The horrific wildfires impacting California serve an unfortunate reminder on the importance of preparing for a disaster. Operation Hope and FEMA have compiled an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) to help you prepare financially and provide tips to reduce the impact that disasters can leave you with.
The four simple steps to financial emergency preparedness include:
- Assessing and compiling important documents and contacts. This includes the obvious things you would think of (Social Security Cards, Insurance information, etc.) but also things you may not have thought about, like copies of your utility bills and photos or video of your home and valuable belongings.
- Reviewing your insurance policies and financial paperwork to assure it’s accurate and current. This includes home, auto and renters policies.
- Safeguard your paper and electronic copies in a safe place. This could be a fireproof and waterproof box or safe, a safety deposit box or with a trusted friend or relative, preferably not your neighbor. If your home is subject to a natural disaster, it’s likely your neighbors’ will be too.
- Update your plan often. Make it part of your annual review as you complete your taxes. It’s important to revisit and update it when major life changes as well (marriage, divorce, new child, moving to a new home, new bank accounts or insurance providers, etc.)
The EFFAK can serve not only as a useful tool in emergency preparedness, but it can also offer an inventory for heirs who may be responsible for your estate once you’re gone. We sometimes hear from our client families that they’re the only ones who truly know where ‘everything’ is. Be sure you keep your family in the know with the EFFAK or a similar documentation tool.