While we might never have to worry about a real zombie outbreak (despite the fact that the Centers for Disease Control thinks it's worth preparing a survival guide), there are plenty of other disasters and emergency situations that deserve our attention. And there's no better time to prepare than now.
Here are a few quick pointers on preparing financially for a doomsday scenario:
Fund your emergency savings. When there's something strange ... in your neighborhood ... who ya gonna call? Not your 401(k)! Sorry for ruining the tune, but when the zombies come a knockin', those retirement savings, stocks and CDs probably won't help much. That's why you should put away three to six months of income in liquid savings that you can tap into at a moment's notice to cover a job loss, medical emergency or other significant unexpected expense.
Invest in the essentials. Having completed hundreds of successful virtual treks on the Oregon Trail, we know a thing or two about emergency survival. Or we just ruined our credibility. But either way, the classic '80s computer game is a great starting point for essential emergency supplies: food, water, clothing, first aid, weapons, transportation and tools. Add some modern advances like fuel, batteries, toilet paper, radio and GPS to your survival loot, and you'll be the "richest" non-flesh-eating human on the block.
Diversify, diversify, diversify. The first rule of investing still applies after the post-apocalyptic dust settles. While a contained zombie outbreak (or natural disaster) might affect the local economy, the rest of the country and world might remain unaffected. Consider diversifying in foreign currencies, metals, and other commodities to hedge your bets against a financial meltdown at home.
Get your paperwork in order. Not preparing for the worst doesn't mean the worst won't happen. And avoiding the important paperwork -- like creating a will -- could certainly make the worst even worst-er. Take the time (and money) to put your will together, and consider investing in a fireproof safe to store it and your other important documents. From everything I've read, zombies respect and execute wills fairly and judiciously.
Invest in yourself. No, we're not about to channel Dr. Phil and tell you to stand tall and believe in yourself. Instead, we're going to tell you to suck it up, stop wasting time on Facebook (FB), and start learning the things that could mean life or death in an emergency. That might include cooking, basic repair, sewing, carpentry, falconry (don't question this one), swimming, wilderness survival, first aid and the list goes on.
Better yet, you can find learning resources for every single one of these topics right here on the Internet. YouTube has thousands of tutorial videos to help make you a better, smarter you. Just pray that there aren't any on "How to Befriend a Human -- and Then Eat Their Brains!"
Joanna and Johnny are the writing duo behind OurFreakingBudget.com, a personal finance blog documenting the joys, pains and realities of living on a budget.