We spend a lot of time thinking about the physical and mental aspects of emergency preparedness – supplies, tools, skills – but the financial aspects of preparedness are just as important. The following advice comes to us from our partners at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
So, you are familiar with the hazards most likely to impact your community, and you have an emergency kit, an evacuation plan, and a family communications plan. You have even taken action to prepare your pets. But what about your finances? Pre-disaster financial planning is essential to help you and your family maintain financial stability in the event of an emergency. You should have a plan to pay your bills and access important records and accounts after a disaster, when mail services may be delayed, original documentation may be damaged or lost, or Internet access may not be available. It is also a good idea to have cash on hand to cover your expenses in case banks are also impacted by disaster. Protecting your financial records also facilitates the process of applying for income-based assistance following a disaster.
Take some time to review a few of these tips on financial preparedness:
- Place important documents in a safe space. You can use the Safeguarding Your Valuables activity and Emergency Financial First Aid Kit to help get you started. These documents provide the basics of how to identify valuables and what low-cost options are available to protect them.
- Use the FEMA phone application to access disaster preparedness, response and recovery resources including disaster assistance.
- Enroll in Go Direct to minimize disruptions in receiving any federal benefits you may be entitled.
- Explore other resources to help you get started including Recovery After Disaster: The Family Financial Toolkit and the Disaster Recovery Log which can help your family get back on their feet after a disaster.
The Financial Literacy Education Commission can help you increase the financial preparedness of your household, workplace, and community. We encourage you to use the tools listed above or visit Ready.gov/financialpreparedness. Start early on being financially prepared!