September is National Preparedness Month, and with the uncertainty, worry, and in some cases need for recovery that accompanied Hurricane Lane still fresh in our minds, there’s no greater spotlight than now on having an emergency preparedness plan.
But it’s more than just stocking up on rice, bottled water, and toilet paper.
Jon Hanai, Marketing Content Publisher at HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union, shares tips on keeping your finances just as well prepared.
Tip 1: Create an emergency fund with enough to afford at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses
Start an emergency fund and keep growing it; you’ll want to build up at least three to six months’ of living expenses for you and your family.
Whatever type of deposit account you decide to make use of—checking or savings—be sure to continually add to it so if something were to happen, you won’t be stranded without a way to make important payments or have the ability to purchase necessities.
Consider setting up automatic payments with each paycheck to go towards your emergency fund. By having it done automatically, not only do you remove the risk of forgetting, but also keeps you from accidentally overspending.
And of course, never dip into your fund unnecessarily.
It can be too easy to convince yourself at times that you’re just going to borrow against your emergency fund temporarily and replenish it right away.
Things often seem to find a way, however, to happen and cause our best laid plans to not go the way we intend. And the last thing you want or can afford is to be caught unprepared.
Tip 2: Protect important documents and records, use safes or lock-boxes and/or secure digital methods
– Personal identifying items:
o Social security card
o Birth certificate
– Financial institution account information
o Financial institution name and contact information
o Account number
o Routing number
– Insurance policies
– Tax records
– Medication list
– Proof of employment and residence
Investing in a secure, fire and disaster-proof lock-box is a great way to confidently know your important paperwork will be kept safe and be accessible to you during any recovery measures.
You may also want to strongly consider creating backups of those records digitally and saving them on to a storage device and/or a secure cloud network.
Another option would be to rent a safe-deposit box at your credit union or bank, if available.
Tip 3: Remember you’re not alone
Trying to shoulder everything by yourself can be too heavy a burden for anyone.
HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union is able to help you make any necessary financial plans to ensure your preparedness.
They’re also here to help you with on your road to recovery after the effects of any emergency.
Although there may be things that can’t be replaced, they may be able to help you get things back to normal and the way they’re supposed to be.
There are also other agencies and organizations, like FEMA and the American Red Cross, that can also provide valuable resources and support.
To learn more about HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union, visit hawaiiusafcu.com