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How to Be Financially Prepared for a Disaster

If a disaster struck your neighborhood, you would only have seconds or minutes to react. Is that enough time to find your homeowners insurance policy, bank account information, or backup your financial software? Probably not.

Financial responsibilities don’t stop when disasters hit. Even if your house is destroyed, you still must pay your mortgage. And, failing to pay bills or loan payments could wreck your credit just when you need it most.

Some of your neighbors, relatives and friends are prepared. Thousands of Americans just like you have made financial disaster plans and have included their important documents in their home disaster supply kits.

Being financially ready for a disaster is easy. Here are four steps you can take to get started today:

  1. Visit Ready.gov to access tools and resources that will help you prepare financially for emergencies.
  2. Join the National Preparedness Coalition to access a national network of community partners seeking to strengthen disaster preparedness efforts.
  3. Download the Consumer Action Handbook, a comprehensive tool that provides guidance on how to recover after a disaster and information on other important financial aspects of your life.
  4. Visit MyMoney.gov for tools and tips on ways to speak with youth on the importance of getting an early start on financial literacy.

When you’re financially ready for a disaster you’ll be able to get back on your feet faster.

Prepare for a Strong Financial Future During Financial Capability Month

financial capability month banner

It’s never too early to start planning for your financial future, and National Financial Capability Month is the perfect time to begin. Whether you’re saving for college, learning how to be a smarter consumer or planning for retirement further down the road, we’ll help you unravel common money mysteries this month so you can ensure a strong financial future for yourself and your family.

The green banner at the top of this post will appear on all blog posts related to financial topics throughout the month of April. Keep an eye out for the banner and you’ll know you’ll find sound advice on how to make your money work for you.

To kick off the month, here’s a few financial tips to get you started:

Choose the Right Savings Account

Understanding the difference between different kinds of savings accounts can be overwhelming. Your goal is to find a safe place to put your money, but with all the options, how do you know which account is right for you?

Before making your decision, consider the following:

  • Minimum deposit amount: Does the account require you to keep a certain amount of money in the account at all times?
  • Limit on withdrawals: How often can you take out money?
  • Interest: How much will your money earn just for being in the account?
  • Deposit Insurance: Is your money insured in case something happens?
  • Convenience: How easy it is to for you to deposit or withdraw money?

Be Prepared for an Emergency

Being financially prepared doesn’t just mean you understand your budget and have a healthy emergency fund. While having savings to fall back on will make it easier to recover after a disaster, a lack of quick access to cash and not being able to locate vital records, ATM cards or proof of identification can make it harder to get back on your feet quickly.

FEMA recommends you put together a financial emergency preparedness kit. Take inventory of valuables in your home for your insurance. Take photos of the items as well as the inside and outside of your house.

Store these photos, along with a small amount of cash and copies of important documents (like your insurance policies) in a safe place at home as part of your emergency disaster kit. In the event of an emergency, you’ll be able to use your kit to help file insurance claims.

Teach Your Kids Good Money Habits

Smart saving and spending habits start early in life. You can help your kids understand money basics with fun and educational comic strips from Kids.gov. The comics teach the importance of saving and help kids find creative ways to be frugal.

Order Free Financial Materials

If you want more free and trusted financial advice, order a packet of free financial materials and you’ll get tips on retirement benefits, smart saving for college, avoiding financial setbacks and more. You’ll also receive a copy of the Consumer Action Handbook, full of advice on how to avoid scams and fraud to protect your money and financial future.

Make sure to check back throughout the month to get even more financial advice.