It has been a doozy of a year for catastrophes across the United States and globally: From raging forest fires, to hurricanes and tornados, to volcanic eruptions and gas-line explosions. As we witness the devastation in the news and send our donations and prayers to those affected, it is a good time to consider how prepared you are should disaster strike.
Sometimes the forecast is long enough out to get ready for a storm, but they are unpredictable and in many cases hit without warning. You may be forced to evacuate or even relocate with very little notice. Here are some simple steps you can take to ensure if everything around you is disrupted, you stay on solid ground.
Keep important financial documents organized and secure in waterproof packaging. These include driver’s licenses, passports, social security cards, birth certificates, marriage/divorce and other records. You may need copies to apply for aid from FEMA or to make insurance claims.
Cash is king when the power is out. Make sure you have access to funds. Keep enough on hand so you can buy food, water and gas for a few days. Set up direct deposit of your paycheck and other income so you are not dependent on paper checks.
Everyone needs a rainy day fund. Set a goal to put aside enough money to support yourself for three months. If saving is a struggle, talk to a credit counselor for free budgeting and debt repayment advice to increase your financial security.
Communicate with your financial institution and any creditors. Many lenders and credit card companies will work with you to make concessions after such events. Give them a call and explain what is going on, and make sure any bills are forwarded if you are forced to relocate.
Keep an eagle eye out for scammer. Unfortunately, tragedy also brings out the worst in people. Be wary of soliciting, price gouging and looting. Secure your property and don’t share personal information with unauthorized people.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Talk to a CCCSMD certified credit counselor for free financial health check!