Quick! There’s a fire alarm going off right now! What do you grab?
I’ve thought about this at home, but at work is a different story. Earlier this week, we had a fire drill. It wasn’t like grade school where we know it’s coming. We had no idea, but it became pretty clear that it was just a drill. No big deal. So when the alarm went off, I grabbed my purse and headed for the stairs. While out in the parking lot, I was chatting with some of my co-workers. A number of them had been in a meeting when the alarm went off so they didn’t have their wallets or phones or keys with them. If it really was a fire, they wouldn’t know what to do or how to get home.
Of course, these were all women – the men conveniently had everything they needed shoved in pockets or fashionably clipped onto belts.
So that raises the question. Should you carry certain items on your person at all times? And if so, what? Personally, I lock my purse in a drawer through most of the day. But if I have to evacuate and can’t grab that, I’m stuck. At another job, I had a co-worker who carried around a little cell phone holder that held her phone, her keys, her ID and some money. That was all she needed if there was an emergency.
I’m not about to carry my purse around all day, though a co-worker mentioned that everyone did for a while after 9/11/01. Obviously, as people felt safe again, that fell off. But maybe I should think about carrying something. The question is what?
If I go with the bare minimum, all I really need is some money. That would get me on a metro ride home, and even though I wouldn’t have my apartment keys, I would still be wearing my ID badge from work, which is enough to prove that yes, I am who I say I am and maintenance will let me into my apartment. For a small fee, which I can pay later.
A better option would leave me with my cell phone, my license, my ATM card and possibly a credit card. I still think apartment keys are optional. Mostly because my keyring is so big that carrying that whole thing around all day sounds annoying. Of course, if I do that, it means taking my license, ATM card, and a credit card out of my wallet and putting them somewhere else, where I am more likely to lose them or forget them somewhere. Not a good plan.
So I’m not sure what the best option is. Stashing some cash inside my ID badge holder that I have to wear every day at work (which would be visible every time my badge is flipped around)? Actually using one of the nice leather portfolios I have instead of my awesome spiral notebook and keeping a credit card stashed in there and making sure I have it at every meeting? Some other option?
Do you have an evacuation plan at work? What would you grab if you were at your desk? What about if you’re away from your desk? Would you be prepared?
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.