I feel terrible about the tragedy in Japan. I worked for two Japanese companies in my career and have met a lot of wonderful people from the Land of the Rising Sun. I love their culture and respect their work ethic. True to their nature, the Japanese are taking a proactive approach to solving their own problems. There will be many valuable lessons learned from this tsunami to help the people of Japan prepare for the next one.
Some Disasters are Predictable
The Japanese have been plagued by earthquakes and tsunamis for thousands of years. And, they have done everything possible to prepare for these expected disasters. But, the wrath of nature always seems to overwhelm civil services.
I remember watching the Discovery Channel before hurricane Katrina. And, they were talking about how New Orleans could be the next big disaster site, because much of the city is under sea level. When the hurricane was still offshore, it was obvious the Category 5 storm was going to hit New Orleans. Yet, many people chose not to evacuate and they drown.
Saving money helps to avoid financial disaster from a loss of income.
People Take Unnecessary Risks
One unfortunate thing about living in San Clemente, CA is that I live right next to a nuclear power plant. And, it’s a crusty old relic at that. For the 28 years I have lived here, it’s never been a problem. But, there is always the haunting potential for nuclear disaster. San Clemente residents ignore the possibility, because we are unwilling to move away from our seaside villa.
Most of the world’s population lives in close proximity to high-risk sites for a natural disaster. The lure of beaches, mountains and rivers, places the bulk of civilization in harm’s way. I remember watching footage of the tsunami in the Indian Ocean and people were staring out at the ocean, transfixed by what was happening. Most of these people were never seen again.
Financial risk can be greatly reduced just by avoiding debt.
Confusion can be Deadly
Despite some amazing advances in science and communications, we still can’t seem to avoid the tragic loss of life from natural disasters. All of the sirens and beacons are worthless, unless the people take the proper actions to avoid the disaster. There is something about a disaster that draws people like moths to a flame. And, they are seldom prepared for the sheer magnitude.
There are many studies of tornado deaths in the U.S. They all show people are more likely to survive with no warning, then with a very short warning. There is something about an impending disaster that confuses those who are unprepared. And, they seem to make the worst possible choices, which often cost them their lives.
Creating a financial plan can greatly reduce confusion and suffering.
Protect your Assets at all Times
I was chatting with the cashier at Trader Joe’s and he was convinced that global warming was responsible for all of the huge snow storms. I’m not sure how or why global warming has now become climate change in the winter, but that’s a whole new debate. Whether pollution is affecting the climate or this is part of a natural cycle, disasters are a big part of our future.
My understanding is the last 100 years have been historically quiet for natural disasters and the future occurrence and magnitude are likely to increase. This combined with a huge population growth in some of the riskiest areas means disasters will continue to grow deadlier and more expensive.
Insurance can be the difference between disaster and inconvenience.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that disasters are inevitable. They are going to continue to strike and there is no way to stop them. The only thing we have any control over is whether or not we are prepared when it happens.
“The minute you think you’ve got it made, disaster is just around the corner.”
Joe Paterno – College Football Coach
The Digerati Life – Earthquake Survival Tips & Nuclear Disaster Insurance
DINKs Finance – Japan Needs our Help
Invest it Wisely – Helping Japan: What Canadians can Do