Diversify Your Preparedness Risk in 2016

Doug HillDear Laissez Faire Letter Reader,

If you opened yesterday’s email with the latest issue of the Laissez Faire Letter, you would have noticed something different…

It’s now 50% larger.

Smack-bang in the middle, we’ve inserted a new “mini newsletter” called Spy & Survival Briefing.

Jason Hanson, as you probably know, is an ex-CIA officer…

And since retiring, he’s made it his mission to teach everyday citizens all the valuable skills and strategies he learned at the agency so they can better protect themselves and stay safe, no matter what the situation.

Jason’s expertise has been sought out by celebrities and Fortune 500 companies, and he’s been on television numerous times too — appearing on Dateline, Today and The Rachael Ray Show.

In fact, Jason will be making another appearance on The Rachael Ray Show tomorrow.

If you’d like to catch one of our contributors in a different format than just the written word, here’s your chance. Time and channel information can be found here.

Tomorrow, Jason will be demonstrating:

  • Free smartphone apps that can save your life when walking through a late-night parking lot
  • How to stop an attacker from hitting you. (If performed correctly, this will also cause them to break their hand)
  • How to escape a bear hug and ensure an attacker can’t drag you away.

Be sure to tune in to see Jason’s latest television appearance.

Now on to today’s email alert…

You’re familiar with the advice that you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket. It’s the same reason you don’t put all your retirement money into a single stock. By diversifying, you reduce your risk.

Well, the same principle applies to preparedness.

There’s no point in having gear and supplies if you’re unable to access them when you need them…

Below, Jason shares with you some tips on how to ensure this will never happen to you.


Doug Hill

Doug Hill
Director, Laissez Faire Club

Diversify Your Preparedness Risk in 2016

by Jason Hanson


Jason HansonYears ago, when I lived in Virginia and was working for the Central Intelligence Agency, I owned a rental property in Manassas, Virginia.

I bought the property in the early 2000s when I and everyone else with a pulse thought we were going to be real estate gazillionaires. The property had a good location, I found a quality tenant, and I thought this rental property stuff was going to be a piece of cake.

Then one day, I got a call from a neighbor near the property who said, “Jason, your house is on fire. I just called 911, and the fire department should be here soon.”

I immediately tried calling the tenant, who didn’t answer, before racing over to the property. Since I wasn’t very close, by the time I got there, the firetrucks were gone, and standing in front of the place were the neighbor and my tenant.

Apparently, my tenant left a candle burning on the fireplace mantle while he went out to run some errands. While he was gone, the candle tipped over, setting the mantle and the adjoining wall on fire.

I got very, very lucky because the neighbor spotted the fire early and was able to get help. There was no serious damage to the house, just to some drywall, paint, and the mantle.

As I was driving home after the incident, I had a great reminder of two things. One, being a landlord isn’t easy and takes lots of work. But more importantly, you never put all your eggs in one basket.

This is something I already knew well from working at the agency. You never put all of your important equipment or gear in one place, because what if something goes wrong? Or in the case of my rental property, what if your house burns down and you lose everything?

So being that it’s the new year, I want to help you diversify some of your supplies so you are prepared for the unexpected. As the saying goes, prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

My Favorite Cash Cache

So let’s first begin with money. I personally believe you should have one month’s living expenses for your family in cash that you can access rather quickly.

For some folks who have expensive lifestyles, this could be a ton of money. But I’m a pretty frugal person, so my family doesn’t need that much to live on. Also, I would have most of this money in $20 bills so that it’s easy to make payments and exchange with other people.

Once you’ve gone to the bank and have this cash, you need to decide where to put it. The first place should obviously be your house. I would put about a third of this cash in a fireproof safe. Sentry makes inexpensive and small safes. I use their H2300CG model.

You’ll want to put this safe somewhere difficult to access. In other words, don’t put it in your master bedroom where a thief can easily find it. Put it in your attic in a box marked “kids’ toys” or in your basement closet that has 10,000 other boxes in it.

The next place you should put some of the money is at your office. Again, you can get a small fireproof safe and hide the cash so it’s not easily accessible by your co-workers. Perhaps you can put it in your desk or in some Xerox boxes sitting in your office.

Your Storage Unit Stash

The final place to put the remaining cash is in a storage unit. A storage unit is definitely one of my favorite places to store gear and other items. You can get a storage unit that’s about the size of a large closet for about $25 a month in most places. When you get the unit, pay for it with cash. That way, nobody knows you have it, and if someone hacked into your credit card account, they wouldn’t see the payments you make every month to “XYZ Storage.”

Once you’ve identified the three places to put your cash, you can put other items in there too. For instance, I own several guns, and if my house burns down or the government comes to confiscate them, I certainly don’t want all of them at my home.

So if you’re a gun owner like I am, you can have guns at home, guns at the storage unit, and guns at the office. (Obviously, check to see the firearms policies for both your storage unit and office.) Other items you can diversify are ammunition, water containers, food storage, and backups of your important documents that you keep on a USB drive. I like the IronKey encrypted USB drive.

Also, if you don’t have an office or don’t want to rent a storage unit by yourself, get creative and think of other places you could diversify. Do you have relatives who would let you store stuff in their basement? Do you have a friend that has an office space where he would let you keep some gear? Do you have like-minded friends that you trust who might be interested in sharing the costs of renting a storage unit?

The fact is none of us ever imagines our house could burn down or that a terrorist attack could occur near our home. But if something bad like that does happen, we don’t want to be left in the cold with no way to feed and protect ourselves.

So take a few minutes now and think of places you could spread your supplies in the coming year. Once you’ve got places in mind, then begin to implement your plan this weekend.


Jason Hanson

Jason Hanson is a former CIA officer and security specialist and the author of Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life. He’s appeared on numerous television shows, including ABC’s Shark Tank and NBC’s Today show.

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