One of the goals that led me to becoming a deplorable consumer is antifragility. Far as I know, this is a term that gained popularity because of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book Antifragile. I just bought this book on Kindle (it was on a deplorable sale for $2.99) but haven’t had a chance to start reading it yet. Based on reviews I’ve seen online, I should learn something from it.
Anyway, my current version of antifragility is simply that my household could survive a major economic blow without disaster ensuing. I’ve set this up pretty intentionally, and I still have a few more steps to take. As it sits right now:
- We have a full-stocked emergency fund with six months’ worth of expenses.
- We have a normal savings account.
- While I’m the one who works for money outside the home, my wife retains the ability to work, and could get a decently-paying job on short notice. She’s well-educated and hard-working.
- Most importantly, we’re comfortable living with less than what we have now. It would be very easy to reduce or eliminate a bunch of our expenses.
So let’s say I fuck up and get fired or my company fucks up and goes under. Obviously the first step would be to stop spending money on all non-essentials. My wife and I would immediately find whatever jobs we could, and no honest work is beneath us. We’d work these jobs until I found something to support us both again. If we needed to dip into our savings, of course we would. If we needed to go further, we’d use the emergency fund.
There’d be yet more options. We could move to cheaper apartment, not that our rent is anything exorbitant now. We could sell toys like her motorcycle. If need be we could sell a car and only drive one.
In no case would we be wiped out, homeless, destitute, starving or whatever. I’ve seen enough homelessness in Phoenix that I’ll never allow that to happen. Life would be inconvenient at worst, at least for a while, and then we’d recover and get on with life.
The major step I need to take is buying some decent term life insurance, which I’ve been putting off. But now that my wife is back from an extended family-assistance mission in Virginia, I really need to get going on that. I do plan to buy a condo in the relatively near future, though that will admittedly make us slightly more fragile, rather than less. I can always downsize a rental really quickly, while a home I own is far less flexible.
As it stands now, though, I am deplorably antifragile.