It is a common theme on many prepper sites and in prepping videos that all that needs to be done is to educate your family and friends as to why they need to prep. Once they see the light they too will take the responsible road and make at least some level of preparation for their families.

At the risk of ruffling a lot of feathers – That’s wishful thinking at best.

There is the old saying about leading a horse to water but not being able to make him drink. You can only educate a person if the person wants to learn and takes the material seriously.

In terms of preparing you can try to teach – meaning inform a person of the reasons why they should have some level of preparation – all you want but the reality is that a great many people just won’t do it.  There are many reasons:

  • Don’t’ believe a bad event will/can happen.
  • It’s never happened before (“normalcy bias”).
  • If it does happen FEMA, Red Cross, the government will take care of it.
  • Don’t have time to prepare.
  • Don’t have the money to prepare.
  • Don’t want to seem crazy to my family and friends.

I’m not merely referring to only a physical disaster or national emergency. I also include personal and family emergencies as well as expected normal though severe events of life.

For example, I know a woman who after 20 years of marriage and being a stay-home mother got divorced. She received full custody of their three early teen children, one of which has a severe physical handicap. She also received a 5-figure lump sum payment from her ex-husband as well as half the value upon sale of their house.

Now as a single parent of 3, including a handicapped child, you would expect her to concentrate on caring for the children and being prepared if something happens to her. And you’d be wrong. Myself and several friends advised her to purchase some term life insurance. If a fatal accident or illness befell her what’s going to happen to the child? Can’t guarantee the father will take them all back – he’s already remarried with a new kid of his own! A $400-$500,000 term policy would be very cheap for her. More than enough to cover burial expenses, final debts, and pay for their college to a large extent at least.

But no. She didn’t do it.

We also advised her to make a will for much the same reasons. At the time going to an estate planning attorney would have cost around $1,200 for a will, POA, and other important documents. Easily affordable with the money she received from her divorce. But again, no. So much for being a responsible parent.

Whatever the reason (excuse) you have to resign yourself to the reality that many people just won’t do even some minimal level of preparation. And for them, that’s about as far as you can help them. If/when something bad happens in their lives or the community around them they’ve made the choice not to attempt to be prepared. There’s little you can do for them. You have your own responsibilities to tend to in an emergency. If they ask for help, help if you can. But don’t lose a moment’s sleep if you say “No!” either. It may make you the bad guy but that doesn’t mean you’re wrong.

You can’t save the world.

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