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Finance

Personal finances can occupy the minds of people, even in good times. If you have some kind of emergency, sometimes your finances may not be the first thing on your mind but they can still be affected. However, there are things you can do to minimize the effects that an emergency may have on your personal finances.

Many of the ideas shown below are not new. They can help you learn more about how you can prepare for the security of your financial future by doing things now. They have been taught for generations. Sometimes it takes an emergency (or even the threat of one) in our lives to wake us up.

Consider the following ideas concerning Finances:

Accounts - It is a good idea to have a list of all of your accounts. Keep this in a safe place, such as a safe deposit box and keep a copy of it in your 72 Hour Kit.

If you were to have an emergency that took you out of your normal element (laptop, PDA, Email, Internet) would you know how to access all of your accounts? Quite often after an emergency, the institutions that own your accounts can be very understanding and cooperative in arranging to keep your accounts in good standing until you get back on your feet. However, to begin that process, you will need to know certain info about your accounts.

Banking - Depending on the emergency, the banks may or may not be open. With today's use of onliine banking and automated tellers, these systems could be in the same boat as you and your emergency. You will need to have some cash, paper and coins, available for use during an emergency. Even if your bank is open and you need to buy something like gettaway gasoline, if the gas station cannot accept your credit card or check, then you will need cash.

One solution would be to have some cash stashed somewhere on your property. If you do this, do it at night when nobody is watching. Don't do it like one elderly lady did. She had about one million dollars stored in her mattress. One day her daughter bought her a new bed and threw the old one away without telling her elderly mother. When the mother found out, she told her daughter what was stored in that mattress. Needless to say, there was a huge effort at the local landfill to find the old bed and the million bucks. Time will tell if they ever find it.

Computer Data - Many people today have a great deal of their personal fincancial information on a computer and/or online. This information needs to be properly protected in case of an emergency.

Make sure that you backup all of your computer's data onto a portable medium (CD or DVD) and then store it offsite (away from your home). If you have a close friend or family member, you could have an exchange arrangement with them. However, make sure that you do not have such an arrangement with someone who lives so close to you that they could be caught in the same emergency (e.g. the same wildfire or hurricane) as you.

If you own your own business, there are professional data stoage facilities that will take great care of your data. Use them.

In the recent past as we watched the Twin Towers tumble to the earth and we watched Hurricane Katrina ravage a populous city and rip it to shreds, besides all of the loss of life and injuries, one has to consider what happened to the personal and business records of all those victimized by those events. Nobody is imune.

Credit/Debit Cards - These are great when they work. If you have these, be sure to list their numbers in a safe place so you can cancel them if they get lost or stolen. If you just keep a copy of a statement, all of the info, including contact info should be available to you, should you need it. Check your statements to be sure.

Many people are managing their credit card accounts online. They sometimes have their passwords all set up in their computers and they never need to remember them. If you are ever out of your element (a different computer), you will need to know this info.

Identification - You should have a photo ID for each person in your family stored in your 72 Hour Emergency Kit. If anyone needs any kind of government assistance, there may be a need to prove who you are. This may include proving that you are the homeowner that was evacuated because of the fire or hurricane just so you can return to the area.

Birth Certificates, passports, citizenship papers and many other forms of ID need to be protected somewhere away from the emergency and there may be good reasons to have some of them in your 72 Hour Kit.

In the unlikely event of someone getting lost, proper ID can help authorities search for them.

Insurance  - Click here for many thoughts about the insurances that you may want to make a part of your life, now, instead of later.

Policies - You probably have numerous policies for insurances of all kinds, contracts and other legal, binding documents. Make sure you keep thse in a safe place.

Records - Certain records are required by law to be retained for a number of years. If you lost your house in an emergency, there is no reason to compound the problem and lose all your records too. With today's easy and inexpensive access to scanners, you can scan in all of your records and store them on a single CD or DVD in a bank vault. Each year update your archived Records with a new disk.

Some of the popular tax preperation programs will allow you to save your entire tax return in a PDF file. This makes it easy to back things up, offsite. Watch for this same option on other things that are important to your finances.

Savings - Not enough can be said about having a savings account. Get a savings account at your local bank. Put all extra money that you come across into that account. Do not pull money out of this account. In your budget, plan to put some amount of money into savings each pay period, even if it is just a very small amount. Besides the value of the money that enters the savings account and the interest it may earn, there may be more value in establishing a habit of always saving something from everything you earn.

Trillion - Recently the US Government has started talking in "Trillions" of dollars. They seem to mention that one program may cost a Trillion dollars and other One or Two Trillion dollars. This number is new to most people and they cannot really comprehend it. Click here to learn how big a Trillion really is.

Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center, Inc.

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