Things have been just a bit different around here lately. While we don't have any stocks to worry about in the current market, the free fall on Wall Street still affects us. When stocks fall, companies get itchy. When banks fail, it is bad for everyone. If money is inaccessible, businesses cannot operate and lay off workers. That will only feed a vicious cycle that will collapse our economy if it goes on long enough.
Granted, we are not as bad off as some, but that doesn't mean we are in good shape. We have a couple of months of food stored, and our only debt is the house payment, but for a long term we will have problems just like everyone else.
I think if we prepare for a total breakdown, we can stave it off. My husband's family has operated under a curse of some sort for at least the last century. Every time something good to anyone in the family, something horrible will occur to wipe out the good and just a little more for good measure. So I figure if we spend a bunch of money that we really can't afford to get prepared for a possible collapse of society, we can prevent it from happening. Take the Y2K thing. We had water, lots of canned goods, refilled all of the prescriptions, got cash out of the bank, backed up all of the home computers to CD, bought batteries, etc. so nothing happen. My Brother-in-law did the same thing for his family. Therefore, nothing happened.
Granted, those things are just a good idea for every family to have prepared at all times anyway. You cannot predict natural disasters and there is something bad that can happen just about everywhere. And it can't hurt to be prepared. But some of the things you will need in a total collapse, like water filters, extreme medical supplies, guns and ammo, and survival skills could be an expense that you will never need. But can you ever really know what you will need in a crisis?
We have told the kids that things can change overnight and they need to be prepared, at least mentally, for life as they know it to go away. It isn't really fair to the kids to not at least warn them. While most folks prefer to keep their kids in the dark about what is going on in the world, we choose to keep ours informed so they can make up their own minds about issues. Keeping our children naive about world events might make you feel better and make you think that you are protecting them, but kids are not stupid and they hear more than you might realize. If you involve them in any planning decisions, it empowers them and actually will calm their fears. As long as they have a voice in the plan, they will understand why thing are different and be more of a help than a hindrance in case of emergency. And they will be more willing to sacrifice for the good of the family if you tell them why the precious store of batteries should not be used for the Nintendo DS or the MP3 player.
Hopefully, the worst will not happen, but being prepared in case it does will go a long way to staying calm in the event of an emergency.