Depending on where we live or what season it is, getting ready for an emergency is often a topic of discussion. Most of us know we should have at minimum three-days of water and food, a flashlight with batteries, and the battery-operated radio (with batteries). I’m going to guess most of us have at least that much.
Again depending on location and season, there may be other preparations. Our family, because of location, make sure our vehicles never get below a half tank of fuel. In northern regions, a snow shovel and extra blankets are on the list.
No matter where we live financial preparation should be on all of our lists.
What is financial preparation? It’s actually more than just finances. It’s all the personal information you may need: identification, insurance policies, medical information, banking information, even contact information. With your other financial documents have photocopies of your credit cards so you’ll have card numbers to cancel those accounts if necessary.
Quick quiz: Do you know where your homeowner’s insurance is at? Do you know the company’s contact information? Sadly, far too often we don’t even know where to start looking for it.
In addition to the personal information, it’s also a good idea to have some financial preparation. Keep a little cash in a safe place at home, in case the banks are closed and ATMs aren’t working. How much to have on hand is a personal decision depending on each family’s cost of living. I also recommend having smaller bills. It will be easier to purchase items if you’re not trying to use a one-hundred-dollar bill.
Where is all this information going to be stored? We often automatically think of digital storage. So many things can interfere with digital storage, including power outages, internet services out, or cell towers out of service. Even if my laptop computer is working, my printer will not. Paper is the best option. I have my documents tucked away in my vehicle. I don’t have to worry about gathering everything up in the rush of an evaluation.
FEMA and Operation Hope offers a free booklet, Emergency Financial First Aid Kit.