Having grown up in the Northeast, snow never really bothered me.  As a kid, it came, it went, we were out of school, life was good.  Then I got a job working in a grocery store.  Needless to say, my viewpoint changed.  What used to be: ‘Cool, snow’, changed to a scene from Armageddon as people raced to load up on water, milk, bread, and toilet paper (?)…Yep, I am in my 40’s and still haven’t figured that one out.  The shelves were literally left barren – it was quite the site to see.  Fast forward to now, and in N.C. the mere mention of snow sets off the panic alarms…to the point my wife said she might run into Costco to pick up dog food, and I looked at her like she was crazy!  Surely she wasn’t going to brave seemingly half the population of the Triangle for dog food…maybe she could pick a better option?!  The way people are reacting makes one wonder how much snow is actually headed our way!

Are kids going to be out of school for several days?

What if we can’t get more toilet paper! 

Oh, the humanity, and all this for 1-2” of snow!  Yep, that’s right – just 2” of the powdery stuff is enough to result in an economic stimulus for the grocery stores and psychologists, and shut down for the rest of the state!

While seeing this type of reaction causes laughter and frustration amongst a lot of transplants from colder regions, a lot of it comes down to planning.

When the immediateness of the moment hits us, we are responding to our emotions, for example: ’What if the storm is bad?’, but what if we did a better job planning for the emotional moments that could impact us just as much as a snow storm…say a job loss, etc.

I believe we can, through the Stress Inoculation Intervention.

Dr. Brad & Ted Klontz of the Financial Psychology Institute introduced me to this concept during their program at Creighton University, where it basically laid out a framework for people to contemplate what steps they should take when an “oh crap!” moment occurs.

I more simplistically call it your financial disaster plan.

Think of it in this manner:

How would you feel if you already had gas in the van, milk in the fridge, and salt for your driveway?

Probably pretty relaxed and mostly prepared.

Now think in terms of your financial house, in the event say you or your spouse loses their job:

How do we pay for our housing? What if we run out cash, what is our next asset we can use? What other options are available to us? 

But let’s go a step further.  What are things we are grateful for right here, right now? Who can you turn to for emotional support?  These are critical areas to have thought through, because unfortunately when emotions take over, it can lead us to some unhealthy places.

By going through this planning now it allows for you and your advisor to address things before an emotional response causes potential havoc.  Things are stressful enough during these times, so think about the reassurance you would have in being able to access your financial disaster plan and just execute it with your team of professionals.

As Gene Hackman’s character Captain Ramsey said in the movie Crimson Tide: ‘You don’t just fight battles when everything is hunky dory’, the same can be said for life.  So instead of waiting for the next moment to come to you and reacting, take the steps now in order to not be that person running into a store looking for milk the day before a snowstorm.

If we can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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