A Pinch Of Thoughts

A step-by-step guide to securing your finances in the event of an emergency

A well-prepared person is better equipped to deal with a crisis. Consider your financial situation first. Pay attention to your finances, including your income, savings, assets, net worth, and credit card debt. If you’re like the majority of individuals, your financial situation may use some attention. Some items to work on are as follows:

Set a spending limit and don’t stray from it. Seeing where your money goes can be a surprise, as most people are aware of how much they earn. If at all feasible, try to reduce your expenses. Look at the question, “Do I really need this?” Is there something else I could use instead of this one? Is this more important to me than having a secure financial future?

Every month, set aside some of your earnings for savings and investment. You can make it happen by putting it in your budget and reviewing your progress every year. It’s never too late to start, but your money has more time to grow if you start early. Also, keep in mind that recessions are just transitory. Be calm and don’t freak out. These are the finest periods to increase your investments. Don’t sell your investments at these periods if you have any spare cash.

Make a list of all of your key documents and keep it handy so you can quickly access it in case of an emergency. Consider putting your valuables in a safe deposit box, such as important papers, collectibles, and family heirlooms. Don’t keep important documents in a safe deposit box, such as a passport or the only copy of a living will, advanced medical directive, or durable power of attorney, because you won’t be able to access it at all times.

Your credit rating can be improved. When the economy is in a downturn, lenders prefer to lend to the strongest borrowers. If you have a good credit score, you will be able to get better terms and pricing.

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Assign someone to act as your financial power of attorney in the event you become physically or mentally incapable of managing your finances.

Auxiliary Funds

Three to six months’ worth of costs should be saved in an emergency fund, according to financial advisors. If you can, it’s a good idea to save as much as possible. Make sure you only utilize your emergency savings in times of genuine need, such as when you’re out of work, recovering from a natural disaster, or need to cover unexpected medical expenses.

Cash in a Flash

There is a good chance that if you do not have an emergency fund, you will need to raise money as quickly as possible. To that end, the following are a few possibilities:

Try to identify items that you can sell from your house and garage. Make use of a variety of online marketplaces — such as ThredUp or OfferUp — or have a yard sale to sell your stuff.

Take a loan out of your retirement fund. Short-term loans from your 401(k) may be possible, but you’ll need to make sure you pay them back on time. In order to borrow from your 401(k) plan, you must have at least 50% of your vested balance or $50,000. 3

Use resources that are already in your possession, such as those of friends or relatives. This is a hard one because it can put a strain on a relationship. Always be on the lookout for opportunities to deliver on your promises.

Make some additional money. If your current job still remains, you can work more hours, ask for a raise, or start a side business. Many job sites, such as FlexJobs, now promote positions with flexible hours, remote contracts, or part-time hours because of the growing popularity of working from home. Gigs for numerous skills can be found on sites like Upwork and Freelancer. TaskRabbit has a similar feature.

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Controlling Your Debt

If you’re not drowning in debt, dealing with an emergency is a lot less stressful. Good debt, like borrowing for schooling, a house, or a small business, has the potential to raise your net worth. Most credit card debt is bad debt since it is used to buy things that don’t appreciate in value or provide income, such as vehicles and clothing. Avoiding bad debt is a smart idea regardless of whether you’re facing an emergency or not. However, if an emergency arises and you are unable to pay your payments, you may be able to:

Consolidate your high-interest debt with a low-interest loan.

Ask a lender to forgive some of your debt as part of a debt settlement agreement.

Debt reduction solutions may be available through your lender.

Coverage by Insurance

In the event of an emergency, it is imperative that you have adequate insurance. Your insurance policies should be reviewed regularly to ensure that you have adequate coverage and that you can make any required adjustments. Consider whether you need disability insurance to compensate your lost wages in the event of your inability to work due to a disability.

Taking advantage of any available discounts, such as bundling your auto and home insurance, may help you save money on your monthly premiums. One way to avoid missing out on any discounts is to phone your insurance provider once a year (for example, when you receive your renewal notification in the mail).

Healthcare

An important part of your overall health care is making sure you have proper health insurance. Additionally, it is necessary to have a medical power of attorney (a legal instrument that grants one individual the authority to act on behalf of another) on hand in case of an emergency.

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It’s also crucial to note that anyone over the age of 18 must sign off on someone else receiving their medical information, even if that person is their own parent. If your adult kid becomes incapacitated, you’ll need a medical power of attorney to make decisions on their behalf. Make sure your children and other adults in your family have this paperwork in place, as well, in the event that something happens to you and you lose your ability to make decisions.

Get your affairs in order by drafting a will

Even if you’re not close to retirement age, you should have a will in place along with a medical (and financial) power of attorney. Creating a will is the legal process of formally expressing your preferences to the people you care about. Having a will protects your wishes in the event that you pass away without one. If your estate goes through probate, a court will manage your affairs, which will likely result in additional fees being charged.

Another type of legal document is a living will (and also important). Whether you want to be resuscitated or put on life support if you become incapacitated, your medical desires are laid down in this document.

When a Natural Disaster Occurs

Even if you’re prepared for an emergency, it can still be disruptive and challenging. However, it can be considerably more difficult if no preparations have been made in advance. Natural catastrophes, sickness, and economic downturns are all examples of emergencies that you should be prepared for. There are ways to minimize disturbance, reduce stress, and put yourself in a better position to weather the storm, so do your best!

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