Protecting those you love: personal safety risk

Amanda Regnier

September 09, 2021

There are a number of safety risks that can personally affect you and your family. Do you have a plan for assessing these risks and reducing vulnerabilities? 

This is the fourth blog in a five-part series that focuses on preserving wealth for yourself and future generations through sound investment management and thoughtful wealth protection strategies.

Read part 1: Protecting your wealth: asset protection
Read part 2: Protecting who you are: reputation risk
Read part 3: Protecting what you have built: household, liability and online risk
Read part 5: Protecting what is yours: financial risks of divorce 

Cybercrime, inadequate travel intelligence, workplace violence, political unrest, extortion, kidnapping—these are all types of personal security risks that you and your family may face. While those may all inspire fear, being aware of and managing such risks can help you feel empowered rather than fearful. The process for assessing the risk to you and your family’s personal security should follow a clear methodology that identifies areas of vulnerability, followed by a plan for eliminating or reducing those vulnerabilities.  Two areas of vulnerability and suggestions for reducing those vulnerabilities include the following:


1. Residential security

One area of vulnerability can be a residence, especially if you are having work done on the residence or otherwise have service providers in and around your home on a regular basis.  A few steps to reduce vulnerability arising from your home include:

  • Utilizing a multilayered security system–a camera system, detection system and good outdoor lighting, for example
  • Obtaining background checks on the contractors or other service providers entering the home
  • Constructing a shelter-in-place room

2. Travel security

Another area of vulnerability for a family’s safety can be travel. Travel risks can range from inadequate health care to being a victim of a kidnapping. Possible ways to mitigate those risks include:  

  • Researching health risks and medical care availability as well as emergency assistance and evacuation options
  • Proper vetting of those caring for your family while traveling
  • Using only trusted transportation services
  • Understanding the local political climate, organized crime activity and labor instability
  • Keeping your travel plans private

Education about personal safety risks, and their likelihood and consequences, can be an effective defense because it allows you and your family to operate from a position of knowledge and empowerment rather than fear.

For more information on personal safety risks, visit our Preserving Family Wealth resource page.

Common-sense pointers: Keep yourself—and your family—safe

Don’t let fear be your mindset, but do let knowledge of the risks that can be out there help you make smart, practical decisions about personal security for you and your family. Here are some common-sense tips:

  • If you decide you need physical protection—aka, an old-fashioned bodyguard—perform thorough due diligence on the firm’s or person’s credentials, experience in personal protection and insurance. Not all states require a license for personal protection services, but you should insist on a firm with liability insurance.
  • International travel poses the biggest risk. It also offers some of the easier risk management tactics. Start by using an experienced security consultant to prepare travel intelligence before you leave home.
  • Invest in a high-quality home security system. You may also want to look into constructing a shelter-in-place room.
  • Although you don’t want to dampen the fun completely, have a serious conversation with the college students or young adults in your family about keeping safe on vacations. Stay together in a group, use only pre-vetted and prearranged, reputable transportation, and minimize the “look” of a wealthy American tourist.
  • Limit your social media profile, and don’t use location services or reveal that “the family departs next Sunday for two weeks in Europe.”
  • For you, your children and or your business, embrace the highest risk probability of all, cybercrime, by:
    • assessing the existing vulnerabilities with all your devices at home and work
    • installing a properly encrypted firewall in your home
    • monitoring all the accounts your children have
    • reassessing yearly, given the ever-evolving threat trajectory

Amanda Regnier is a senior wealth strategist for CIBC Private Wealth Management in New York, with 13 years of industry experience. In this role, she works closely with relationship managers to develop and implement charitable, estate and wealth transfer management planning for clients as part of the firm’s integrated wealth management process.