Nothing warms the soul during the Holiday season quite like a discussion on zombie invasions. This topic might have been inspired by the impending 2012 Mayan Apocalypse, or today’s once-a-lifetime date of 12.12.12, which just begs for doomsday/conspiracy talk. But regardless, it’s a meaningful discussion worth having any time of year.
When I hear “net worth,” the usual suspects come to mind: cash, investments, retirement, real estate, auto, etc. These are the assets we’re taught to focus on acquiring and expanding. And I won’t be saying any differently.
But sometimes I like to think in the hypothetical. Let’s say I Am Legend was merely a trailer for the year 2013. Don’t buy into flesh-thirsty zombies? Fine. Take your pick. A natural disaster destroys our modern infrastructure; the global economy self-destructs; nuclear war escalates; Twinkies stop being manufactured… I guess that already happened. Yikes.
Whatever the catastrophic event might be, the question is the same: what’s my net worth now? That green stuff I used to use to buy Skittles with? Firewood. That Google stock or government bond I had? Poof. The rude reality is that a lot of those assets would become worthless.
So what would my new net worth be comprised of? I’m glad you asked.
Here’s a good place to start: if it’s something I could buy, barter, or have stolen from my campsite by Native Americans in Oregon Trail, it’s something that should be on my list:
- Weapons — for hunting and self-defense
- First Aid/Medicine — bandages, painkillers, prescription medication
- Tools — basic set for repairing/building/farming/salvaging, rope
- Transportation — bike, scooter, extra shoes
And although a disaster might set me back to an Oregon Trail-manner of living, there have been a number of technological advances since that time that would be beneficial.
- Power Supply/Fuel — generator, gas, batteries
- Safety Instruments — hand-crank flashlight/radio, CO2 detector
- Modern Conveniences — toilet paper, diapers, glasses, Snuggie (maybe)
Unless I could eat it, drink it, or use it to keep myself warm, safe, or healthy, it wouldn’t be worth much. Which is precisely why I left precious metals off the list. While silver, gold, and other metals might be considered a worthy investment in someone’s current portfolio, they wouldn’t be worth anything more than a pretty stone/mineral in a disaster. It would likely take years of stability before they might be of value in a bartering system.
I’m not predicting the end of the world or trying to instill fear. I’m a pretty practical dude who doesn’t buy into conspiracy mumbo jumbo. But because we live in an unstable world on an unpredictable planet, I think it’s prudent to diversify our assets with those things that would allow us to provide and protect ourselves and our loved ones. That’s not to say anyone should stop working toward financial goals. But I don’t think there’s any harm in taking a step back and analyzing our true (zombie) net worth beyond our investments.
What else would you add to my disaster asset list? And was I the only person that was totally unphased when family members contracted cholera or typhoid fever on Oregon Trail? Am I terrible person? Share your comment below.
(Original photo by DigitalSextant)