Your financial emergency kit

In an emergency lives matter. Yet, money also matters. Having cash on hand ($1 and $5 are best) will help you recover from an emergency in case ATMs are down, or banks are closed. But small bills are not enough. Even in an emergency, you are still responsible for paying your mortgage, bills, and other everyday expenses.

So having important financial and legal documents, household identification, contact list, and medical information are also crucial. An Emergency Financial First Aid Kit can help you and your family recover quicker from an emergency.

Preparing your financial kit

Before you build your financial kit, you should have some knowledge of money management. Being informed about your finances can help you build a better kit. The best way to begin: start saving money today by paying yourself. That means before you pay others, pay yourself. You can open a bank account just for emergencies. You may even be able to have a certain amount automatically transferred from your paycheck to your emergency bank account each month. You can also save money in a safe location such as a fireproof and waterproof home safe. Whatever safe place you decide is best, make sure your financial kit is also there.

Building your financial kit

There are four simple steps to building your financial kit: Assess and Compile, Review, Safeguard, and Update. Here’s how you can start assessing and compiling your kit:

  • Download banking and bill pay apps to your mobile or tablet devices. This may save you money and time paying bills and looking for paper statements.
  • Make copies of important documents such as legal agreements, deeds, insurance policies, marriage licenses, birth certificates and prescriptions.  Put copies in your emergency kit. Take pictures of the documents with your phone. Store copies of your documents in a secure online library. Many of these services are free.
  • Take photographs or video of rooms in your home with valuable belongings. You can also take photos important documents you are unable to take with you during an emergency. Just make sure to keep these files with your financial kit.
  • If you do not have an original document, contact the company or organization to get a copy. Often, requesting these documents take time, so the sooner the better. Remember to add these documents to your kit when you get them.
  • And of course always have cash on hand, preferably $1 and $5 because in emergencies some places may not be able to give exact change. The amount of money you need is based on your needs. But plan to have cash for food, gas, hotel rooms, and things you use every day.

Here’s more on how to build your full Emergency Financial First Aid Kit.

Just in case, be ready. Start building your kit today.

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