Staying Financially Prepared

by Ryan Yates on July 9, 2012

Scars of the Colorado Fire

Environmental disasters like the fires in Colorado, as horrible as they are for those affected, can serve as a warning to us to stay prepared.

Have you ever thought about how to recover from such a devastating event?

Backing Up Important Information

External hard drives are versatile, useful, and provide an easy and inexpensive way to boost your computer’s storage capacity. The only problem is that they’re usually sitting right next to your computer.

If you’re internal hard drive crashes, then the external drive can serve as your backup. Great . . . unless your home is hit with some sort of flood, fire, storm, or theft.

In those cases, the potential for your backup drive to be damaged or lost forever are very high.

Although I love the external hard drive, you should also consider off-site storage. Companies like Carbonite.com offer off-site server backup for every file and folder in your computer.

And the price isn’t too bad either. For most, the monthly cost of off-site computer backup adds up to the cost of an external hard drive. So the cost is basically a wash.

Whatever method you choose, preparing to backup your important information will save you time and money over trying to fix the problem after the mess.

A True Emergency Fund

In the personal finance realm, we always think of “emergency fund” as a sum of money to help us get by when we’re in a pinch. It might help us through a lost job, or a medical expense, or a car repair.

But emergency funds could also help you stay afloat when an environmental disaster hits.

When you realize that an emergency fund could help your family make it through flood damage, or a rebuilding project, or being displaced from your home, they really do take on a whole new level of importance.

Cinch Up Your Budget

Aside from an emergency fund, it’s probably a good idea to think about an “emergency budget” . . . something to put into effect when a disaster occurs.

When you’re faced with an environmental disaster, it’s important to keep things in perspective and not go overboard by overusing your credit cards. The last thing you want is to get through a disaster and have a mountain of debt staring you in the face.

Instead of spending like normal, have a family meeting and make sure everyone realizes that things will be a little different while you get through this tough time.

Keep In Mind

Here are a few other items to remember:

Keep your insurance payments up to date, and review your policy a few times a year to stay familiar with your coverage.

Save receipts from your essential purchases during a disaster. Sometimes, depending on your insurance coverage, you may be reimbursed for those purchases.

If you can, avoid drawing money from retirement, savings, college, or investment accounts. You’ll basically pay double when you’re hit with the fees.

If you’re carrying a balance on your credit card when disaster hits, call your credit card company and ask for your payments to be deferred for a few months.

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