Financial Lessons Learned This Hurricane Season


1. If your home or office was destroyed and your bills paid late, call your creditors before they call you. Check your credit report to ensure that late payments due to catastrophe are not reflected.

2. Avoid the temptation to run up huge credit card bills, assuming insurance will cover everything.

3. Stash some cash at home and at work in case ATMs and credit cards go out with the lights.

4. Make contributions to qualified charitable organizations rather than directly to individuals, so you get the tax deduction.

5. Review your own and your clients disaster preparedness. Update wills. Consider flood, buy-sell and business-continuation insurance. Review emergency procedures at home and work. Refresh the manuals, water and batteries you put together 10 years ago.

6. Back up your records and photos regularly and send them to your sister in Kansas.

7. Keep a prepaid phone card and a telephone with a land line at home and at work.

8. Plan an escape route. Keep a pair of comfortable shoes in the office and fill up your cars gas tank at the first hint of trouble.

9. Film your possessions to back up insurance claims.

10. Your Blackberry may be dead and your records destroyed, so keep a list of important numbers, contacts and documents and where they are located.

Source: Meloni Hallock, CPA/PFS, CEO of Acacia Wealth Advisors, LLC, Los Angeles.

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