Midwesterners Meet Hurricane Irma
– Jeff Meissner
My wife Jan and I have a home in Florida. Both of us grew up in the northern Chicago suburbs. As a couple, we moved to the Cleveland suburbs. After over five decades of Midwest winters, our Florida getaway was a dream escape. We learned escape goes in both directions.
I flew south to our Florida home on Monday, September 4th, 2017, and less than two days later on Wednesday, we began the task of securing everything in and around the house in anticipation of a wicked amount of wind and rain from Hurricane Irma. We went to bed that Friday, ready to ride out the storm because it wasn’t going to be that close to us. As it turns out, Irma was as unpredictable as the Stock Market.
Just hours after going to bed, the updated European Weather Model put the eye of the hurricane’s path two blocks from our house. It took us only two hours to pack up Jan’s four cats and some clothes to start the drive north. We arrived in Westlake, Ohio Sunday night after 20 hours of driving. Later in the evening of our departure, the hurricane path changed once again. Just three hours before it would arrive at our Florida home it took a turn further east of us. Thankfully, our damage was limited to four small trees leaning a bit sideways. After calling our Florida friends and clients, it was a relief to hear they too were all safe and sound. We were not only prepared, we were very lucky. A week later, we packed up the car again (with the four cats) and drove back to Florida. MEOW!
With 40 hours of drive time to both evacuate for Hurricane Irma and return to the consequences, I had plenty of time to reflect on the event. Even with four cats yelling at me. I realized how anxious and vulnerable my wife Jan and I felt as we sat in our Florida home, waiting for possible impending doom. When we made the decision to protect ourselves and evacuate to safety, we felt much better, primarily because we took control of the situation instead of just waiting to see what would happen. While driving, it occurred to me our evacuation plan and the Active Strategies that our clients invest in had some strong similarities. We could have “hung in there” like most investors do when the stock market starts to get scary, but we chose to move toward safer ground and away from the potential harm the hurricane could bring. It is the same concept we use in our Active Strategies. Our plan is always to move your investments safer as financial times become more stormy. You don’t know what each storm will bring. They change in mid course. They can be fierce. Or not. Our real life storm reinforced to me how much peace of mind a protection plan brings.