Hurricane Irma, Lessons LearnedSubmitted by Financial Advisors in Tampa and St. Petersburg, FL | CFO on November 1st, 2017
Author: Scott G Russell, CFP®
Hurricane Irma, Lessons Learned
For those that live in Florida, regardless of what area you live in, most likely Hurricane Irma impacted you in some way. Among the ways are; having to prep in advance, being inconvenienced due to power outages and/or cleaning up debris, or experiencing life changing devastation.
We were very fortunate that our Tampa Bay region was spared the worst of Irma. That said, we thought we'd write down some of our 'lessons learned', both on the lighter side and more serious, to see if there are any we could apply to financial planning.
1. Focus on the projected hurricane path cone and not the line (they tell us every year but we don't listen…)
2. Events like these bring neighbors closer together
3. Add baking soda and Febreze to your hurricane prep kit (for mysterious never to be identified odors caused by lengthy power outages)
4. Experiencing the eye of a hurricane definitely makes you forget about your 'stuff' and focus on what's important, your loved ones
5. Don't just buy lots of random batteries when stores are out of the ones you really need (anybody need some AA batteries??)
6. The news hype effect is real (e.g. way premature scarcity of water and gas)
7. When evacuating, leaving fishing bait in your utility room freezer is a really…really bad idea (again, power outages)
8. Hex Head Tapcon screws are worth their weight in gold before a hurricane
9. Decide on your safe location to ride out the storm; get to it earlier than you'd prefer and stick with your decision
10. When you own a generator, you can't just expect to start it once a year…
So, what specific things from the above lessons can we apply to financial planning? Well…. probably not a whole lot. However, if we look at the various themes we can apply several. First, global financial market downturns will absolutely occur. However, we should focus more on preparation and less about how to outsmart the market. Second, we shouldn't get caught up in the hype that the financial news shows are selling; rather, we should focus on proven planning and risk management techniques. Finally, just one seemingly small financial planning oversight can later seem like a really……really bad idea when it counts the most.
Let's hope for an uneventful last month of Florida's hurricane season and it's not too late to support the areas devastated by Hurricane Irma. Red Cross still has a fund specifically to help those affected at www.redcross.org. Of course, they also have their general disaster relief fund to help those affected by all of the recent U.S. natural disasters.