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From our friends at the American Red Cross, we’ve learned many ways to prepare for the unexpected, from preparing your family for a house fire to creating an emergency preparedness kit. What’s happening after a natural disaster has occurred?
To learn more about disaster financial preparedness, we spoke with Michael Ford, financial advisor at Jackson, Evans and Associates, a financial advisory firm of Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC. Read on to see how you can use these tips!
What happens After Disaster strikes?
In the event of a disaster, the American Red Cross is on site and ready to provide food, clothing, shelter and other life-saving supplies to those in need. However, emergency services are not the only facet of the American Red Cross mission. In addition to serving those in need, the American Red Cross is dedicated to helping families prepare for these natural disasters.
A essential step towards disaster recovery and planning is to create a financial plan for your well-being and that of your family. While each disaster scenario is unique, the American Red Cross has developed a Natural Disaster Financial Preparedness Guide with information and protection recommendations:
- Goods, including having adequate insurance and implementing mitigation efforts.
- Health and life, including understanding what is and is not covered by health, disability and life insurance policies.
- dear ones, including estate planning and creating a living will.
- Returned, including debt management and understanding the government benefits after a disaster.
- Recordings, including what to keep and how to store it.
How to prepare financially for a natural disaster
When developing a financial plan, the American Red Cross recommends using the expertise of a family attorney or financial advisor. In our case, we sat down with Michael Ford, a financial advisor with Jackson, Evans and associates and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Western Alabama Chapter of the American Red Cross. Michael Ford has worked in the financial services industry for 17 years and has spent the past nine years working as a financial advisor.
Have you seen clients financially affected by natural disasters?
Michael: âFortunately, I have only had one client who was negatively affected financially as a result of a natural disaster. Others affected had adequate insurance coverage and other financial resources to get through these difficult times. Their “success” came from setting up a financial plan. “
What financial documents should people keep on hand in the event of a disaster? How do you keep these documents secure?
Michael: âI recommend that you keep copies of any financial or other important documents in a secure cloud environment and the originals in a safe at your local bank or credit union. By doing this, you eliminate the risk of losing them in a disaster. You can use a safe at home, but I personally think these other places are better. Some financial institutions offer a secure site to digitally store financial documents and other documents important to their customers. I would use this value added service. Financial and other important documents include, but are not limited to, income tax returns, W-2 forms, bank and investment account statements, credit card statements, insurance policies, mortgage documents, titles, deeds, birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports, wills, living wills and powers of attorney.
What are the common expenses that people need to prepare for in the event of a disaster? What resources are available?
Michael: âI recommend that people set up an emergency or ‘rainy day’ fund of at least three to six months of living expenses. In the event of a disaster, there would be money available to cover basic expenses like food, shelter and clothing. The American Red Cross may be able to meet the immediate needs of individuals, families and communities in the event of a disaster and can help individuals and families recover and meet the continuing needs of the community once the phase is over. emergency ended. Even so, I would still recommend the emergency fund, if possible. “
How do you make sure your property is properly insured?
Michael: âIt’s important to have an appraisal or to place a value on all assets – real and personal. Be sure to consider the cost of replacing your home, not just market value. Take photos of all your valuables and store them digitally in a secure cloud environment or physically in a safe at a local bank or credit union so you can access them if you need to file an insurance claim . Establish riders on owner’s or tenant’s insurance policies for each item of personal property that has particular value (eg, collectibles, jewelry). Review your insurance policies annually with your insurance agent and financial advisor to make sure all of your property is properly insured.
Do you have any additional tips for families making a financial plan for a natural disaster?
Michel: âYes. The best time to predict the potential for a natural disaster is during blue skies. Going through one is very traumatic, which can make it difficult to think logically and clearly when your emotions are running high. By having a financial plan in place that identifies your available resources, where to go, and whom to turn to, you can dramatically reduce much of the guesswork and increase your chances of avoiding financial disaster.
Prepare for disaster with the American Red Cross
To make sure you and your family are prepared to face a natural disaster (both physically and financially), read the many guides developed by the American Red Cross, including:
Have you made a financial plan for your family in the event of a natural disaster? Tag @bhamnow with any advice you’d like to share!