The Corona Virus (COVID-19) is on everyone’s mind right now. I have seen people on both sides and everywhere in-between on the concerned spectrum. While I am not one to be overly concerned, I do think we should be prepared. That is why I want to discuss how to be prepared for the Corona Virus. I am not talking about how to avoid it or any medical advice. Please consult the CDC and other experts for that. But I do want to talk about how to be prepared for some of the potential consequences.
How to be Prepared for the Corona Virus
First of all I encourage you to keep up with the updates from the CDC and other legitimate resources. We haven’t really had an outbreak here in the US but it could be coming. General hand washing and hygiene is critical. If you are sick, stay out of the public. See this article that explains some of the latest updates, concerns, and precautions we may be asked to take in the near future.
If you are prepared, there is no need to fear
I am not advocating fear. Having fear doesn’t really help the problem and can make it worse. But I am advocating for preparedness. As is usually the case, it is too late to prepare for a crisis when the crisis hits. So the time to prepare is now. In fact, it was long ago. When life is going well is when we should prepare. That way we are ready when the excrement hits the fan.
Recommendations on how to prepare
Food and Water
This may not be it, but there may be a time when drinking water and food are hard to come by. Having food storage and water storage can go a long way in giving you peace of mind in a disaster situation. Depending on your finances, your family size, your living conditions, etc. it may be hard to have a lot of food storage. However, do what you can. Your future self will thank you for it if you ever need it, and your present self will feel prepared and at ease.
Right now I would say my family has about 3 months of food and water storage. The food is a combination of legit food storage packed in boxes that are good for 20 years plus. We have wheat, rice, and other things that I am not sure of (my wife would know). We also buy a few extra normal grocery items each month that are non-perishable that will last several months. Canned and packaged foods can last for a while. So buying some extra each month and keeping them in the pantry can go a long way.
We also have a 250 gallon water storage tank. There are several places you can get these. We got ours from Sure Water. There is a 500 gallon size as well. But that is a monster. We do plan on getting another 250 gallon tank someday. They fit nicely in our garage. They also sell water treatments that will keep drinking water good for 5 years. So every 5 years we will need to empty the tank and refill but it is pretty easy to do.
It would be nice if we had a year’s worth of food and water storage but I am pretty happy with three months. If the Corona Virus somehow made it so we couldn’t get clean food or water for a few weeks or even months, I know we would be prepared.
Another even more likely possibility is that there is some sort of financial crisis or at least recession from this. However, I have no fear for this either. I feel like I am prepared for it. The number one thing you can do to feel prepared and not fear a financial downturn is to be out of debt. I am convinced this world would be a lot better place if we weren’t in so much debt. Debt wreaks havoc on families and lives even when things are going well in the world. But when there is a crisis, it is exponentially worse.
Now I am not totally out of debt. I still do have a reasonable mortgage and some dental practice debt. However, I have no student loan debt, no auto loan debt, no credit card debt, no other debts at all. This gives me peace of mind.
I also have about a 6 month emergency fund. If for some reason I couldn’t make money for a while, whether it is from the Corona Virus or something else, I could easily support my family for several months. Especially since I wouldn’t have to buy food or water for 3 months. Do whatever you can now to get an Emergency Fund in place. It will protect you against financial trouble from the Corona Virus, or anything else that comes up in the future.
What About the Stock Market?
Some people are worried about the market and they are taking their money out. Even with a potential crisis from Corona Virus, I still recommend against trying to time the market. You have no idea what the market is going to do over the next several weeks or months. Pulling out of the market at the wrong time can be disastrous. Sure, there may be a recession, or even a depression. But guess what, we have been through some bad things in this country. The Great Depression, two world wars, 9/11, etc. And the markets have always come back with a vengeance.
If there is some sort of recession from this then look at it as a sale. The great William Bernstein once said something along the lines of “We should get down on our knees and pray for a recession”. Now granted, the younger you are the more time you have to recover from a recession. However, being older doesn’t mean you should take all your money out of the market and into cash. It just means that your asset allocation should be heavier in Fixed income and less in Equity. Less aggressive basically.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not praying for the Corona Virus to continue so there is a recession. I hope that we can destroy this thing very soon. However, things are going to continue to happen in life that aren’t ideal and that may cause a recession. And when that happens I want to take advantage. Not only will I not take my money out of the market, I will add more into the market. We always look for a good sale on other items, why not stocks? If my stock mutual funds lose value due to the Corona Virus, then I will just buy more shares to get my asset allocation back to where my plan says it should be. That way I get those shares for a great price and when the market rebounds I will be sitting pretty.
Once again, I am not trying to strike fear in anyone about the Corona Virus. I hope this passes soon. I feel terribly for those suffering from this. However, I do want everyone to be as prepared as possible. If you are prepared, there is no reason to fear.
Start by getting a little food storage. Add some water storage from someone like Sure Water to make sure you have some clean drinking water. Get a an Emergency Fund started now or if you already have on then grow it to 6 months. And don’t pull out of the market. If the market does crash, consider it a sale and buy buy buy. I don’t fear for recessions because I have a written financial plan that I will stick to through thick and thin.
You don’t have to be a slave to debt or have fear of the Corona Virus. Together we can become debt free, financially literate, financially independent, and prepared for any crisis that may come our way.
-Debt Free DDS
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*Nothing on my website is professional or legal advice. I am only sharing information that I have learned and it may or may not be accurate. I am not liable for any problems you may have by following this advice. Please do further research and get professional and/or legal advice about any of these topics. This post contains affiliate links. This site could be paid for clicks or purchases made through these links.