I was sitting on the deck at our beach house in South Carolina gazing at the beautiful, blue Atlantic Ocean. It was a wonderful May day with a temperature of 77 degrees, blue skies with just a few whispering clouds and a light breeze. It just doesn’t get any better. When I view the palm trees, vegetation, and the dolphins playing, it just doesn’t seem like anything is out of place or in harm’s way. But, I know that we have protection problems. The beach has been eroding over the last few years and has lost some of the its strength. The winter storms have taken their toll on the sand dunes. Hurricanes did not reach the low country, but their powerful winds and storm surges made their presence felt. Some of the more recent storms are doing likewise.
These dunes are very important for all, including the human population. You see, the dunes must be at least three feet tall with an area of 10 to 20 yards of vegetation followed by another set of dunes at the sea wall. The concept is that vegetation and wildlife will inhabit the center portion and strengthen the area. The dunes behind this area will help stop the waves from entering our homes and flooding the island which is below sea level. Of course, a hurricane would be too much for these dunes to handle, so evacuation plans are always a necessity. Finally, we must repair the beach. The state of South Carolina will begin what it calls a “beach renourishment program” soon. It is very precise work to replace sand, and not just any sand will work. Let me explain:
Sand basically has its own DNA. It has its own “blood type.” So, it must be matched perfectly. The Army Corps of Engineers will take barges and drill three to five miles offshore. They will then dredge portions of the beach and prepare for an onslaught of perfectly matched sand. They will blow it through large pipes and the Palmetto state will look like it is having a Midwestern snow storm! Sand fences (like snow fences in the north) will have already been erected, the sand will stick, the tide will harden the dunes, sea oats will be planted, and we will be okay for another ten to fifteen years.
However, protection and security is not a one time job. We must review it constantly and take action before disaster strikes. The same is true for us. We may think that our financial plans are solid and “flood proof.” But, the ravages of inflation and taxation and the looming threat of long term care needs can threaten our security. Our longevity is a double-edged sword. We are fortunate to enjoy more life on our great earth, but we may come up short on the dollars we need to sustain our lifestyle.
So, it’s time to get out of our deck chairs and get to work. You may be in a future storm’s path. Give your Safe Money Places™ professional a call and schedule a “renourishment” review. Assure yourself that you will be safe in both sunny and stormy times.
Have a great summer. Hope to see you on the beach.
This article was written by:
Raymond J. Ohlson , CLU, CRC, LACP
President and CEO of SMP International LLC
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