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Banking & Finance

Sept. 8 - Have a Financial Plan in Place When Severe Weather Approaches

Category: Banking & Finance

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

September 8, 2017 - With Hurricane Irma looming in the Atlantic now is a good time to remind consumers they should have a financial plan for emergencies. Preparation is key to avoiding financial disruptions ahead of big storms and not when they are imminent. Bank of America offers the following tips to help consumers develop an emergency financial plan in case weather strikes a blow to usual routines:

  • Have cash on hand – In case there is a loss of power, your local bank or ATMs may not be able to dispense money, so it’s a good idea to have at least enough cash to pay for important expenses such as gas and food for a few days. If possible, keep the cash in low denominations since businesses may also not be able to make change.
  • Develop a “to-go” plan – Have a plan if you need to move quickly to a safer location or live in an evacuation zone. Protecting your financial records should be a part of this plan. Bring important documents and essentials with you such as a driver’s license, insurance papers, checks, ATM/Debit/credit cards, account information, utility bills (for proof of residence) and any prescriptions.
  • Protect financial and insurance documents, account information, computer – Losing important financial records and insurance policies, account logins and passwords would further complicate your recovery from a disaster. Therefore, safeguard copies of financial documents and insurance policies in a heavy-duty, waterproof container and, if possible, do the same for your computer.
  • Mobile banking – With or without severe weather, mobile banking is always a great tool to access account(s), receive updated information, pay bills, deposit checks and move funds from one account to another as needed. It might also make sense to set up automatic bill pay to avoid missing payments. Additionally, as Bank of America and most banks have mobile apps for smartphones, it’s recommended that you have the app downloaded and ready to use, which will help simplify the mobile banking experience.
    • Many banks provide up-to-the-minute information about closures and ATM availability through their mobile apps as well, so you can save time going to a location that is open.
  • Follow your bank on social media – If your bank’s phone service and online site are down, check its social media channels (e.g., Facebook and Twitter) for updates on branch openings and closings, ATM access and other relevant financial news.
  • Build an emergency fund – When faced with the aftermath of severe weather, having an emergency fund set aside can make all the difference in helping you get back on your feet. Whether its needing money for medical bills, house repairs or travel/relocation, you should consider setting up an emergency fund and making regular contributions to it so it can be utilized should an unexpected event occur.

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