This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Protecting Your Finances From Emergencies

Even beyond the swath of destruction left by Hurricane Sandy, the storm was a reminder of how the unexpected can completely wipe away homes and possessions. Managing finances is one of the key challenges people face in the aftermath of such a disaster.

Handling the financial aspects of an emergency starts with preparation, and continues with a few common sense steps to be taken as soon as possible after the crisis.

Emergency financial preparations

Here are some steps to take before a disaster strikes:
  1. Prepare an emergency fund. Have a savings or money market account set up to cover the potential for unexpected expenses and/or loss of income during an emergency. A good savings target to shoot for is six month's worth of your ordinary expenses.
  2. Set up automatic payments where possible. One benefit of automatic bill payments is that they can help keep you up-to-date on your financial obligations even when your normal routine has been completely disrupted.
  3. Make copies of key records. A fireproof safe is a good place to keep photocopies of your credit cards, driver's license and automobile titles, as well as records of savings accounts, checking accounts and other deposits or investments you own. If you can keep an extra set of records off site, it can be a good idea as long as the location is secure -- remember, this is highly sensitive information you don't want falling into the wrong hands. Cloud computing raises other storage possibilities, as long as you can work through the security concerns.
  4. Keep insurance contact information numbers on your person. People often keep car insurance information handy, but you should make sure you have access to home insurance information if your house becomes inaccessible. Also, it's good to have contact info for both your local agent and a national claims number. After all, in the event of a natural disaster, your local agent's office may be in as much of a mess as your home.

When a disaster strikes

Once a disaster occurs, here are some steps to take:
  1. Contact your insurance company promptly. Claims take time to process, so you want to get the clock started as soon as possible.
  2. Get your mail forwarded. You need to make sure you have a means of receiving important financial information that may be coming in the mail.
  3. Manage your payments. Some of those automatic payments may not be relevant if you are deprived of your home for a while. Conserve your resources by changing your instructions at the bank to make only the payments you are still obligated to make.
  4. Contact your creditors if necessary. If you are unable to pay some bills, contact those creditors immediately with an explanation of the situation. This can earn you more latitude than simply defaulting on your obligations.

After things settle down a little, you need to go back to the start of the list -- that is, starting to save for another emergency. Even in the wake of a disaster, you never know what will happen next.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG

Markets

Chart of I:DJI
DOW 16,528.03 -114.98 -0.69%
S&P 500 1,972.18 -16.69 -0.84%
NASDAQ 4,776.5080 -51.8170 -1.07%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs