According to recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration findings, The United States has endured 23 separate weather and climate disasters in 2023, each creating at least $1 billion in damage. That already breaks the record set of 22 in 2020. With natural calamities on the rise, more Americans should consider creating an emergency preparedness plan to ensure they are financially secure should such a disaster occur.
Here are a few tips on how to create an emergency preparedness financial plan:
- Start an emergency savings fund. Create a savings account to hold as much as you can afford each paycheck to get to a point where you can cover 3-6 months of living expenses. This can also include a small amount of cash at home in a safe place, should access to a bank be initially limited.
- Get adequate insurance. If you don’t already have homeowners (or renters), health and life insurance, get them now. You could be left without a home and stuck with huge medical bills without proper coverage. Depending on where you live, you should also consider specific coverages like earthquakes or hurricanes.
- Keep your important documents safe. Consider putting all critical financial documents (insurance policies, deeds, and wills) in a safety deposit box or a fireproof safe.
- Make a comprehensive contact list. Create a list of important people and organizations in the event of a disaster. These could include government organizations like the National Guard, Red Cross, and FEMA, your insurance company and bank, and friends and family members.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has created a disaster checklist
you can download to help you be prepared, including keeping track of financial account numbers and taking inventory of your belongings. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has a section of its website
devoted to everything you need to be financially prepared in the event of an emergency or disaster