Five Steps to Financial Preparedness

A disaster can bring normal, everyday life to a screeching halt. The emotional stress of having to pick up the pieces and carry on is hard enough, but it’s even worse when you factor in the financial issues that often accompany a disaster.

Gov. Deal has proclaimed April as National Financial Literacy Month. One of the goals is to ensure that Georgians are as prepared as possible for unexpected financial circumstances, including those that can come as the result of a natural disaster.

Financial responsibilities don’t stop when disasters hit. Even if your house is leveled, your monthly mortgage payment is still due, and becoming delinquent on bill or loan payments could hurt your credit in your time of need. Even if you can’t go to work, you’ll still have to support your family, and unfortunately, you may even have to deal with medical bills. It’s easy to see how financial burdens can be one of the most stressful aspects of recovering from a natural disaster.

The good news is that there are steps you can take now to make recovery easier:

1)      Make copies of all your important documents (homeowners insurance policy, bank account information, etc.) and store them in a waterproof container in a secure location, like in your Ready kit.

2)      Keep some cash in your Ready kit. In the event of a disaster, your area may not have power. In this case credit cards would not help you, and banks and ATMs may be closed.

3)      Keep an inventory of all your valuable items with serial numbers, warranty information and photos. This will save you a major headache when filing an insurance claim.

4)      Back up important computer files. Your computer can be replaced, but the information stored on it cannot. Use online back-up storage to safeguard your files and documents.

5)      If you don’t already have one, create a savings account. Savings are a great way to be financially stable and ready for anything unexpected that comes your way.

Being financially ready for a disaster makes it easier to get back on your feet and cuts down on the stress caused by an unexpected emergency. As tax season comes to an end, many of us will be receiving a little extra money. Instead of spending your refund at a fancy restaurant or on new clothes, consider putting it in savings or using it to help you prepare financially. If the worst happens, you will be so glad you did.

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