Dealing with an economic crisis, a how-to

Melissa Stagnaro

The carnage continues to pile up on Wall Street and bailout plans seem guaranteed to increase the anxiety levels long before they stabilize financial markets. To make sure Americans are ready to handle further economic  crisis, I suggest creating a financial disaster preparedness kit.

While similar to the supplies that residents of natural disaster prone areas gather each year, this kit is less about bottled water and canned goods and more about medicine cabinets and stashes of cash-equivalents.

First and foremost, stock up on your antacids. With stress levels and stomach acid rising, don’t risk runs on your local pharmacies. Make sure your medicine cabinets are fully loaded with a supply of the chewables, liquids and gelcaps you’ll need to fight frequent bouts of heartburn and indigestion. I know I will.

Financial guru Suze Ormand assures that deposit & demand accounts (a.k.a. savings and checking accounts) with local banks and credit unions are safe as long as they are insured through the FDIC or NCUA. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hedge your bets by hoarding precious metals, gemstones, old fillings and the items I call “barter-ables” like cords of firewood, bottles of sour-mash whiskey and cigarettes.

You should also invest in fresh batteries for your remote control. You’ll want to make sure this device is in good working order when the stress of watching 24-hour news networks gets to be too much. I find re-runs of Walker Texas Ranger, Living Single and How Its Made particularly helpful when I need to unwind after 14 hours straight of hearing about chaos on the world financial markets.

Forego stock-piling bottled water in favor of mini-bottles of gin, vodka and rye. These “cheap and cheerfuls,” as I like to call them, are readily transportable and are just right for a quick pick-me-up when you’ve learned that the blue chips that was the core of your investment portfolio are now considered “penny stock”.

And don’t forget to invest in a new bucket. Fill with sand and insert head as needed to avoid facing reality at any point where it gets to be too much.