Fires, tornadoes, earthquakes and tsunamis. These are just some of the natural disasters that can affect us.
Just as we prepare for changes in financial markets and tax codes, so should we protect our assets — and especially ourselves— in a natural disaster.
Prepare for the worst
When Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the Eastern seaboard in late October, thousands of residents lost everything but the clothes on their backs. Their homes and possessions — a life’s worth — lost in one fell swoop. The death toll in the United States was more than 100.
Before a disaster happens is a good time to consider scenarios such as picking up children from different schools and how spouses will communicate if cell phones are inoperable. Things such as a pocket knife, flashlight, first-aid kit, sneakers, water bottle, and a blanket should be kept in car trunks at all times.
Many shapes, many sizes
Other life-changing events can be disasters when they jeopardize your finances. For instance, you could be laid off; a sudden illness or injury could put you out of work for months; your identity is stolen. Or it could be something as mundane as an unexpected car repair that runs into the thousands of dollars.
These examples and more are why you should set up an emergency fund equal to at least six month’s salary. Anything that puts you out of work puts your financial stability — short term and long term — in jeopardy, so saving for that rainy day may be the only way you survive.
Save early, save often
Small sacrifices in several areas can add up to big savings. Here are some suggestions to help you save:
1) If you have premium cable TV channels, cut back to a less expensive cable tier.
2) Try to negotiate a cheaper cell phone plan.
3) Eat out one less time per week.
4) Make a meal plan, and only buy groceries for those meals— especially when they’re on sale.
Even the best of plans can’t help you avoid all emergencies. But planning now can help you more easily weather the storm, financially and personally.