Friday, November 16, 2012

'Plan for the Worst, Hope for the Best’

47) Plan for the Worst, Hope for the Best



hile I'm surrounded by people who have to deal with the effects of Hurricane Sandy, and the Nor' Easter, I encountered separate challenges.  They no longer involved the safety and comfort of family, nor wind, water, snow, power and physical destruction; I appropriately planned and managed those.   No, I received my annual holiday data corruption & emotional devastation package, a month early.

            I have karmic issues with computers et al.  My computers have always had issues that require me to make back-ups of back-ups; forget about triple redundancy; mine are squared and still have problems.  I have hardware firewalls and software firewalls, and portable drives to slide in my pocket for the next 9/11, as I grab the cat and hop my 10-speed.

            I often wonder if I should switch professions to Computer Engineer, since, like Star Trek's Enterprises, it seems that 50% of my human resources must be invested in maintaining my technology.

            It's not just computers.  It's migrated to toaster ovens, electric wires, and mechanical, low-tech devices.

            Keys & locks won't work, clocks stop, light switches break, electric lines go dead, TV boxes short out, and my cousin's cat died after I pet it!  (She believes I put out too strong an electrical charge; I must refer to my Kirlian photograph.)

            True to form, Murphy's Law and Schwartz's Corollary come into play (see prior blogs).

            Yet, once I squelch the panic, I can - must - deal with it.  If I'm patiently educated, my expectations managed, and my fears assuaged, I am able to release my anxiety, depression, stress, anger, complaining and fatalism, and obtain a rational view of my life - until the next time.

            My back-ups restore my life and my business, and I move forward.  I do what I have to do to survive, just like the homeless survivors of Breezy Point in the Rockaways who have lost their homes.

            I have a plan.

I look out for my physical safety & well-being on a daily basis; I have systems for running for my life.  I have insurances in place to prevent me from falling too far backward, and I have goals for moving forward.

            World crises may continue to worsen, from nature to energy, water & food shortages.  Some issues have been created by humans, some by nature, and they can combine and domino.  We can theorize such things as the burning of fossil fuels forming hydrocarbons; they, combined with the solar activity cycle, quicken Earth's heating.  Then, the ice caps melt, so now there’s more water in the atmosphere and less weight on Earth’s surface.  The heat with wet skies, cause worse and more frequent hurricanes, and the lower weight on Earth’s crust, may be allowing or causing earthquakes.  Tsunami!

Okay, assume I’m wrong; it isn’t worth the risk.  Life is fragile. (See earlier blog.)

Storms are more frequent, more severe and more unpredictable then we can remember.

In the middle of the US, we have the underground sea that, millions of years ago, separated the East Coast from the West.  It was formed during the last ice age.  Water was left behind by retreating glaciers, and somehow it ended up underground.  We discovered and tapped it, and we farm.

But, it’s running low.  The water isn’t replenished by rain.  No one’s really asking, and no one’s answering how to supply water to the middle of US later this century.

I’m under the impression that more than a dozen US states have official warnings about eating fish more than once a week.  The issue relates to what water sewage treatment plants don’t treat.  Some pollutants are harmful, like chemicals and pharmaceuticals.  Some seem less so, such as the caffeine, which is being found in freshly caught fish.

Many people around the world have to drink water that isn’t clear - brownish, if anything.  Many get infected from bacteria.  This could happen to everyone.

We have to PLAN.

            The planet is truly a living organism.  All of Mother Earth’s parts are inter-related.  We know that water circulates from any particular starting point around the globe, and eventually, circulates back, albeit some eons.

            The parts of your personal life and financial plan are just the same - all inter-related.

The planning process for anything in life starts when awareness is raised.

Then information is obtained, and education ensues.

Then you make a plan.

Making a plan starts with a goal - where are you going?  Start by seeing a 'Big Picture' - like a picture on the box of a jigsaw puzzle of your life.  You create the picture from your mind.

            Then, get the pieces and start by framing your picture puzzle. (Financial Statements/Reports)

Once it's framed, you must decide what sections to work on first.  (e.g. budget, tax, credit, 401(k), college, house)

            As you work and develop a plan, which takes physical, mental and psychic energy, you must remember that you can't jam the pieces in where they don't belong, so it's important to know when to take a break and walk away.  You return later - not too much later, to go back to it.  The hard part’s starting.  Once you develop habits, it becomes easier.

Eventually, all of the pieces start to come together and you can see the ‘Big Picture”

            Like many things in life, planning is important: measure twice, cut once.  However, you must execute/implement.

            Many people have great plans, but they’re always getting ready to implement them, rather than actually doing so.

Without execution/implementation, all is for naught: "For all sad words of tongue or pen. The saddest are these, 'What might have been.'" - John Greenleaf Whittier

            You can't constantly be getting ready without eventually jumping in the pool.  You must finally Do it.

As the picture comes into view, you can see how the pieces fit together.  If you get a raise at work, it increases your income taxes; but it also allows you to buy a home (because you can afford the mortgage & real estate taxes).  But the mortgage & real estate taxes are tax-deductible - which, now, lowers your taxes.  Also, your savings may be reduced by the down payment, meaning you may now want to replenish - or build- an emergency fund.  Your credit will be different.  It changes your budget, insurance, 401(k) contribution, and estate plan.

Now that you’ve identified the issues (monitored the plan), you can address them (manage the plan).

            A good plan allows for contingencies.

And that makes life easier.

            Some day is To-day.  Can you afford to keep putting things off?


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