I’ve been there. After a messy expensive divorce in which I made a few costly emotional decisions, the financial implosion of 2008, a layoff, and a huge rent increase all in the same year (and I thought 2020 is bad!), I hit my financial bottom. My bank account was perilously low, my credit cards had high balances, I had no job, and my expenses had increased dramatically.
Recently one of my clients was unexpectedly hospitalized, and it reminded me that emergencies come in all kinds of packages. Whether a kitchen fire, an earthquake, or a trip to the emergency room, here are a few practical ways to be ready at a moment’s notice:
- An Emergency Plan. During the Loma Prieta earthquake back in 1989, phone lines were down and busy for days after the event. Develop an evacuation plan and establish a meeting place.
- Emergency Phone Numbers. Designate a family member or friend outside the area to act as a communication hub. I live in California, and my dad (who lives in Washington) is our designated point person. In the event that phone, internet and cell service is interrupted, everyone knows who to call for updates.
- Copies of Important Records. Photocopying and backing-up important information is always a good idea in case a hard drive crashes or other technical events. Store copies or originals (e.g. birth or marriage certificates) at an offsite location like in a fireproof safe deposit box. Photocopy the contents of your wallet too in case it gets lost, stolen or misplaced. Have a list of medications and doctor contact data on hand for unexpected emergency room visits or hospitalization.
- Review Insurance Coverage. Make sure you have enough coverage by checking your homeowner or renter’s policy, auto and business-related insurance. Know what’s covered, what’s not, and your deductible amounts. This will reduce some of the anxiety and headache when filing a claim. You may save money too by regularly reviewing your policy and taking advantage of discounts (e.g., no tickets or accidents).
- Survival Kit. Dust off that Y2K kit, and make sure you have supplies ready like a battery-operated radio, flashlights, medications, water, and first-aid supplies. For a complete list of supplies, visit http://www.ready.gov/america/getakit or http://72hours.org to make sure you’re prepared for the unexpected. Or if you prefer something in book form, Paul Purcell’s Disaster Prep 101: The Ultimate Guide to Emergency Readiness is the most comprehensive guide to disaster preparation I’ve ever seen.
Want help in creating a “Grab ‘n Go Box” that includes important financial papers for your family’s emergency plan? Then schedule a free 30-minute consultation with Fiscally Fit, Inc. Email me at Alison@fiscallyfit.us or call (650) 965-4090 for a no-cost, no-obligation appointment.