I was reading over a recent Forbes article about the realistic possibility of losing our electrical grid to a cyber-attack and I was reminded of a time I was standing in line at a local grocery store and the power went out.
Normally, I am not a big cash toter. I, like most everyone else depend heavily on plastic (whether it be debit or credit) for pretty much all of my expenditures. Fortunately for me, this time was different.
Within 30 seconds of the outage, the store’s backup generators kicked on-line so power to the basic things like lights, doors, and registers was restored. However, all of the credit card readers remained inoperable. I kid you not, full on 90% of the customers had to leave their carts and go home because they had no cash…and no access to cash. It was shocking, in a way. People just had no idea what to do. Most just stood there in disbelief.
To me, this served as a subtle reminder that this isolated event could very well be the proverbial canary in the coal mine forecasting the realistic and to many experts …eminent debilitating attack on our nation’s power grid and the devastating turn of events that would follow.
At the end of the day, here are the cold hard facts.
Fact #1: We live in a digital world…a world where most of us have foregone cash for digital plastic of one form or another. No power means no access to money…which means no access to food and other critical supplies during an emergency.
Fact #2: There are countless groups and countries out there who would love nothing more than to topple the United States…people who do not have the military might but with the right funding and technology can and will attempt to do so through a well planned cyber-attack or by utilization of an electromagnetic pulse.
Fact #3: Most Americans cary very little cash with them at any given time.
Given that the average household only has about 3 days of food on hand at any given time, an event resulting in the extended interruption of power would prove disastrous. I thank the Lord that I was taught from a very young age the value of food storage and basic disaster planning and preparedness. As important as a 401K and a diverse stock portfolio may be to my long term living situation…they mean nothing when there is nothing to eat on the short term. It is precisely why my savings priorities start with the basic necessities during a time of need…namely food.
It really isn’t that hard. I would estimate that I have stocked away almost a year’s worth of food for me and my family and I have done it on a budget of less than $200.00 a month spread out over the last 3 to 4 years. Best yet, there have been multiple occasions that our supply has acted as a supplement to our regular food expenditures when money was tight.
Ultimately, the writing is on the wall and I myself would rather be home enjoying a hot meal than standing in line at the grocery store waiting for someone to turn the power back on.
The time to start preparing is right now. Start you food storage savings account now when you can afford it. Can you really afford not to?