Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Solar Flares and the Demise of the Internet: I Have a Plan, do You?

With the recent news of massive solar flares stemming from our sun, there’s been talk about possible disruptions to things like Internet service. While initially it might not seem like a huge deal, should such a disruption continue unabated for a significant period of time, it might not be taken so lightly. In fact, it could disrupt a huge portion of our daily lives for many of us, affecting everything from our work to our play and just about everything in between.

While it might not happen soon, and who knows, it might never happen in our lifetimes; should it happen, I have a plan…do you?

Emergency Fund
Of course an emergency fund is a pertinent aspect of most any financial life whether or not the Internet fails us. Having a backup plan upon which to rely and survive temporarily for a variety of unexpected emergency situations can come as real peace of mind.

I find that breaking my emergency fund into various portions can help protect me in situations where electronic banking might not be available. Having some cash on hand, some cash in a safety deposit box (in the event that banks are still open), a little “real” silver coinage, and an extra food and water supply (so we don’t have to run right out to the stores during less than ideal situations) are the main portions of such emergency fund preparations.

Maintaining Productivity
Doing without the Internet temporarily might not lead to epic chaos in which we’re reduced to cash only transactions or worse yet, buying loaves of bread with silver dimes or bucket loads of cash. However, it might make it difficult for those of us who utilize the Internet to conduct a portion or all of our work.

Therefore, part of my plan regarding a loss of Internet service involves maintaining, if not a full work schedule, at least some level of productivity. This way, as a self-employed individual, I’ll be ready if or when Internet service resumes.

Emergency “Work” Fund
In the event of an Internet blackout, I have an emergency “work” fund to supplement my regular emergency fund. This ensures that I’m not left with absolutely no ready work to resume and recover my income once services are back up and running.

This backup plan of sorts consists of work items that I can conduct regardless of Internet service. By knowing what types of work my employers want on a regular basis, and having an inventory of available projects on which to work, I can ensure that I stay busy and am ready for when service resumes. While this plan certainly won’t keep me from losing a little productivity, I figure that overall, at least being able to sustain 70 or 80 percent of my regular productivity, at a time when much of the world may not be doing much of anything otherwise, isn’t all that bad of a plan.

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