Preparation and Regretsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Prudent Preparation. The keyword here is prudent. Not all preparations that some people are taking in anticipation of Y2K are ones that I would categorize as prudent. Selling everything and moving to the country, without any concept or experience of what country life entails, to my mind does not make much sense, while to others it might. There is also an ongoing debate as to if it is prudent to run up as much debt as possible or to pay off our debts. I am inclined to the latter, based on my expectations of inflation/deflation as well as other factors. Perhaps the key here is that what is prudent for one person is folly for another. It is subjective, to a point. A point of regrets.
The common sense thing to do is to ask yourself the question: If it turns out that my expectations of Y2K were wrong, would I regret any 'preparations' that I made? In other words, how well could you live with a bad decision. May I suggest that preparations you make should take this into consideration. For example, ask yourself what is the downside of having paid off your debt, compared to having run up a lot of debt, if it turns out that your expectations are latter proven inaccurate. Perhaps you disagree with my examples, but hopefully you will get my point.
By all means prepare - Prudently - whatever that means to you - make whatever preparations you feel needed. Also be prepared to live with the consequences - right or wrong. Prudent preparation, to me, means preparing and minimizing potential regrets.
-- Rob Michaels (email@example.com), April 14, 1999
Rob, excellent topic! A friend and I were just discussing this today. Everything I have purchased over the past year I will be able to use with or without Y2K, with the possible exception of 3 drums for water. I don't regret buying them, though, because even if I don't need them for Y2K, I could possibly use them in the event of a hurricane. It's best not to make "panic purchases." Things like toilet paper will never go bad, and today's prices are excellent!
-- Gayla Dunbar (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 14, 1999.
I agree with you both. I feel that everyone should maake preparations that they are comforatble with, that they know will see them through y2k, and that can be used afterwards. That is how I am trying to prepare, and it's helping.
-- Crono (Crono@timesend.com), April 14, 1999.
In our case, we're not doing much beyond what we do anyway. But we try to live "low on the food chain", stay out of debt, and be as self-sufficient as possible(not there yet).
I would hope that perhaps the threat of y2k will impel people to make changes in their lives who were otherwise "stuck" and unable to without this imperative. In that case, whatever happens will be ok as it enabled them to move in a direction they wanted to go anyway.
Similarly, I hope that y2k prep causes people to think more about local agriculture and economy versus the "global economy" and how vulnerable we really are relying on imports. And those who venture into wood heat, pv pannels, gardening, raising livestock and more? Perhaps they will decide that they want to stay with this no matter what. And this is for the best IMHO.
-- anita (email@example.com), April 14, 1999.
I think my potentially unnecessary expenditures are limited to water containers. However, having joined a wholesaler club (which I'm sure I never would have done if not for preparing for Y2K), I feel I have more than offset any costs of that nature, so I feel comfortable that I have at least broken even. Especially if prices go up next year. Compare that to far more money entirely down the drain each year for car and house insurance!
On the other hand, I definitely have the potential to regret certain investment decisions, and I may not know for a year or so whether I guessed right. No problem at all in the short run, but it could affect when or how well I retire. In the meantime, I'm pretty sure I'm sleeping a little better, not worrying about when the Dow bubble explodes. And if my Y2K expectations are wrong, then I'll still have a job, and that tremendous news!
-- Brooks (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 14, 1999.
I think you've hit on something here Rob, but I like to spin it just a bit if I might.
We all recognize that we base our perceptions and expectations of the impact of Y2K on incomplete data and theories. We then make decisions about how to best prepare for Y2K based on those expectations; and there's the risk. If we prepare for a 1 and it turns out to be an 10, we'd be in deep do-do. On the other hand, if we prepare for a 10 and it turns out to be a 1, then we have lots of regret and we look pretty silly.
My point/observation is that I suspect that some folks are allowing their level of prep to influence their perceptions of Y2K news and information rather than have to face regrets now.
For instance: if I had resigned my job, sold my house, moved to an isolated location and spent all my savings (or worse, run up huge debts) in stockpiles for Y2K, I would actually be afraid to face the possibility that I might be wrong and that the majority of my prep was unnecessary. I would therefore fight all the more vehemently to defend my decisions as rational and prudent despite information that suggests I went overboard. I would reject any good news as a threat to my decisions and and glory over bad news as validation.
The exact opposite case could be stated as well, that one who does absolutely no prep and lives a block from Times Square would defend good news and reject the bad.
I guess we won't know our true regrets until sometime next year. On the other hand, even if Y2K fizzles into a 2 or 3 in the U.S., our prep may be needed for potentially greater storms on the horizon.
In the end, some degree of prep is always good, but as you say, keep it prudent.
-- David (David@BankPacman.com), April 14, 1999.
David: Yes, we base our expectations on incomplete information. As I have posted before, we go from uncertainty to uncertainty. Y2K is no different. I agree that if we prepare for a 1 and Y2K is bad there will be lots of regrets. However, the scenario where we prepare for ten and Y2K is a 1 may not necessarily result in a lot of regrets. I think it is contingent upon the if the preps for a 10 were actually prudent for the person or not. In your example, there certainly would be lots of regrets under the assumption that the person was preparing this way solely due to Y2K, and not because they had perhaps planned to live this lifestyle anyway and were pushed by Y2K to just do so earlier.
I feel you made an excellent point about the possible relationship between prep level and the influence on our perception of Y2K information. The inherent potential bias due to human nature - wanting to be right. This is worth exploring some more.
-- Rob Michaels (email@example.com), April 14, 1999.
I can certainly appreciate your point of view. My hubby and I have NOT sold our over sized house with large yard because we MAY have lots of folks living with us come Jan 2000. We have invested in a well (in town no less), purchased lots of staples, grain mill, wood stove, wood, antiques that make work harder but with no electicity.
We are not in debt over these preparations and will have them if there for any other type of emergency. I'm a happy woman if I have the four basics covered. This has caused me to appreciate what we have on a daily basis. To not grumple about what I don't have and thank God for what blessing we do have. We are not living in a tent on the Albanian border with murders hunting us down. We have food, water, heat and shelter. Here is the irony of that. We've invested many dollars and hours of study and work into y2k preparations because we love our family. So you'd think I would like to see y2k be the 1900's all over again so we don't look like fools. On the other hand, we will have a house full of children, pets, adults who have difficulty trying to get through a holiday dinner together in one house. And me with out my premeren and prozac!!!!!!! (hehehe)... I DON'T want y2k to be an EVENT. I read a little everyday hoping for the big y2k fix, but I don't see one on the horizon. What we see is some good news, not enough of the complete news, sound bites, and the famous "we have tested and we are very sure" test results. (Example Wall Street and Utility Tests which we know are not COMPETE testing of completely remediated work. Happy faced tests :)
So I pray, dangle, study, prepare, and pray some more..for y2k to be a non event a "bump in the road" even though we've spent a lot of money on preparations. My pride can take the hit if y2k is nothing. We can go on knowing we did our best to look out for our extended families. Life will be enjoyed either way. (y2k shopping is part of my "gatherer's" nature :)
Regrets.... none either way it goes.
God Bless, Tess
-- Tess (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 14, 1999.
Tess: Thanks for the excellant post.(I didn't see it unitl now).
In glancing over some of the threads I thought it would be appropriate to send this oldie up top. If you did not prepare as prudently as you might have, but have learned from it, then take heart. It has been said that whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger. We live, we make mistakes, we learn - and in the process, we hopefully do not make the same mistakes. Experience is an expensive teacher.
-- Rob Michaels (email@example.com), January 04, 2000.