September is National Preparedness Month. In response, the American Red Cross and the American Institute of CPA's (AICPA) released a new guide: Disasters and Financial Planning: A Guide for Preparedness and Recovery to assist people in taking proactive steps to minimize the potential impact of disasters on their lives and financial well-being. Disasters not only take an emotional toll, they take a financial toll as well, which is why it is important to plan not only for financial dangers in the midst of an event- such as the need to quickly access critical financial documents and emergency cash in the event ATMs and banks are inaccessible- but to mitigate the potential longer-term effects of unforeseen expenses through proper insurance and property protections. 

The new guide provides actionable tips, checklists, and highlights the importance of:

  • Keeping a cash reserve on hand to cover your family's expenses for at least three days, in the event you are unable to gain access to local banks and ATMs or power is out during a disaster;
  • Protecting your family's property and belongings with adequate insurance, so you have minimal out of pocket expenses;
  • Having a solid strategy in place in the event of financial hardship; and
  • Establishing an emergency fund readily available for disaster-related needs. 
Start preparing now by downloading disaster- specific emergency and preparedness apps for your smartphone at redcross.org/prepare/mobile-apps on topics such as First Aid, Pet First Aid, Hurricane, and Flood. Include your little ones in your preparedness plans with Monster Guard- the first mobile app created by the American Red Cross and sponsored by Disney. Specifically designed for kids (aged 7-11) about how to prepare for the real-life emergencies-at home plus other environments- in a fun and engaging game. Social science research shows children who have learned about emergency preparedness are more confident and experience less anxiety during an actual emergency or disaster. The best way to reduce the financial impact of a disaster is for you and your loved ones to plan ahead and be prepared!