© 1999 Michael S. Hyatt

As I’ve said numerous times before, I don’t know what will happen when the clock strikes midnight on Jan. 1, 2000. Unfortunately, the only information we have is self-reported. In other words, various corporations and industry associations are telling us how they are doing, and they are expecting us to simply take their word for it.

There is very little independent certification going on — in fact, this kind of third-party verification is virtually non-existent. As a result, I am confident we will see disruptions because of Y2K; I just don’t know where they will occur, how severe they will be, or how long they will last.

The only prudent course of action is to manage the risk by making contingency plans. This is what every smart company and government agency has done, or is now frantically trying to finish. Sadly, they don’t want you, as a private citizen, to do the same thing. Why? Because if enough people change their behavior, it threatens the status quo. It may upset the economy, the stock market, or their particular business. They are perfectly willing for you to prepare for a three-day snowstorm scenario (the politically correct Y2K view), but they do not want you preparing for more than that.

This is hypocrisy at its worst. If it is smart for government agencies and companies to make extensive contingency plans — and it is! — why isn’t it smart for you and I? Rest assured of this fact: If you don’t have a plan for your family, someone else does. And it is probably not one you are going to like. As much as I appreciate the wonderful work done by the Red Cross and other disaster relief organizations, I cannot get excited about staying in one of their shelters for any length of time. I’d rather take responsibility for my own family and decide when we will eat, what we will eat, when we will take showers, and when we will turn off the lights (or the kerosene lantern) to go to sleep.

People who make the effort to prepare now are those who will have options later. But understand this principle of contingency planning: You must plan for more than one scenario. In other words, you can’t “put all your eggs in one basket.” You don’t know — and can’t know — whether Y2K will be a “speed bump” or a “train wreck.” It could end up being either one, or somewhere in between. But you must make your contingency planning fit both sides of the equation. Don’t make it an all-or-nothing bet.

At a practical level, this is what I mean: I am not making any decisions now that I will regret later, regardless of how Y2K turns out. For example, my wife and I have determined that we will not go into debt to prepare for Y2K. Unfortunately, this means that I will not be able to do as much as I could do if we were willing to borrow the money. But that’s okay with me. I want to do my best, and then trust God with the rest. (In fact, I want to trust God with the whole thing!) At any rate, I don’t want to be left with a mountain of debt if Y2K ends up being nothing more than an inconvenience.

So, we are doing our best with the resources we have. We are confident that if we do that, the rest will take care of itself. I would encourage you to do the same.

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