Are you Financially Prepared for the Unexpected?

Natural Disasters cause 52 billion in insured losses annually. From natural disasters like pandemics and floods to public health and ecological crises, there are SO many circumstances for which you should be financially prepared. The key to being financially prepared is to take stock of your income streams, budget and prepare those funds. 

Financial emergencies will happen to everyone, it is not a matter of if, but when they will occur in your home. Being prepared for these emergencies will help make it less difficult to bounce back from these emergencies, save your credit, and put your mind at ease. 

Today, we will cover what to do with your finances before, during and after a disaster to ensure you’re protected for when these emergencies hit you and your loved ones. 

How to Prepare Before a Disaster Strikes Financially

Multiple recent studies have shown that Americans are woefully underprepared for disasters and the sudden expenses that often come with them:

– Approximately 40 percent of Americans have no plan for handling an emergency.

– Only 16 percent of Americans have an emergency preparedness kit.

– About 55 percent of Americans worry about an unplanned financial emergency.

– Four in 10 Americans would be unable to cover an unexpected $400 expense.

– Six in 10 Americans would be unable to cover an unexpected $1,000 expense.

To ensure you and your loved ones don’t fall into the statistics listed above, there are a few important steps you’ll need to follow to protect your family financially. 

Set Up Direct Deposit

If a disaster does strike, you may not be able to leave your home or travel very far. If you’re in the workforce, contact your employer to set up direct deposit. This will ensure you get paid even if you’re unable to make it to the bank. It also reduces your risk of check fraud or lost checks and gives you immediate access to your money, which may be important during a disaster when many are under financial strain.

Build Up an Emergency Savings Fund

Furloughs and layoffs are common during disasters as companies look for ways to cut costs and stay afloat. It’s important to have a cushion that can supplement your income — or replace it, in the worst-case scenario.

If possible, aim to save six months of income so you can continue to cover essential costs while you search for a new job. If you can only set aside three months of income, that’s still a great start. Even if you never find yourself in a disaster situation, having a solid emergency fund can help cover other unexpected costs like car repairs.

In retirement, an emergency savings fund is important so that you don’t have to dip into your 401(k), IRA, or other income source to cover costs. How much you’ll need depends on how much you spend each month on housing, food, utilities, transportation, health care, and other expenses. Retirees should aim to save enough money to cover eight to 12 months of expenses.

The most important thing to consider is that emergency funds should be easily accessible. Consider a high-yield savings account for better interest rates and easy transferability to your checking account.

Consider Appropriate Insurance Coverage

The purpose of insurance is to cover you in case anything bad happens. It’s an important part of financial emergency preparedness and you’ll be glad you invested in it if a disaster ever strikes. If you’re a homeowner, you likely already have an insurance policy.

It may be tempting to cut corners on insurance now in order to save money, but investing in the right coverage will save you much more if you ever need to file a claim.

Document Valuables

Create a thorough home inventory that includes everything in your home, from furniture to kitchen appliances to clothing. Even if you don’t have any big-ticket items, the cumulative value of your belongings can add up quickly.

Home insurance is designed to protect not only your physical home structure but also all of the belongings inside. If you ever need to file a claim, having documentation of your belongings — including photos, descriptions, and estimated value — will make the process go more smoothly.

Compile Physical Copies of Important Documents

We live in a digital age, and it’s all too easy to store your important financial documents online. Back up tax returns, insurance information, receipts, and more via a cloud storage system so you can access them from any device — but make sure you have physical copies, too.

In the event of a natural disaster that causes you to lose power or internet access, you’ll need paper versions of your documents kept safe in a fire-proof, water-proof container.

Locate and print out the following, if applicable:

  • Insurance policies and professional appraisals
  • Deeds and ownership forms
  • Passports, identification cards, birth certificates, and adoption papers
  • Social Security cards
  • Medical information, including immunization records
  • Marriage certificate, prenuptial agreements, child support and alimony documents
  • Power of attorney papers
  • Living will and last will and testament

If you do end up finding yourself in a disaster or emergency situation, you’ll be thankful you put in the work to form a plan. Unprecedented events often pile on extra stress, but if you’re financially prepared, you’ll have one less thing to worry about. That way, you can focus on keeping yourself and your loved ones safe.

By Kim Borwick

Financially Reviewed By Janet Berry-Johnson, CPA

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Are You Prepared For The Next Hurricane or Tropical Storm?

Hurricanes and tropical storms can have devastating effects on a community. Especially as storms continue to increase in intensity over the years, it is more important than ever to make sure you, your family, and your property are as prepared as possible. Hurricane season typically lasts from May or June to November 30th each year. So far in 2022, there have been a low number of storms and hurricanes, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is still expecting an above-average Atlantic hurricane season. 

Obviously, not all parts of the country are affected by hurricanes and tropical storms, but hurricanes don’t just affect coastal communities. They can cause damage hundreds of miles from the shoreline, so it is important to know if you live in or near a hurricane evacuation zone even if you aren’t right on the water.

  • Make sure to visit this link to determine if you are in a hurricane evacuation zone
  • Review and update your insurance policies appropriately

If you are in a hurricane evacuation area, it is important to develop an evacuation plan ahead of time so you know how to safely and quickly get to a safer location if needed.

  • Plan where you will go and several routes to get there
  • Locate nearest public shelter 
  • Have a bag of supplies ready for you and your family members 
  • Make a plan for your pets

Even if you plan to evacuate, it is still important to have supplies just in case you need to shelter-in-place or get through the aftermath of a storm when supplies and transportation could be limited.

  • Make sure to have enough non-perishable food and water for each family member for a minimum of 3 days
  • Have supply of prescription and common over the counter medications

Make sure to get your Jase Case and be prepared for emergency use situations if you cannot get to the doctor.

  • Battery, solar or crank powered radio, flashlight, and phone chargers with extra batteries
  • Working fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Important documents like wills, medical information, insurance documents, identification, etc.

If you own a car, make sure it is prepped and ready incase you need to leave quickly. If you do not have a car, make sure to make arrangements with someone who does.

  • Make sure to have a full tank of gas
  • Move all vehicles inside a garage or shelter
  • Visit for information on how to prep your car and what supplies to keep in your car

Prepping your home is also an important step to take before a storm hits.

  • Make sure to check local hurricane building codes to make sure you have
  • Cover windows and doors with proper material
  • Your garage door is the most vulnerable part of your house, so make sure it can withstand high winds
  • Trim trees
  • Secure outdoor items that cannot be moved inside or under a shelter

Take time to write down your evacuation plan. Know who issues evacuation orders in your area and other information that will be important in the event of  a storm or evacuation. It is important to make sure all preparations are made ahead of time and not when a hurricane is approaching.

Depending on where you live, make sure to check on your neighbors as well. Especially if they are elderly or have special needs.

If you have loved ones in a hurricane area, please visit this link to find out how you can help in the event of a hurricane.

Visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration site for further information.


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Are You Prepared for Burglary and Theft?

Being prepared covers many topics, from physical preparedness, such as food, water, and shelter to natural disasters to the recent uptick of crime as our world’s stability is threatened. Our “new normal” is a world many of us are being forced to face..

Post pandemic statistics reveal that crime is on the rise. According to the July 2022 report from Council on Criminal Justice crime post pandemic has been on the rise. They surveyed 29 major cities for 10 violent, property, and drug offenses in across the US and reported their findings:

  • Over the past two years, homicides and gun assaults trended upward while most property crimes receded. In the first half of 2022, crime patterns partially reversed: in particular, homicides and gun assaults declined while property crimes rose.
  • The number of homicides declined by 2% in the first half of 2022 compared to the first half of 2021 (a decrease of 54 homicides). While this reduction is heartening, the homicide rate is still 39% higher than it was during the first half of 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The number of gun assaults dropped by 6% in the first half of 2022, but this trend is based on data from just 12 cities and should be viewed with caution.
  • Aggravated assaults (+4%) and robberies (+19%) increased in the first half of 2022 compared to the first half of 2021.
  • Domestic violence incidents decreased by 5% between the first half of 2021 and the first half of 2022. This result is based on just 12 cities studied and should be viewed with caution.
  • Residential burglaries (+6%), nonresidential burglaries (+8%), larcenies (+20%), and motor vehicle thefts (+15%) all increased in the first half of 2022 compared to the first six months of 2021.
  • Drug offenses dropped by 7% in the first half of 2022 over the first half of 2021.

As we delve deeper into the cause of this phenomena, we discover there are widely different views as to why this is happening. The objective to preparedness, however, is to be aware of these statistics so you don’t become one.

Aggravated assaults, robberies, residential burglaries, larcenies, and vehicle thefts are some of the most likely crimes the general populace will encounter.

Below are some excellent tips taken from the Sacramento Police Department. Courses on personal self defense are becoming more and more important in our rapidly changing world. Take the time to look up your local self defense courses and have all able-bodied members of your family or group take the course.

The city of Sacramento police department has an excellent webpage devoted on personal safety:

Safety and crime prevention Tips

Three factors must be present for a crime to occur: desire, ability and opportunity. You can have a significant impact on the last one – opportunity – and reduce crime by following these simple crime prevention tips.

At Home

  • Use a door viewer before opening your door. Always demand identification from strangers (even repair or sales persons).
  • Always lock up your home before leaving and don’t hide your house keys outdoors anywhere.
  • Have keys ready and in your hand for immediate use when you return home.
  • Use interior and exterior lighting at all times.
  • Always use Safe Internet Shopping practices.
  • Shred credit card offers and bank statements before you throw them away if you do not plan on using them.
  • Hide or destroy boxes from expensive purchases.
  • Do not answer personal questions about your home such as type of alarm, daytime occupancy, etc.
  • Do not let people inside your home (to use the bathroom, phone, etc.).
  • Avoid mail theft by obtaining a locked mailbox and dropping off outgoing mail at the local post office.
  • Do not give out your personal information or credit card number over the phone unless you initiated the call.
  • Check out the Home Burglary Prevention Tips.
  • Safeguard your home and yourself while you are away with Vacation Safety.

Metal Theft

(There are videos available for the prevention of catalytic converter theft and others on the website)

  • Learn how to prevent Catalytic Converter Theft.
  • Protect your home against Air Conditioner Theft.
  • Learn how to prevent Tailgate Theft.

Personal Safety

  • Rape is a violent crime, an invasion, a frightening experience. By being aware of some Rape Prevention Tips, a person can reduce the likelihood of becoming a rape victim.
  • Teen Dating Violence: Statistics show that one in three teenagers has experienced violence in a dating relationship.

Personal Safety Videos

The Sacramento Police Department has created several powerful public service announcement videos to educate and keep the public safe. They, as well as a variety of safety videos, can be found on our YouTube channel at
Public service announcements video links:


  • Plan your route ahead of time. Never walk alone at night; walk with a friend or your dog.
  • Use well-lit streets, not dark alleys or bushy areas.
  • Carry signaling devices like shriek alarms or a whistle.
  • Carry defensive devices such as pepper spray.
  • Be alert to what’s all around you! Look behind you occasionally.
  • Never ask for or accept a ride from a stranger.
  • Don’t carry large sums of money or wear valuable jewelry.
  • Don’t resist an armed robber. Hand over whatever is demanded quickly and quietly.
  • Remember, your life and safety is worth more than any personal property.

Purse/Wallet Protection

  • If possible, don’t carry a purse. Never carry anything you can’t afford to lose in it.
  • Carry your purse across the front of your body, with your forearm across the front of the purse and your elbow held tightly against your side.
  • Carry your keys, wallet or other valuables in pockets in your clothes and not in your hand.
  • Carry minimum amounts of cash and credit cards. Keep a record of all of your card numbers.
  • Check out how to prevent Identity Theft and what to do if you are a victim of it.
  • Be sure to also look at tips on ATM Awareness.


  • Always look inside your vehicle before getting in.
  • Lock all doors immediately after you are in the vehicle.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers.
  • If a stranger approaches while you are in a vehicle, keep the windows up, doors locked and engine running.
  • Honk your horn if you need to attract attention.
  • Park in well-lit areas at night.
  • Always lock your car when leaving it.
  • Consider installing an auto burglar alarm system.
  • Don’t leave anything valuable in your car if possible.

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Are You Prepared for Recalls and Outbreaks in Your Food Preps?

2022 is shaping up to be, at the very least, a challenging year. We are promised food shortages heading into winter, along escalating energy prices, supply chain disruptions causing shortages in our food, gas, construction and plumbing supplies, aluminum shortages and medical supplies and drugs.

Today our focus is on food. Food recalls, outbreaks and food preps. As it stands the US has issued a record number of food recalls and outbreaks. Weather has played havoc on fruit and vegetable crops. Potatoes are now in short supply. Other shortages, such as tomatoes, peaches, wheat, popcorn and even pet food (don’t forget to stock up for your pets) are all adding to the already strained food insecurity we are facing.

What is the difference between a food recall and food outbreak?

Foodborne outbreaks occur when two or more people from different households get sick by eating the same contaminated food or beverage. A food recall is the removal of contaminated products from the market because of a health risk.

Recent foodborne outbreaks include: (From FDA website)

  • Ice cream
  • Strawberries
  • Peanut butter
  • Oysters
  • Packaged lettuce and spinach
  • And many more.

Recent recalls included


  • If you have been following the advice of our government and storing food, you may be wondering what to do if there is a recall on any of the stored food. To begin with, make sure that the item was really recalled. Check batch and lot numbers and any information provided against your stored food. (Use links above for reference)
  • Second, have on hand single ingredient foods, foods that need to be combined to make a meal. There is less chance of a single ingredient being contaminated compared to multi-ingredient, prepackaged meals.
  • Learn to cook. There are many excellent you tube videos on food storage, how to cook wholesome foods with your preps. One of my favorite is Marys Nest. She has a series called her 4 corners pantry, where she details exactly everything she stores in each part of her kitchen and why.
  • Cooking takes time, preparation, and commitment. Make mealtime prep a fun time, a bonding and learning time. Teach your younger family members how to use a measuring cup, how to mix ingredients, explore different foods.
  • Be flexible. Ingredients in the future may not be available. Download and post this free ingredient substitutions chart for future reference. You will be amazed at substitutions that you can make that don’t compromise quality. Eggs, baking powder, different sweeteners, flours, are just a few ingredients that can be substituted without anyone knowing the difference.
  • Have a plan if the power goes out. Do you have a way to keep your food cold? Keep freezer doors closed, open refrigerator unless necessary. Purchase a thermometer for both the refrigerator and freezer. Most freezers can keep food cold for 24 hours. Check with your model for further guidance. As far as refrigerated food goes, cook, and eat all food that is perishable. Check and make sure your condiments are cool also.
  • Remember to have at least 1 month’s food set aside for each of your pets. Also take into account the water they use.

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Are you Prepared for Extreme Weather?


Record breaking temperatures are sweeping across the Western states.

The above stories are just a small sampling of the massive, unrelenting heat wave is scouring much of the West. The Arizona story is a very sad one, and most likely could have been prevented if the hikers had been prepared.

Extreme heat and preparedness

Finding yourself in the midst of a heat wave that seems to have no end can turn into a deadly situation if you are not prepared. Depending on the scenario, a heatwave can mean different preparedness strategies. Some basic preparations for any heatwave are:

  • Along with knowing the signs of dehydration learn the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Unless necessary don’t go out in the direct sun during the middle of the day. Keep travel to a minimum.

The American Red Cross has great information on how to identify and treat heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Be sure to review and download this information.

  • Have plenty of bottled water stored. If the electrical grid goes the water systems go within a few days.
  • If in the city find your nearest cooling shelter. Have a plan to go to it if your home becomes too hot to stay in
  • Check in on shut ins, elderly, people living alone and disabled in the community. Make sure they are prepared for the heat, or help them get to a cooling facility
  • Know the signs of dehydration. Keep oral rehydration powder that can be mixed with water in stock. Populations that are prone to dehydration are small children, elderly, disabled and those taking diuretic and certain other medications. Check with the pharmacist about the medications you or your family are on and if excessive heat could put you or your loved one at risk for dehydration or heat exhaustion.
  • Keep water with you when traveling. If your car breaks down or public transit is delayed it could be hours before you are able to reach your destination. Also, if hiking or engaging in outdoor activities check the weather forecast, keep a map of the area you are traveling and plan your activities for earlier or later in the day, avoiding the heat of the day for exercise.
  • For heatwaves that are expected to last for several days to weeks be sure you have at least a month’s supply of medications, food, and water on hand.
  • An ongoing episode of extreme heat can bring down the power grid, if anyone in your family uses a cpap, sleeping device or oxygen, (or any other medical device that is electric dependent) be sure to have a back up battery or generator for them.
  • Know when to use an indoor fan and when not to. If the indoor temperature is below 95 degrees use a fan. If it is above 95 degrees don’t use a fan. Fan use may cause your body to gain heat instead of losing it. On very hot, humid days, sweat evaporates off the skin slower than normal, and fans make it even more difficult for the body to lose heat by sweating.
  • When using an indoor fan, it is better to exhaust air to the outside instead of blowing directly on you.

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