It’s the middle of the night and you’re dreaming of a weekend in Paris when your peaceful dream is abruptly interrupted by the screech of a fire alarm. It takes you a second to smell it in the air but it’s unmistakable, something is burning. Now. You drop the floor and crawl to the door, as you were taught in elementary school, and slowly make your way down the stairs and out of your house.
That’s what you imagine you’d do in the event of a house fire (adjust for checking on family members) but chances are, in a minor fire, you’d probably try to save something and, while that would be a mistake, wouldn’t be unreasonable. You’d grab your cell phone, probably your wallet if it was nearby, and then run out the door. If you had more time, next on the list would probably be important financial documents like your birth certificates, social security cards, passports, etc.
That package is your financial bug out bag. A year ago, I called it a financial snatch file but the idea is the same. If you experience an emergency that gives you a few extra minutes to escape, such as your neighbor’s house being on fire (if it’s yours, just get out… you can replace those documents, you can’t replace your life), you want to be able to get out with important documents. This is what you need to do.
A typical bug-out bag is a kit you can grab that has all the items you’d need to survive for 72 hours. It’s sometimes called a GO Bag or a 72-hour kit but the idea is that when you really really really need to go, you don’t have time to pack what you need. Well, we’re here to extend that idea to your finances because second to actual survival is financial survival.
Your bug-out bag should have two major types of items:
- Financial supplies – These are items that you’ll need in the next 72 hours such as emergency cash, paper currency and coins, as well as spare credit cards and other financial instruments.
- Financial and identity records – These are items that you will want to keep because leaving them behind may leave you financial vulnerable. These would include your passports, your birth certificates, car and home deeds, etc.
The first step in constructing your financial bug-out bag has nothing to do with…