When you think of financial planning, you probably focus on your regular expenses, monthly budgeting, and hopefully your retirement plan. But what about when unexpected events, even catastrophes, strike? Many of us don’t have a plan in place for emergencies, or we find that our plans were woefully inadequate.
No one can prepare for every conceivable outcome, of course, but it is wise to at least have a basic plan in place for the more common life events that can happen to any of us. Here are five ways to better prepare yourself – and your finances – for the unexpected.
Check up on your insurance plans. When was the last time you reviewed your health, life, homeowners, and auto insurance plans? Many of us aren’t very familiar with the basic coverage limits and deductibles, or we’ve since forgotten. Review those plans annually so that you know what to expect. Consider, also, additional insurance policies for things like long-term nursing care, which can become a likely and significant expense as you head into retirement.
Keep financial documents and passwords in one place. If an emergency did occur, would you have to scramble to locate important financial documents and insurance plans? Take the time to organize your files now, and keep everything you need in an easily accessible (but safe) location. A fireproof safe is a good idea, but make sure at least one other person has a key or knows the combination.
Establish an emergency fund. Saving for retirement is always a priority, but what about easily accessible funds? Everyone needs a savings account with at least six months of expenses stashed away.
Consider other forms of planning. Aside from finances, upon whom can you rely for help in a bad situation? What if you needed to evacuate your home due to fire or flood? In a medical emergency, who would help with housework and meal preparation? If you don’t live close to family or friends, these are additional expenses to consider when making emergency financial plans.
Review your plans regularly. Along with insurance policies and retirement accounts, you should review your general financial situation, savings, and estate plan regularly. As you head into retirement and beyond, continue meeting with us. We can help you anticipate life’s little (and big) emergencies, consider how to handle them, and make room in your long-term financial plan to accommodate the unexpected.