Would You Cash Out Your 401(k) After an Earthquake?

Recently Jumpstart interviewed Kyle, a middle-school teacher and graphic novel author in the San Francisco Bay Area, about what he would do after the Big One.

kyle for blog

Jumpstart: Do you think about earthquakes?

Kyle: It crosses my mind from time to time, but seems kind of pointless to think about.

Jumpstart: Why do you think it’s pointless?

Kyle: Well, we all know the big one is coming, and there’s nothing we can really do about it. Since I live so close to the beach, I’m more concerned with a tidal wave (a.k.a. tsunami) than the earth shaking.  Besides, I doubt I’ll still be living here when the big one comes.  My job is the only thing really keeping me here.

Jumpstart: OK so if a big earthquake hit, what would you do if the school was closed for a month for repairs? The tough thing about earthquakes is that they affect every person and every business. They don’t discriminate.

Kyle: I’ve never really thought about that.  I’ve only really thought about the kinds of damage that you hear about on the news. TVs falling over, pictures falling off the wall, cracks in the walls or ceilings.

Jumpstart: What would you do if that stuff happened?

Kyle: Well I’ve been meaning to get a new TV anyway (big laugh). All that stuff can be replaced.

Jumpstart: What about the stuff that can’t be replaced so easily? What would you do if your if your apartment was wrecked?

Kyle: You have a spare room, right? (laughs)

Jumpstart: That I do, and you’d be welcome to it if MY house is still intact (laughs)

Kyle: But seriously, it’s never really crossed my mind. I guess my landlord’s insurance would cover the damage.

Jumpstart: I mean, where would you live? How would you pay for a new apartment? Do you have enough savings to move into a new place for 6 months while your place is being fixed up?

Kyle: Haha, no, I don’t have enough savings. I guess I’d have to cash in my IRA. That still wouldn’t cover it all though. I guess I’d consider moving out of the Bay Area, maybe move in with my sister in LA or my cousin in San Diego.

Over to you:  Would you cash out your IRA after an earthquake?  Would you move away?

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