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Mayan Apocalypse 2012: Doomsday financial planning

Jennifer Kwan
A temple in Tikal, one of the Mayan city states.

It may be the end of the world as we know it and if doomsday really does arrive on Friday then there's little time to get your finances in order.

Whether fake or for real, nearly 15 per cent of people worldwide believe the world will end during their lifetime and 10 per cent think the Mayan calendar could signify it will happen on Dec. 21, according to a Reuters global poll published earlier this year.

So how do you budget for doomsday? Like the ultimate natural disaster, financial planners say.

Cash is king
In terms of savings, the general rule of thumb is to put aside enough money to get you through six months. The more cash the better. But in a real disaster scenario as Superstorm Sandy showed, cash is very useful, said Thomas Davison, a financial planner with Summit Financial Strategies Inc in Columbus, Ohio. "Many people in the ATM days have next to no cash," he said. " A small amount, for example, a couple of hundred dollars, that’s handy. You don’t want to carry enough so its loss is painful."

Keep your credit cards
In the event of major power outages, credit cards would be rendered useless. But they could prove to be an invaluable survival tool as the world unravels and catastrophe reigns, said Kendra Hudson, a financial planner with Woodward Financial Advisors, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

"Credit cards make excellent splints should you jam a finger during the social unrest that’s bound to occur," she said. "They’re just the right length to protect the average adult’s finger and wide enough to also shield surrounding digits." Cards can be used as eating utensils, ice scrapers, and even rendered into guitar picks, perfect for helping you keep your spirits up when the power is out and you’re looking for some cheap entertainment, she says.

Keep records
Just in case, have a small notebook with critical financial institution phone numbers and account numbers written down.  "In a crisis, your ability to recall routine information may be impaired due to injury, illness, or environmental factors.  It’s a good idea to have a repository of this information in analog form," said Walt Mozdzer, a senior financial planner with Syverson Strege and Company, based in West Des Moines, Iowa. Mozdzer also suggests finding a safe place to put your irreplaceable documents such as original insurance policies, last will and testament, title to your home, if applicable.

Buy a bunker
Believe it or not, there are government-constructed, nuke-proof bunkers that are for sale. Some have lingered on the market without selling and their prices are significantly reduced. One bunker that CNBC has written about, which is located deep underground in the middle of the Adirondack wilderness, had its price slashed to $750,000 from $4.6 million.

Plan B
It's always good to have a Plan B, said Jamie Golombek, managing director, tax and estate planning with CIBC Private Wealth Management. If people think the world is actually going to end then there's no real logical reason to save, all traditional advice falls off the table and you should splurge on that thing or trip you always wanted. "What if you're wrong? You may want to have a contingency plan in case the doomsday scenario doesn't actually come to fruition," said Golombek. "You don't want to go too crazy in case you're wrong and you may actually need money beyond doomsday.