Thursday, March 11, 2010

An Ounce of Prevention

Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In the health field, this is fairly obvious. It’s easier to prevent a disease than to cure one. Better to eat right, exercise and keep a decent weight than it is to treat the diabetes or heart disease that comes from a life time of unhealthy choices.

Of course, the ounce of prevention adage works in other areas as well. Ask the renter who lost all of her possessions and didn’t have renters insurance. Ask the worker who made a very good living but chose to spend everything she made, without even thinking about saving, a few weeks after she gets the pink slip. Ask the frustrated mom on the side of the road after her minivan has broken down, the one who didn’t think getting the oil changed was that much of a big deal.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure but (and I’m on a roll with these old sayings) hindsight is also 20/20. As she stands in the ramshackled living room that $20 a month for the renters insurance doesn’t sound too bad. Likewise, saving and getting routine car maintenance would make a lot of sense in the face of the lay-off or an unexpected breakdown.

The trick is to use that ounce of prevention before those bad things happen.

I think we aren’t concerned about prevention because we just don’t think that bad thing (whatever it is) will happen to us. Sure people are losing jobs but you are okay. They need you. Don’t they? And your car, it’s just fine. Isn’t it?

When that dreaded event happens, we are blindsided. I was one of those people I didn’t have renters insurance. I never saved for a rainy day and I let my car go without maintenance for far too long. Yet after years of being hardheaded, I learned to look for the ounces of prevention because a pound of cure can be expensive!

The ounce of prevention can cost too – in both time and money. Insurance isn’t free and car maintenance certainly isn’t. It does take time to locate and compare policies and to take the car to be serviced. Saving some money isn’t nearly as much fun as spending (at least to me) but these are small costs when you consider the alternative.

Look for areas where you can find those ounces of prevention and when you find them, take action. Because an ounce of prevention won’t do you any good once you need a pound (or more) of cure.

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