Unfortunately, life isn’t all about how much money you have.
When an earthquake hits, it matters not the size of your bank account.
Having nothing at all to do with personal finance, I thought I would tell you about a conversation that I had on Wednesday:
I met a couple who were travelling from – more like escaping from – Christchurch, New Zealand.
They had been living through the devastation there from last week’s earthquake, now horrifically overshadowed by the series of natural (and, man-contributed) disasters in Japan.
First, he told me that he lived the the horror of driving from work when the quake hit. His car was shaken badly, the suspension magnifying the effects of the quake, rather than my expectation that the shock-absorbers would diminish the effects.
He watched a 7-story building sway like a palm tree, then a rising cloud of ‘smoke’ which he soon realized was the total collapse of a much older building behind. He then was witness to a man being killed as a piece of concrete fell off a building and hit the car behind.
‘My man’ was lucky enough to escape unhurt.
But, he really brought home the magnitude of such a disaster, that extends far beyond the terrible news reports of deaths, with these two anecdotes:
1. He knew a young lady who was engaged to be married. She was caught in a building during the quake and escaped with her life but lost three limbs.
2. One family – lucky enough to escape any physical injury – is being torn apart by psychological injury as mother and son escape to Auckland, too scared to return to Christchurch which has suffered over 4,000 earthquakes in the past 6 months. Their husband/father remains in Christchurch where his business / livelihood has miraculously survived. Even the damage to their home is repairable, but their family life is not.
These two small stories bring home to me the devastating effects on lives and families far beyond those who have died in disasters such as that in Christchurch … or, in Japan, a disaster 10 to 100 times as far-reaching as that in New Zealand.
I have no advice, other than to live your life because, on a cosmic – or, even natural – scale, money just doesn’t seem that important, does it?