Sufficiency & Resiliency
In mid-October we took a road trip up to Moab, UT and revisited Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, Dead Horse Point State Park and visited some new places including Fisher Towers which is pictured above. If you ever find yourself in Moab and want to check out Fisher Towers, go north of town by few hundred yards, take Highway 128 going east out to Mile Marker 21. It's a great formation.
This morning Mark Baker Tweeted out a list his priorities related to balancing out the positives and negatives of technology as we now use it. " 1 Be 'off grid' in the grid 2 Have a FU attitude 3 Don't have a boss 4 Own land 5 Keep chickens." My wife and I have a lot of overlap with this but we are more focused on self-sufficiency than an FU attitude and we don't have chickens.
Over the course of the last year, I've made several mentions of our plan to at first get a whole home generator and how that plan evolved into getting solar. We finally completed our installation, we have a battery that holds several days worth of power needs in the event of an outage which is preferable to a generator because we aren't using up our propane in the face of an extended power outage. We've had two, week long outages since we've lived here full time, 2004 and 2018. We are not independent of the grid but we are not reliant on it.
You probably are aware of the the escalated wildfire danger in California in the last few years and the role that antiquated electrical grid infrastructure might be playing in causing fires. As a preventative measure, the electrical company for much of California, PG&E, has instituted a policy of rolling blackouts to prevent wildfires from starting. I have no idea if it could ever come to that in Arizona with APS. I have no idea the state of our electrical grid infrastructure but I do live in an area with very few people and as I have said before, it may not be economically prudent for APS to ensure our area has the latest and greatest equipment. I doubt that if I were to call an ask they'd tell me "oh yeah, the equipment in your area is very old, we're surprised Walker hasn't burned down yet."
That is the backdrop for getting our solar setup. It doesn't make a ton of pure financial sense, if my math is right it will pay for itself in about 1000 years (jokey hyperbole) but some portion of the expense goes toward piece of mind if the infrastructure that serves our area becomes less efficient which seems plausible. Quite a few years ago I wrote about solar not making economic sense and I still think that's the case even with the massive tax credits for federal and state but some of our priorities have evolved in terms of what we're willing to pay for/do for piece of mind.
There's an element to this of looking several steps down the road and mitigating potential inconveniences, maybe huge inconveniences, before they happen. This to me is the definition of self-sufficiency and resiliency.
There is a direct correlation to how we manage our personal finances, prepare for retirement and mitigate potential inconveniences which in financial terms of course are risks. Risks like not saving enough, not having a proper asset allocation, not understanding risk until after something bad happens, losing your job five years before you plan to retire, an adverse sequence of returns at a time pivotal to your retirement plan, the list is endless. Don't think about my list here, come up with your own, you know your situation and you know what threats are realistic to your situation which then allows you to set out to mitigate those threats. Save more, learn how to monetize a hobby, be flexible enough to spend less than you planned on and so on. Like many things in life, on some level you know what to do and what you should do is simple even if it's not easy.