The dreaded knock on the door

The phone rings in the middle of the night — an ungodly hour — that suddenly awakens you. Your heart and mind races as you try to calm and reason with yourself.

It’s probably just a wrong number dialed.

Yet, you are instantly alert. Who could it be? Did something happen to someone you love or care about?

With dread, you answer the insistent ringing.

Hello?

We all shudder at the thought. The call that could signal that something is drastically wrong. The fear that we could lose something dear to us.

And yet, the one most disturbing event we hope to never experience is the dreaded knock on the front door from an emergency responder. As you rush to answer the door — There they stand and you are told to immediately evacuate your home. No time to hesitate. You must leave NOW.

This frightening experience has happened to many these last number of weeks … to those who have been asked to leave their homes because of hurricanes or firestorms. The frequency of this is unnerving.

Are you prepared in case this might happen to you?

I do not tend to be a doomsdayer, someone who is given to instilling fear, foreboding, or predictions of impending calamity. However, the natural disasters, along with the human caused destruction, has brought my awareness to one of preparedness.

I had to ask myself, “Am I prepared if this was to happen to me?” And, my honest answer, is no.

Here’s the crazy part — I have been through many natural disasters myself, experienced them first hand. Lived in areas with tornadoes. Was evacuated from my home because of a hurricane. Was evacuated from my church in the Oakland hills due to a firestorm. And, I was trapped on the 32nd floor of a high rise building during the big earthquake in ’89 in San Francisco.  

How, then, could I not be more prepared myself?

It does beg me to ask that of you? 

BUT, what exactly would you pull together to insure you are prepared? What would you have at the ready in your ‘go-bag?’

Let me just clarify — I am not an expert in all the areas you would be wise to prepare. However, the one area that I do wish to impart are what key personal and financial documents you would need to bring with you should you have to evacuate or leave your home. 

See the attached guide sheet, the quick and easy list that I’ve prepared for your ease and convenience.

What Should be in your Go-Bag

Ideally , you need to have these documents gathered in advance — stored in an airtight, fire-protected safe. You do not want to be hurriedly trying to gather these upon that knock on the door.

When asked to evacuate, your only priority is your safety. Do not delay evacuation trying to locate any document.

Of course, this is only the personal and financial records you need to have at the ready. Other items to include, as suggested by those who have lost everything in a disaster, were photos, sentimental jewelry, and a laptop.

One friend shared with me that she took her deceased husbands t-shirt with her, a non-replaceable memorable keepsake.

How about you? What would you have in your ‘go-bag’ at the ready?

As to my own preparedness — even those of us who have come through disasters fairly unscathed, we too, put our heads in the sand. I realize that I have been complacent, assuming that I would not be the one who got the knock on the door.

Seems time to use my own checklist!

 

Tidy Up Tuesdays — How do you get it all done?

Do It In 2!

Tired of all the piles of stuff? You know — Closets, rooms, and garages, stuffed to the gills, and overflowing, with it all. Or, maybe all those undone projects?

Have you gotten to the point where you’ve thrown up your hands in disgust?

I certainly hope so, because, if you have not gone to disgust (or some other equally disturbing or driving emotion) you’ll most likely live with the stuff forever.

Ouch! Probably not what you wanted to hear, huh? But, let’s face it, we humans love comfortable, and we’ll stay with comfortable forever even to our own detriment or unhappiness.

Much easier to hang onto it, numb out, and no longer recognize we are uncomfortable. Instead, we hunker down, settle in and tolerate.

But there is a way out. Honest, there is. And, it begins with this simple question – What would you like it to look like instead?

How can you move past living with, or tolerating, and actually get it out of your life?

Use your discomfort to guide you. After all, it has been nudging you for ages. You’ve just stopped listening to it.

Isn’t it time to give it a voice?

What I learned from my dad about simplicity and minimalism

My Dad was a minimalist. 

This truth and awareness came to me hard and fast. The impact profound.

I even spoke it out loud — My dad was a minimalist!

And, with a chuckle, I said, “Well, I’ll be damned.” No wonder tidying up, organizing, clutter clearing, and minimalism comes so naturally and favorably to me. No wonder my preference for simplicity is such a deeply held belief.

My dad lived and valued minimalism. Quality over quantity. Value over compulsory consumption. People over things. Experiences over ownership.

He preferred living with less … less stuff, less clutter, less debt and less stress.

He lived his life in alignment with those beliefs and in turn, he emulated and taught his children the same.

He (and my mom) paid cash for everything. Only a few times in their married lives did they go into debt — for a mortgage and years ago, for a car. And, even then, it was fairly short term and well within their ability to pay it. 

Not ever for credit card debt.

They valued travel and seeing the world, over ownership and maintenance of things. They retired young. Dad’s tenuous health motivated them to simplify their lives even more, lower their cost of living, and open up to the freedom to do what they most valued.

Dad often said to me, when we talked of owning a home, Most Americans do not truly own their homes. All you have to do is stop paying your mortgage and see who REALLY owns it!” This wisdom is more true these days than ever before and has always stuck with me.

AND, as of late, I have begun to question my own reasons for having a mortgage.

I have spent many years striving to get ahead, buying bigger and better homes, moving up the corporate ladder, making more money, and accumulating more stuff. All these things seemed important and worthwhile when I attained them.

However, as is true for us all, life has shifted for me. Many life events, some quite painful to experience, have moved me to a new place in life. It has cleared the way for me to have a life with LESS.

Less stuff. Less discontent. Less maintenance. Less work. Less clutter. Less debt. AND, less stress.

The inner urging has been strong for many years — to have a life with LESS.

And, as said by Ryan Nicodemus in the documentary entitled Minimalism – A Documentary About the Important Things (Netflix) …

Now, imagine a life with MORE … more time. more meaningful relationships. More growth. More contentment.”

More of what you value in life.

I, for one, am ready, open and prepared for that. 

How about you?

 

Oh no! My credit file has been compromised – what do I do now?

Oh no! My credit file has been compromised!

Now what?
(9 minutes)

That’s the shocking news we consumers received from Equifax only a few short days ago. In fact, 143 million U.S. based users had their information compromised.

As if this news was not upsetting enough, then we find out it took Equifax more than a month to disclose the fact that they had been hacked.

According to their disclosure, attackers reportedly exploited a vulnerability on Equifax’s website to steal names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers. Credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 people and certain dispute documents, with personal identifying information, were also accessed.

So, what do we do now, you may ask?

On the news you may have heard that enrolling in a credit monitoring program is a good protection and answer. In general, that’s not a bad idea. However, in my opinion this approach is totally inadequate. (In my video, I share my reasoning on this and other safeguards to put into place.)

Let me leave you with two considerations … Go directly to all your creditors and place alerts on all your credit cards, especially infrequently used ones. That way if someone fraudulently uses your cards, your creditor will stop it before it happens, notifying you before the transaction is allowed.

And, finally, the steps and safeguards suggested are all ones you needed to do anyway. Let this compromise remind you to safeguard your good name, not just after a scam, hack, or fraudulent use of your sacred, personal information, but as part of your regular financial upkeep and maintenance.