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Sandra Gilpatrick, CFP ®,CDFA™

Personal Contingency Planning: It’s for financial and physical well-being

I recently attended an event for women advisors. Besides financial education, we had a former Navy SEAL combat veteran Phillip Koontz as a speaker, who taught us self -defense situational awareness. While my aim is to empower women with their finances, building confidence through situational awareness is good physical contingency planning to share to help other women.  


Following the basics like making eye contact with strangers and not walking around engulfed on your mobile device are great starts to situational awareness. Women have the tendency to use intuition when making decisions. If a situation doesn't seem safe, be on high alert and have your phone ready to use for a loud warning that you are "calling 911" or to use as an impact weapon if needed. Using the corner of your phone (whilst using other fingers to support so it doesn't slip) is a good alternative to using your ulna bone to strike a perpetrator. The most effective defense is a double (left, right hand) strike to the T zone, which includes the nose, eyes, temples and throat area.


For car owners, I learned an enlightening tip to share. A criminal can wait under your car in a dark parking lot and cut your achilles, rendering you immobile. Looking briefly under your car as you approach with a flashlight was suggested. Getting a Vipertek Taser (about $14), which also has a flashlight function, could stun an attacker allowing you to flee a dangerous situation.? While the device was light in weight, it would not fit well into a clutch purse. It was noted that pepper spray or mace could be too easily used against you.


Having situational awareness is the best first step in your physical contingency planning. Remember to always be aware of your surroundings and know what is going on so you can better figure out what to do in a tricky situation. This alone will give you about a 90% chance to avoid a threat. Personal contingency planning is an important exercise for both your financial and physical well-being. Having an alert mind makes for a safe trip!