The below article was written by Dan Lounsbury and provides advice on how to prepare for a global crisis:
Nobody could predict a crisis like the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic we are currently experiencing. Whether or not you believe you are at risk, the simple fact remains — the impact is real. And we will continue to see the effects of this outbreak over the next several months at least.
According to the latest research, over $6 trillion in wealth has been erased by the panic and fear created by the COVID-19 outbreak. Grocery store shelves are bare, medical supplies and hand sanitizer are becoming scarce, and even toilet paper is being auctioned on Ebay for three times its retail price.
Preparing for crises like this is part of our Legacy Growth Services. We help families create a strategic plan to manage their entire lives — crisis and disaster planning is one aspect of the multi-faceted work we do with our private clients.
Putting together your Family Crisis Plan depends on several factors. No two plans are exactly the same because no two situations are exactly the same. For example, because I’m based in South Florida (as are many of my clients) it’s common to prepare for hurricanes. People on the West Coast may prepare for earthquakes. The good news is that many of the plans you would make for natural disaster scenarios can also be applied to pandemics. In this article, I’m going to talk about basic building blocks which should be included in every plan.
Resources and Needs
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that most families be prepared for a period of at least 3 days. But if you’ve ever lived through a hurricane like I have, you know it can take 3 to 4 weeks or longer just to have power restored! The quarantine period for those exposed to COVID-19 is 14 days. It makes sense to prepare for at least that. Before your start planning, ask yourself: What tangible resources are most important for your family to be able to be independent for two or more weeks?
Your basic list should include enough food and water, medical supplies, prescription drugs, and household essentials to provide for you and your family during this time. The rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person, per day. This means your family of four should have between 40 and 50 gallons of water just to carry you for 10 days! And if you have pets, you’ll need even more water.
You’ll also need to think about how you can get more resources should your supply get low. A smart strategy is to keep cash on hand. Depending upon the crisis, such as natural disasters, it’s possible that ATMs won’t work and banks won’t be open if power is lost. During the current pandemic, while you might have access to your bank accounts, do you have enough liquid assets should your main source of cash be interrupted? Many businesses are being forced to cease operation to slow the spread of the virus. It’s important that you have cash, or access to cash during times of economic instability.
Communication and Logistics
Communication is one of the most vital parts of any crisis or disaster plan. You need to be able to get in touch with your family members if you find yourselves separated during a crisis. If your family has the ability, we also like to establish several preplanned meeting points.
Depending on the situation, travel may be restricted. We’re already seeing it with airports across the country. Though not all air travel is suspended right now, it’s possible it could be in the coming weeks. You may find that travel by certain transportation modes isn’t possible or travel in certain areas is restricted.
This means that if your only meeting place is the South Florida house and travel is restricted in that area because flights are grounded, roads are closed, or a natural disaster has affected that location, you now have no fallback plan. For this reason, your plan should include several meeting places and they should be prioritized based upon the situation. And every family member needs to know the plan.
We also suggest creating a family web-based email account which everyone can access regardless of where they are and how they access it. For example, [email protected] allows everyone to access the account from their location via phone, laptop or elsewhere to share real-time updates and maintain communication regarding the family’s location, movement, wellness and safety.
Once you have your plan and it has been shared with the family, the next most important step is figuring out the logistics. If the family plan is to meet at the vacation home in Aspen, how are you going to get there? How can you communicate “Meet in Aspen?” Can the college student drive from New England to Aspen? Does he or she have gas money, food, water and an understanding of what to do? What if their usual route is blocked? Do they have alternate routes memorized in case they don’t have access to google maps? And are there sufficient resources already in Aspen to meet the family needs?
These are just a few of the many components which are part of any good Crisis Plan. This current pandemic emphasizes why having a strategic plan is such an important part of any smart Family Office. It’s why we provide Legacy Services! For most of us, this should serve as a wakeup call. If you were prepared, chances are you and your family will be fine once the dust clears and things are back to normal. If you’ve found yourself unprepared and have been battling impossible grocery store lines for pantry staples, it’s not too late to get ahead of it. It’s time to step back and create the plans you need to ensure your family is taken care of.
To learn more about Legacy Services and how we help private clients create strategic plans, contact Dan Lounsbury. You can also submit your information to his contact page if you need a consultation. Stay prepared. Stay safe.