Whether it’s 28 Days Later, I Am Legend or the highly rated new adaptation of video game The Last of Us, audiences love a post-apocalyptic drama.
Whether the cause is an alien invasion – think A Quiet Place – war, a pandemic, or a zombie invasion, we’re fascinated to watch how humanity responds to a global catastrophe.
For an increasing number of people, preparing for the breakdown of society is part and parcel of their everyday life. The so-called “prepper” movement, which began in the US, was initially associated with preparing for Doomsday-like events.
Now, however, preppers include normal people concerned about the escalation of war, another pandemic, and power outages. In the UK, Sky News reports that prepper and psychologist Dr Sarita Robinson says the movement has become “much more mainstream”.
Read on to find out more about preppers, and how the lessons they can teach apply as strongly to preparing for unexpected financial events as they can to a zombie invasion.
Preparing for the worst can give you “a little bit of control back”
Dr Sarita Robinson, who lectures on the psychology of survival at the University of Central Lancashire, describes herself as a “low-grade prepper”.
She says that prepping is “just about having enough in reserve in case the government or local authorities can't really do things for you immediately”.
“Life has got a little bit more uncertain,” she adds. “And when we sort of lack that control, we can become anxious. So doing a little bit of prepping, gives you a little bit of control back”.
While the archetypal view of a prepper might be a gun-toting man in camouflage gear, these days they are as likely to be retired people or women with children.
So, what can prepping teach you about preparing for financial Doomsday?
1. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst
In the UK, the prepper movement is defined by the saying: “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”
Most preppers would be happy never to have to turn to their supplies or retreat to the safety of their shelter. If they do, it means that something terrible is likely to have happened.
You could define putting life insurance or Critical Illness cover in place with the same saying.
No one ever wants to claim on their life insurance, because it means you’ll no longer be around! Similarly, claiming on your Critical Illness protection means you’ll have been diagnosed with a serious medical condition.
If you survive until the end of your life insurance term, it means you are alive and kicking. If you don’t claim on your Critical Illness cover, you’re likely fit and healthy. Either way, not having to turn to your “prep” is a good thing.
Insurance is always designed to give you peace of mind that you and your family will receive the support needed should the worst happen.
While turning to your shelter and long-dated tinned food can help you if society breaks down, your life insurance provides the help your family need if you’re no longer around.
2. Have contingencies for an emergency
When it comes to preparing for a catastrophic event, preppers stockpile a range of items including:
- Tinned and dried food with long sell-by dates
- Bottled water
- Battery powered lamps and torches
- Large power banks that can power things like computers or phones in the event of power cuts
- First aid kits and medical equipment
- Gas camping stoves and paraffin lamps
- Outdoor clothes, sleeping bags, blankets, and other items to keep warm.
Barry, who posts videos online under the pseudonym Northman Prepping UK, likens the feeling of seeing his full shelves to “when you look at your bank account and see you've got some savings”.
An emergency fund and income protection are the equivalent of stockpiling vital supplies. It means that you have a ready source of money if you were unable to work for a period due to ill health or injury.
Just as a failure to prepare could leave you cold and hungry in an apocalyptic event, failing to build up an emergency fund or take out protection could leave you facing financial difficulties if something unexpected happened.
3. Insure yourself against the worst happening
According to Leigh Price, who runs a prepper shop in Wales, prepping is “an insurance against uncertainty”.
It’s a great lesson that you can learn when it comes to your financial security.
While it’s unlikely a zombie horde will be the cause of an unexpected event, you never know what is around the corner. Financial uncertainty can arise in many forms, including:
- An unexpected bill – perhaps your roof is leaking, you need a new boiler, or your car fails its MOT
- A period out of work, either through redundancy or because your employer fails
- If you work for yourself, a fallow period where business levels fall
- An accident or injury that means you can’t work, or that you can only work reduced hours
- Being diagnosed with a serious illness that means you have to take an extended period off work for treatment and recovery
- A loved one has an accident or is seriously ill, and you need to care for them
- You or a loved one passes away.
Financial support in these situations can be limited. Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), for example, is just £99.35 a week in 2022/23, and only available for 28 weeks.
Even if you have benefits through your employer, it’s unlikely that they will pay you your full salary indefinitely. And, while “death in service” benefit may provide your loved ones with some financial support if you pass away, it’s only likely to replace around two to four years of your income.
Just as the preppers take steps to deal with the worst happening, you too should consider “insurance against uncertainty”.
Putting the right protection in place has a range of powerful benefits.
Firstly, you have the peace of mind that financial support will be available to you and your family when you really need it. Just as tinned food and bottled water might see you through a few months of societal breakdown, protection will pay a tax-free lump sum, or an income, which can sustain you during a difficult period.
It also ensures that you and your loved ones can maintain your standard of living. Just as a stockpile of supplies means you wouldn’t go cold or hungry, protection helps you to meet your financial commitments, and maintain the lifestyle you’ve become accustomed to until, for example, you’re fit enough to return to work.
We can help you “prep” for the worst
With war in Europe, a climate crisis, and a recent global health emergency all in the headlines, it’s perhaps no surprise that the prepper movement has gathered pace in recent years. It’s not hard to see how a cataclysmic event could affect your way of life as you know it.
On an individual level, the same could be just around the corner. The British Heart Foundation say that, on average, someone is admitted to hospital in the UK after having a stroke every five minutes.
Someone dies from a heart or circulatory condition every three minutes.
And, the government report that, in the year to June 2022, there were 29,804 people reported killed and seriously injured in road accidents in the UK. That’s more than 81 people every single day.
If you want to “hope for the best and prepare for the worst”, we can help. As protection experts, we can help you find the right cover at the right price.
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