem with contingency planning, even when I don’t mean to.
In the back of my mind, I’m always 10 steps ahead of everyone else in terms of thinking of the “what-ifs.”
It’s not necessarily a bad thing–I tend to be a very defensive driver, anticipating dumb things people will do well in advance. When it comes to money, this habit makes me a natural saver for all kinds of possible calamities. I’m also detail-oriented and enjoy creating future plans.
One of the questions I often ask myself is: What do I have to lose if…?
Of course, the natural follow-up question is: What’s the probability that “if” will actually happen?
Most of us do this subconsciously, but if either answer is above a threshold we find uncomfortable, we’ll be motivated to act. In the event we don’t act (we don’t have time, we don’t know how, etc.), this causes a lot of stress and worry in our lives.
Here are a few examples of things I’ve considered lately. What do I have to lose if…
- my wallet got stolen?
- someone hacked my Google account?
- my laptop was stolen?
- I was in a coma for several weeks?
We can’t live our lives in a bubble, always fearing the worst. But as the saying goes: hope for the best, plan for the worst. So at one point or another, I’ve thought about all of those scenarios and more.
So what did I actually do about it?
I mitigate the risk to the extent I can, and in ways that are practical. For example:
- I keep a Word file of everything in my wallet, along with contact numbers. I also carry only the essentials (6 IDs and cards in total) and very little cash.
- My Google password is very strong, and I change it frequently to ward off potential threats.
- I use hard drive encryption on my laptop, and all of my files are on double backup: both shared between computers through the cloud, and also backed up into another cloud-based service. None of those solutions are terribly expensive, and they keep my data relatively safe.
- I’m taking steps to produce legal documents that would protect me and my family if anyone was hurt for an extended period of time, or worse.
Most of the time, the solution is simple. The hard part is recognizing what’s bothering you in the back of your mind (what are you worrying about?) and making it a point to address the risk.
What do you have to lose?