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Expect the Unexpected

In mid-May, I had an experience that made me think about the importance of being prepared for the worst.  I live in Bangkok with my wife and infant son.  We moved back here a couple of years ago because my work focuses on Asian markets. Of course, we also wanted to live in a cheap, stable, tropical paradise.

Last month, the simmering political issues that have plagued normally peaceful Thailand for the past five years came to an unexpected and violent head.  The result was open fighting in the streets, widespread fire and looting. 

As the fighting spread and looked like it might morph into civil war, a 6 pm citywide curfew was declared.  Not knowing when the curfew would be lifted or what would be left of the city the next morning, I decided to make a quick trip out to the store to buy a few extra items. What I saw was eye opening on many levels.  It was like something out of a movie.  Stores and banks were already closed.  Those that were open were literally being emptied by mobs of people.  ATMs either were out of money or had lines of 15-20 people at them. 

Traffic was at a standstill as people tried to get out of the city, and there was a palpable panic in the air.  As I looked around, I realized that the time for preparing for this emergency was over.  If I was not ready, it was too late. In this situation, there were three things that everyone obviously wanted—food, water and cash.  I think it's logical to assume these things are in great demand in most emergency situations. While you may not live in a place that is prone to widespread civil unrest, we should all recognize that we are potentially susceptible to natural disasters.  Think about what you would do if every store were closed, you could not access the money in your bank account or use your credit cards and you had no electricity. 

Would you and your family be able to get by for a few days? Now, I’m not suggesting you build a bunker in your backyard and wait for the Apocalypse.  Or that you take all your money out of the bank and put it under your mattress.  Bu what I would suggest is that you take some time with your loved ones and think of what you would need in the event of an emergency.  Keep in mind that every individual and every family has different needs.  Someone living in New York City may have different concerns than someone living in Montana. You also don’t have to compile your emergency kit overnight.  Make a list of things you need and pick them up little by little. This is a great website to help you get started: http://www.ready.gov/america/getakit/

This is a guest post by Spencer Edwards, an independent consultant doing financial and developmental economic research for private sector and nonprofit clients. His work primarily focuses on Asian markets, and he is currently based in Bangkok, Thailand. Spencer is a graduate of the University of Maryland and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and International Business.
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Joshua Heckathorn's picture

Joshua Heckathorn was President of Creditnet, is a credit expert and has been featured on CNNMoney, FOX Business, Yahoo Finance, The Street, and many other national publications during the past ten years.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Management (Finance) from Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Business and earned his MBA from Seattle University.

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Comments

Randy's picture

thanks for sharing this link. i've always planned on putting together an emergency kit, but it just never makes it to the top of the list. after reading this, i'm finally committed!