My elderly relatives in New Jersey are facing their second week without power and looking at 10 more days without electricity. We told them to get lots of food, batteries, and prepare for the storm in advance. Their response, “Our town doesn’t lose power.”

We are searching online for a propane or battery powered indoor heater. But then, the problem will be getting it shipped to them in a timely manner. Of course, all of the local hotels and motels are completely booked. And, even if we could find a place for them, it’s unlikely they would go.


I love my great aunt and uncle dearly, but their attitude of “Que Sera, Que Sera” (what will be will be) is not a long term successful solution.


Life is uncertain. Disasters happen both personally and globally. Of course, that’s what insurance is for. And the reason to start saving early is so that in retirement you have a nest egg to get you through. Some folks are wired to think more about the present and less about the future. It’s great to have that slab of chocolate cake now and not worry if it will make you fat or contribute to hypertension or diabetes. But just because you avoid thinking about the future, doesn’t mean you won’t have the consequences of your behaviors.

If you are not a planner by nature, look at he folks without food, batteries and power in the eastern part of the USA and think about getting some water and canned goods for emergency supplies.

Hurricane Sandy gave us the kick in the pants to stock up on lots of gallons of water (one per person per day), and canned goods. In our neck of the woods, an earthquake is more likely than a hurricane and there’s no warning! We committed to adding to our emergency supplies with each weeks shopping.

If you have no emergency fund or retirement savings, consider opening up a retirement account; a ROTH IRA or workplace 401(K) today and funnel a few bucks in every month. Don’t worry about starting with a small amount, even $50 or $100 per month gets you into the savings habit. You can increase the contribution in the future.

Wealth, Preparation, and Money Tips from the Web

Use this disaster as a reminder to plan and prepare for the future.

How prepared are you for the unexpected?

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  1. krantcents
    November 4, 2012 | 5:53 pm

    Thanks for the links, I am in good company. My sister and brother in law live on Long Island and won’ have power until the 10th. The good news is there was no damage for them. They have a generator and some inconvenience, but they are okay.

  2. Khaleef @ Fat Guy Skinny Wallet
    November 4, 2012 | 6:29 pm

    Hey Barb, thanks for the mention.

    I hope your family is ok. We got our power and internet back now, but there are still many places in the dark with no heat. In fact, we have family members staying with us right now because of that.

  3. cashflowmantra
    November 4, 2012 | 8:58 pm

    Sorry to hear about your relatives. Hopefully, it won’t take as long as expected to get the power back.

  4. Little House
    November 5, 2012 | 9:28 am

    That’s a long time to go without power. I imagine it’s pretty chilly there. Hopefully the power will come on sooner than later.

  5. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter
    November 5, 2012 | 10:28 am

    Sorry about your family Barb. These kinds of situations can be so stressful. We have put together a 72 hour bin for us in case we ever run into a natural disaster or lose power. Luckily we haven’t had to use it yet.

  6. Eschewing Debt
    November 5, 2012 | 11:28 am

    I completely agree with everything you said! A little preparation can make a huge difference- and even save your life. When I see people on TV getting angry at the government or at FEMA for not responding fast enough, all I can think is “you knew a week in advance that this storm was coming! You should have prepared yourself!” I’m not trying to be callous, and my heart absolutely breaks for these people, but it is an excellent reminder that we need to take care of ourselves instead of hoping somebody else will come to the rescue when an emergency happens.

  7. John S @ Frugal Rules
    November 5, 2012 | 11:47 am

    Soory to hear about your relatives. W have good friends in New York who’re still without power and have been told it will probably be some time late this week. Great points on what situations like this teach us about being prepared and being financially disciplined.

  8. Barb
    November 5, 2012 | 11:57 am

    @Miss T, Eschewing, John, Thanks for your well wishes. If any good comes out of this disaster is the reminder to consider the emergencies for which you can prepare. And do what you can NOW. It’s also wonderful to see people banding together to help one another.

  9. Barb
    November 5, 2012 | 5:37 pm

    @Krantc-A generator is looking like a great investment. I’ve never had one.
    @Khaleef-Great that you can put up some relatives.
    @Cash Flow-@ Litttle house-Thanks for your well wishes. They seem to be hanging on okay. I hope another storm doesn’t cause more pain.

  10. Dominique Brown
    November 6, 2012 | 8:59 am

    Sorry to hear about your relatives. How are they doing now?

  11. Barb
    November 6, 2012 | 11:49 pm

    Hi Dominique, They are hanging in there. We just sent a big food basket which i hope get’s there tomorrow. Thanks for asking :)

  12. Kevin@ Credit Bureau Insider
    December 4, 2012 | 6:34 pm

    Last year we got hit by Hurricane Irene. I had procrastinated on buying a generator to run the sump pump in the event of a power outage and waited until it was too late. Once the store got emergency supplies in, it was used to pump water out of our finished basement.

    This year Sandy knocked out power but did not bring much rain inland where we live. The weather got very cold, exposing a need to wire the heat to an outside port for the generator.

    Sometimes we learn our preparation lessons the hard way.

  13. Barb
    December 5, 2012 | 4:01 pm

    @Kevin, So True! It’s really easy to procrastinate these types of “what if” decisions. Hurricane Sandy prompted us to start filling the “emergency” cabinet in the basement. At least you’ll be ready the next time.

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