At the beginning of each year, millions of people make resolutions and plans. They set their goals for the year but they often forget something. They forget to set a goal to be prepared financially for any disaster that may strike. Being financially prepared for a disaster isn’t always having money to replace things that are lots. Many people just think their savings account is all they need to survive a disaster and that isn’t always true. There is another level of financial preparedness.
The idea of a disaster striking is something that many people avoid. They don’t want to think of what they would do if their homes caught on fire or what they would do if there was an earthquake or landslide. Avoiding those thoughts is what will leave people unprepared and that will lead to an unnecessary amount of stress in a time of devastation.
Rather than dwell on the future and what can be avoided, people can do several small things that will help in many different emergencies and a disaster if it should happen.
Take Inventory: It seems so silly but it’s true. There are millions of adults that don’t know exactly what they have in their home although they live there. They don’t know the value of those things or what they paid for it. These things are very important. In most homeowner policies, to be reimbursed for lost possessions, a list of those possessions must be submitted with the claim. In times of stress, most can’t remember the basic possessions, much less those small valuable things they want replaced.
Where to keep it: Once a list of possessions have been made, multiple copies can be kept as long as they are updated regularly. These lists can be updated after major purchases or once a quarter. When they are made, it’s recommended that they are kept in a home safe, safe deposit box, with an attorney or even on a removable storage drive (for those that love keeping records on the computer). As long as the location is safe, secure and reachable when necessary, it doesn’t matter where it is.
Buy a lockable box: This lockbox is something that is very important to many people. Not only should the lockbox have a sturdy lock but it should also be fire and waterproof. Although many want to buy a heavy box, it should be something that can be grabbed and carried out with ease in the event of an emergency. In this lockbox, there are different things that should be stored. These items can vary but it could include:
· Inventory list
· A list of emergency contacts
· A list of prescriptions
· Insurance information (health, auto, home/apartment)
· Family records (birth certificates, social security cards, marriage certificates, identification records, passports, retirement information)
· Financial records (401K, bank information, mortgage holders, etc.)
· A listing of creditors
· An extra set of keys (home, auto, safe deposit box)
· A small amount of money or traveler’s checks
*Another thing that can be included is a backup of all important data kept on personal computers
Where to keep it: This lockbox should be kept in an easily accessible location but hidden. The last thing you want is to advertise the location of this box to others because it does contain a huge amount of information, personal information that you may need in the event of an emergency.
Safe Deposit Box: There are some people that don’t like the idea of keeping their valuables away from their immediate reach. However, there are some things that are very important that should be stored away. These items don’t have to be hugely valuable if resold but they can be immensely important during an emergency.
In the safe deposit box, people can store many different things. Some of those documents and valuables include:
· Family records (birth and death certificates, marriage and baptism records, social security cards)
· Property records (land and home deeds, car titles, other ownership documents)
· A listing of creditors
· Passports and military papers and records
· Appraisals (jewelry, art, homes, heirlooms)
· Certificates (stocks, bonds and other investment records)
· Inheritance papers
· Financial papers (retirement, 401K, bank accounts)
· Wills, Power of Attorney appointments, Living Wills and Healthcare Power of Attorney
Where to keep it: The bank. This information should only be trusted with those that have no ill intentions or a personal attorney.
Doing these things, getting back to normal after a disaster or devastating event, can be much less stressful and easier to do.