Putting a price on something priceless

As I watched my oldest daughter dressed as Mary Poppins on her third birthday jump into a chalk picture I realized I would have paid any sum of money for that video.

You see, three days earlier we had an accident. Every video file I had of both my daughters was on an external hard drive that fell to the floor. I was in the middle of organizing them to then archive them before the hard drive stopped working.

I was thrown into a panic. I was sick to my stomach and knew not to try the broken hard drive too many times as it would reduce my ability to recover the files.

I started to go through every possible back up I might have. Over the next few days I began to recover most of the videos, but about a year could not be found. That year included videos of my daughters third and first birthdays.

My wife and I debated what to do. We were relieved the videos of our girls as babies were recovered. We also have all the photos we ever took as they were not lost. I had brought the hard drive to a local place to try and have it recovered. The cost would be $350 to buy the parts to try and repair the hard drive. If there was data recovered it would be another $750.

With no guarantee the files we were missing would be recovered, we debated whether the expense was worth it. It seemed like an expense that was not justifiable. We were both relieved to have recovered most videos, but wondered exactly what memories we were missing.

Well, as I watched my girl acting as Mary Poppins, something the photos and my memories just couldn’t capture, I realized this was really truly priceless. Knowing the videos that were missing now, I would have paid anything in retrospect.

Thankfully, under a lot of stress, I located an extra back up deep on another drive. I must have done an extra backup quickly at one time knowing how important the videos were. The relief I felt was unbelievable; I also realized how certain things in life are priceless. Something that you wouldn’t pay a dime for is worth the world to me.

This reminds me as a Certified Financial Planner® who specializes in helping people manage their cash flow that I am never a judge of how people spend their money. Something meaningless to me might be priceless to you. I am instead a coach to help you organize and manage your finances so that if a priceless moment occurs, like it did to me, that you can take advantage of it because you have your financial house in good order.

If it were not for good fortune I too would have to spend a large chunk of money on something that is priceless to me.

This incident also reminds me of the importance of risk mitigation. Reducing the risk in the first place is almost always the cheapest option. Prevention, even if it costs a bit of money, is always a great investment. In my case, I switched to external disconnected hard drives to back up data so that a ransomware virus would not encrypt and take hostage my data. I was so focused on that risk, which I was not protected from by automatic backups to the cloud, that I disregarded the risk of dropping the hard drive on the floor. I invested in the hard drives and didn’t want to spend extra on the cloud backup.

I am now working into my expenses the cost of the additional cloud archive of important data. I will sacrifice in other areas if needed. I know it isn’t life’s biggest expense for these services, but there are a lot of smaller expenses nowadays that all add up.

Lastly, I wanted to write about this because I have many different hard drives and am very cautious to always have multiple back ups. Despite these actions, it still happened to me. The reason I didn’t like the automatic cloud back up is that if a ransomware virus encrypted my data, those encrypted files would be uploaded to the cloud automatically overwriting my data. So now in addition to an external hard drive I will send specific important files to the cloud manually. Every time I think I have a good risk mitigation plan in place, reality tests me.

If you have something precious and priceless—like videos of the most important two little people in my life—take the time to make sure you have done everything to keep it safe. Life is busy but taking time to protect what is important to you should always be a top priority.

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