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Creating a Financial Readiness Kit

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Prepare for Disaster by Creating a Financial Readiness Kit

Good practice tells us to prepare for disasters, natural or otherwise, by having a plan: a plan to keep our family safe, our home secure and our supplies stocked. But we don’t talk enough about having a plan for our finances.

If the worst happened to you tomorrow – a tornado, fire, hurricane, terrorist attack, you name it – what would happen to your most important documents? Your bank information? Your cash?

Have these pieces of your personal and business financial life in order before an emergency strikes. Here are some steps you can take right now to help prepare.

Portable Kit
Put together a "grab and go" kit for use in a disaster. A small plastic file box with a handle usually works well. Among the financial records that should be placed in the kit are:

  • Checking and savings account numbers with bank/credit union names
  • A list of savings and investments
  • A credit card inventory (type of cards and account numbers)
  • A household or business property inventory (pictures and/or list)
  • Copies of insurance policies (name of company, contact information, type of policy and policy number)
  • Copies of wills and trust documents
  • Property titles (e.g., house and car)
  • Copies of certificates (birth, marriage, divorce, death, and adoption)
  • Children's records (e.g., immunizations)
  • Educational records
  • Passports
  • Emergency contacts
  • Copy of Social Security card

Safe Deposit
In addition to your grab-and-go kit, keep copies of these items in a safe deposit box in case something happens to your home. You can also store the originals in a fireproof safe at your home, but keep it in a place that won’t flood or be doused with water by firefighters.

Electronic Record Storage
Consider storing financial documents electronically so you don't have to carry around a lot of paper. One way to do this is to scan important original financial documents and save the files on a CD or USB flash drive, which you can put in the portable kit.

You can also turn to online banking to access important information if you don’t have access to your hard-copy files. Pinnacle’s online banking gives you a current snapshot of your financial position, including deposits, loans, credit cards and investments both at Pinnacle and at other financial institutions.

You can also set up online bill pay to automatically pay bills electronically. In addition, the contact information of all the billing companies are stored online so you can access their addresses and phone numbers. You can also receive eStatements so you don’t have to worry about bank statements being mailed to your home or business.

Brad Miller is a financial advisor at Pinnacle's Shady Grove office in Memphis. He can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at (901) 259-2136.

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