By Henry K. Hebeler
Self reliance is a state of being prepared for the future and implies a
capability to react to mitigate damage in adverse situations. This requires both
the knowledge of appropriate actions as well as having the necessary resources.
There are many facets of self reliance. The ultimate is probably the
spiritual aspect associated with death itself. We’re not going to go that far
here, but we’re going to ask you to grade yourself in the following sixteen
areas. If you know an area needs work, add it to the list that appears at the
end of the questions.
1. Are you doing things to maintain good health?
- Eating right?
2. Are you well on your way to be financially prepared for:
- Children’s college needs?
- Emergency funds?
- Reducing debt?
3. Do you have replacement reserves for:
- Major household appliances?
4. Does your home have adequate protection from:
5. Do you have:
- Easily accessed emergency phone list?
- Safe deposit box for important documents?
- Food storage?
6. Are you prepared to react to emergencies?
- First aid training?
- First aid kit?
- Do you have a 72 hour emergency support kit handy?
7. Have you talked to your spouse about:
- What you would do if child, now independent, wants money?
- What you would do if elderly parent runs out of funds?
8. Have you talked to your family about:
- What you would do in an earthquake or other natural disaster?
- Actions children should take to avoid trouble or escape bad situations?
- How you would reestablish contact with your family if lost contact?
9. Have you thought about survivors after your death?
- Living will?
- Power of attorney?
- Instructions to executor?
- Easy-to-find financial documents?
- Phone numbers of people who can help?
- Would your survivor(s) have sufficient funds?
- Helpful letter to spouse suggesting necessary actions?
10. Are you adequately insured?
- Life insurance?
11. Do you have a financial plan?
- Are you steadily reducing you debt?
- Are you saving for items (e.g., new car) that otherwise require more
- Do you know how much income you will need in retirement?
- Do you know how much you should be saving for retirement?
- Are you making automatic savings deposits?
- If retired, do you know how to stretch savings till death?
- Do you have a disciplined approach to diversifying your investments?
- Are you investing in low-cost funds?
12. Is the wage earner of the family prepared to find other work quickly if
- Is the wage earner networking?
- Are all family members continuing to improve and broaden skills?
- Is there an avocation or hobby that can be income producing?
13. Do you have a community emergency plan?
- Know your neighbors well?
- Any neighbors with special training or equipment?
- Neighborhood watch program?
14. Are you concerned with national security?
- Do you keep informed about national events?
- Do you know how to write to your local legislators?
- Are you registered to vote?
- Do you vote with absentee ballots?
15. Are you concerned about the long-term environment for your family?
- Do you voice your opinion about the media to younger family members?
- Do you support organizations that promote the ideals you think
- Do you communicate your views to those in political office?
- Do you give your opinions to candidates for office?
- Do you volunteer to help those who support your ideals?
16. Is your family getting a financial education?
- Are your children developing a work ethic?
- Are your children learning money management skills?
- Do your children have a bank account or other simple investments?
- Can your children explain compounding or inflation?
- Do your children have to pay for some key things out of their own income
Perhaps not all of the above apply to your situation, but the majority of
questions should. Check off those items above where you are already satisfied
that you are prepared and doing the right kind of things. Then list the ones
needing early attention below and your plan to make you truly self reliant.
Area needing attention:
My plan to improve my preparedness: