Financial Preparedness: How To Build Your Finances BEFORE A Disaster

Financial Preparedness
Financial Preparedness: How To Build Your Finances BEFORE A Disaster

It’s Time To Get Your Financial Recovery Resources In Order

Your financial preparedness is about more than the amount you are paid through work, and knowing the fine print and details about your pay.

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To be sufficiently prepared, you must also build finances through other means before being laid off from work or loss of employment due to disaster.

Looking for a location for a FEMA/SBA Disaster Recovery Center in your area?

Financial counseling can help you make decisions about how to move forward with rebuilding your life after a disaster.

For Individuals And Families: Financial Counselors

Disaster Recovery Resource Center Locator – These counseling agencies have trained staff that can help you develop a budget for your emergency assistance funds, determine critical financial items that need to be addressed, manage your creditors and more.

These national and local non-profit counselors are available to help you and your family to gain control over your financial lives.

The financial counseling resources included below are not federal government resources.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury provides links to other web sites solely for your information.

The sites listed below are operated or controlled by third parties that are unaffiliated with the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury does not monitor the linked web sites and has no responsibility whatsoever for or control over the content, services, or products provided on the linked web sites.

The privacy policies and security at the linked web sites may differ from Treasury’s privacy and security policies and procedures.

You should consult privacy disclosures at the linked web sites for further information.

National Counselors Available By Phone

Insurance Assistance

Roadmap to Recovery Toolkit provides a handbook and inventory guide, inventory flash drive, and organizer designed to help people get a fair insurance claim settlement and manage the process following a disaster. 

Get Started!

Looking to get started on managing your finances after a disaster?

This blog from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau outlines five steps you can take to secure your home and finances.

Protecting And Rebuilding Your Finances After A Disaster

The Recovery after Disaster:  The Family Financial Toolkit Service provides comprehensive strategies and tools, including videos, important phone numbers, interactive budgets and more that can help you manage the recovery process.

The Emergency Financial First Aid Kit is a good way to take inventory of all of your financial information, including payments you need to make, bank account information, credit card and insurance policies.

It is available in both English and Spanish.

Each document can be saved and completed online, or printed and completed as a hard copy.

The Disaster Recovery Log available either through IOS App Store or Google Play, is an app for your smartphone that can help you record damage caused by flooding or other disasters.

Sources of Financial Help after a Disaster (one-page overview of help available in English)

Sources of Financial Help after a Disaster (one-page overview in 12 languages)

Disaster Assistance Process (one-page overview of assistance process in English)

Recursos de asistencia financiera después de un desastre (one-page overview of process in Spanish)

Have questions about your bank? 

FDIC Frequently Asked Questions about Hurricane Harvey

The FTC has information on how you can protect yourself from fraud after a disaster.

Avoid fraud after a disaster.

For Older People

The FDIC’s Money Smart for Older Adults financial education resource includes sections on avoiding fraud, scams that target homeowners and how to be financially prepared for disasters.

For Businesses And Farms

Are you looking for business recovery advice?

Click here for organizations that can help.

Disaster Assistance Programs – The Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers help for disaster losses under several programs.

The programs include affected business assets such as livestock, honey bees, farmed fish, crops, and grazing lands (U.S. Department of Agriculture).

Financial Resources

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) provides unemployment benefits for individuals who lost their jobs or self-employment or who are no longer working as a direct result of a major disaster for which a disaster assistance period is declared, and who applied but are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits.

Disaster Loans – Learn about loans the Small Business Administration (SBA) offers to businesses after a disaster.

You can use the loans to repair or replace business property and assets.

If you have questions, call the SBA Customer Service Center at 1800 659-2955 for help. (SBA)

Tax Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief for Individuals and Businesses – View special tax laws that may help businesses and farms with financial recovery after a disaster.

There are also links to tips, forms, and contacts. (Internal Revenue Service)

General Disaster Assistance Resources

Earn And Build Your Finances BEFORE A Disaster

The “earn principle” is about more than the amount you are paid through work.

This principle is about knowing the fine print and details about your paycheck, including deductions and with-holdings.

To put it another way:

In order to make the most of what you earn, it helps to understand your pay and benefits.

Actions You Can Take NOW!

  • Learn about the details of your paycheck, including any deductions
  • Review the taxes that are withheld, including Social Security and Medicare taxes
  • Explore and sign up for workplace benefits
  • Invest in your future – with education and training
  • Earn passive income online

Financial Preparedness Hints And Tips

Remember, your employer has to subtract certain taxes and other items from your wages every pay period.

Your take-home pay (net income) is what you receive after any taxes and deductions are subtracted.

Usually, your deductions and with-holdings include federal, state and city income taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes, your contributions for retirement savings, and payments for health insurance provided as part of your job.

Be sure you take advantage of all the credits and deductions that help lower your taxes.

It’s a good idea to sign up if your employer offers a retirement savings program.

If so, you can arrange to have retirement savings automatically moved from your paycheck to a retirement account.

Many employers will match part of every dollar you save this way, and you will benefit from it when you retire.