If you could rewind pre-pandemic to February 2020, what would you do differently? How can we make ourselves less vulnerable to global disasters? How can we make ourselves disaster-proof?
It’s something I’ve thought a lot about the last few months. And like I wrote about with going sustainable by going independent, I determined the most important factors: own don’t rent (when you can), generate passive income or find a side hustle, maximize savings, minimize debt.
Busy? Try the speed read.
The scoop: Don’t wait for the next big world event to prepare yourself. How can you make you and your family more ‘disaster-proof’?
Some disaster-proof tools:
- Practice the 50/30/20 rule. Spend 50% on ‘needs, 30% on wants, save 20%.
- Utilize your 5 PM – 12 AM. Build a side hustle or passive income outside of your day job.
- Networking, networking, networking. The best time to network is when you think you don’t have to.
- Strategic relocation. If you’re thinking about making a move, do it when things are mellow. Don’t wait for the next big event.
- Learn new skills. It can be professional, it can be personal. You can be 20, you can be 60. Just learn something new.
Having each of these is a major privilege (earned or not). BUT each are tangible goals to strive for. Set quantitative targets with time intervals.
The world can’t be sustainable if you don’t last. Invest in yourself, or you’ll burn like the Amazon.
Dig deeper ➡ 3 min
Here are five things you can do to start preparing for the next economic disaster (going disaster-proof):
1. Practice the 50/30/20 rule. Spend 50%of your income on ‘needs’ – debt, rent, utilities, groceries, etc. Spend 30% on ‘wants’ – vacation, concerts, fancy restaurants, etc. and save 20%.
If you make $5,000/month (after taxes) and saved 20% every month, that’d be about $2,500 to pay the bills, $1,500 to have fun, and $1,000/month to save. If you did that for eight years (the average time it takes for another recession or some other bullshit to arise) you’d have about $100,000 in savings without a single salary increase.
2. Utilize your 5-12. Most people work during the day (9 am to 5 pm) so I’m referring to the 5-12 as after-hours. If you’re a night worker, just flip it around.
Anyway, your 5 pm -12 am is time spent not working. Utilize that time to research, discover and implement a side hustle and/or passive income stream. I don’t need to list a compilation of ideas, there are millions of articles on the internet for that.
One piece of advice I would add? Identify a passion from your childhood or teenage days, and find out if there are ways to capitalize on your superpowers.
3. Networking, networking, networking. The best antidote to a shitty job market? A strong network. The best time to form new relationships is when you think you don’t need to.
When everything goes wrong, your best chance at getting back on your feet is to reach out to that kid from your college who built that really cool tech product, or that guy you met playing basketball who’s girlfriend works at your dream company.
4. Strategic relocation.
There is nothing wrong with staying in the big cities through their struggles (I’m still in the NYC area). But it’s worth mentioning how the software dev in Kansas with a $1,000 mortgage on a 10-acre property was better suited for a layoff than a software dev with a $3,000 box apartment in Manhattan.
If you are starting to question the cosmopolitan city life, consider a strategic relocation. Pick a place that is less susceptible to major societal influence, but close enough to a city that you don’t have to completely isolate yourself. Plus, with remote work trending, the job market excuse is becoming more and more outdated.
There are specific industries like real estate that may require a busier population to stay busy, but most of us (even folks in engineering and manufacturing) can find a good-paying gig outside the big city.
5. Learn new skills. It doesn’t have to pay you. It doesn’t have to be related to your career. But stay learning.
The more you know, the more you can help yourself when something goes wrong. If you find yourself in a financially difficult situation, having an extra DIY skill or two can really pay off. Plus, you can show off to your friends, find a new hobby, or even find a new passion.
After all, sustainability is about making you sustainable too. Without some idea of where you’re headed, you’ll burn like the Amazon.