Everybody Needs Backups… What Are Yours?
As a young man, I was part of a team at my job that was responsible for transporting some 25 people from a hotel to an event via bus.
We had the timing all worked out. The people were where they were supposed to be and the bus arrived on time. But five minutes into the drive, the bus broke down.
Our boss always found a way to lay blame at someone’s feet every time something went wrong. This time was no exception.
He informed us in a rather heated, one-way conversation that we should have arranged for a backup bus.
That seemed a little excessive at the time. But the lesson I learned has stuck with me to this day.
As Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” The key is to be prepared for inevitable problems that will derail our plans.
These problems can take many different forms and can affect many of our best-laid plans. From our computers to our cars. And from our finances to our official records and much more.
Today I want to take a look at how we can put together backup plans for a variety of things that can go wrong in life. Because there’s no doubt they will.
Many automobile insurance policies provide emergency phone numbers you can call for roadside assistance.
Depending on your policy, you may have to pay for the tow. But at least you know what to do right after you get into an accident or your car breaks down.
But that tow truck is not going to instantly appear. It could be hours before it arrives. Especially if those truck drivers are dealing with inclement weather.
Your backup plan here should be to have an emergency kit in your vehicle’s trunk. It should include non-perishable food, drinking water, a flashlight and batteries. Plus a first-aid kit, blankets, a multi-tool, flares and car maintenance items.
If you’re like many people, you have a passport, birth certificate and marriage license.
As well as insurance and medical documents, plus many other important papers. But you may also be like other people in another way – you don’t know where half of them are.
They may be scattered about the house. Perhaps in a variety of boxes in the basement.
Now is the time to organize all your essential documents in one place. Then make copies of each and keep those duplicates in another place. Then when you need one or more of them, you’ll know where the originals and your backups are.
I hope you have a solid financial plan that will carry you through your retirement years.
And that includes an emergency fund to handle the curve balls life throws at us. That emergency fund is a true backup because the reasons for its use are unpredictable.
You could lose your job or suddenly need an operation. Your car could break down. Or one of your children or grandchildren could suddenly need money.
Building up an emergency fund takes sacrifice. But we learn how worthwhile that sacrifice was when we suddenly need it.
Most people have a go-to device for sending and receiving emails, engaging in social media, and checking favorite websites.
For some folks, it’s their desktop computer or laptop. For others, it’s a tablet or their smartphone.
It doesn’t matter which device you use, as long as you are comfortable with it. What does matter is that you have a backup in case one of them goes down.
A power outage could render one of your devices useless. So, learn how to use your smartphone as a hotspot. And once we’re able to frequent restaurants again, know where your closest Wi-Fi hotspot is.
Speaking of computers and cellphones, you probably have a lot of information stored on them.
Some of which might be very personal. You want to make sure you have all important documents and other info backed up on a thumb drive and in the cloud.
Dropbox.com, BackBlaze.com and CrashPlan.com are a few options, each of which comes with a monthly fee. A basic Dropbox account with limited storage is free.
Some of us old-school folks also like to have paper backups for our most important computer documents.
This one is a little different. It requires more time spent thinking and less time acquiring.
Take a look at your plans for the future. Maybe you have already retired or perhaps you’re working toward that goal.
Either way, life has a way of challenging us, even when things seem to be going smoothly. We’ve certainly seen that over the past few months.
If the current crisis or a different one has taken a bite out of your savings or threatens to, you might want to have a backup plan. Such as working a couple more years than you anticipated.
The COVID-19 pandemic has everyone on edge. It’s affected everyone’s life in one way or another.
The last thing we need right now is an emergency for which we do not have a back-up plan.
Knowing exactly what to do when an emergency strikes – and having the resources to counter it – will go a long way to providing us with peace of mind. And that is a much-needed commodity in today’s uncertain climate.