Guide Helps Disaster Victims Prepare, Mitigate Costs

The American Institute of CPAs, American Red Cross, and the National Endowment for Financial Education produced the new guide, "Disasters and Financial Planning: A Guide for Preparedness and Recovery."

The American Institute of CPAs, American Red Cross, and the National Endowment for Financial Education have produced a new guide, "Disasters and Financial Planning: A Guide for Preparedness and Recovery," to help disaster victims mitigate the financial consequences of disasters. ARC Noted that more than 45 major disasters hit the United States last year, with two-thirds of those major disasters happening from May to December.

"The best way to reduce the financial impact of a disaster is to plan ahead," said Ernie Almonte, CPA, chairman of AICPA's National CPR Financial Literacy Commission. "This new guide provides actionable tips and checklists to help Americans take steps to minimize the financial impact upon themselves and their family in the event disaster strikes."

The guide has six sections and addresses topics such as making a disaster plan and protecting your property, income, and records. Each chapter includes checklists to help individuals and families take proactive steps to prepare for possible disasters and recover should a disaster strike. "In addition to emotional shock and physical damage, your financial life can be severely affected by a disaster. It is important to plan not only for potential financial dangers in the midst of an event—such as the need to quickly access critical financial documents and emergency cash in the event that ATMs and banks are inaccessible—but to mitigate the potential longer-term effects of unforeseen expenses through proper insurance and property protections," said Ted Beck, president and CEO of the National Endowment for Financial Education.

"Financial planning is beneficial for events from power outages to hurricanes," added Richard Reed, senior vice president, Disaster Cycle Services for the American Red Cross. "Some households may not have the financial resources to have much of an emergency fund, but having a three-day supply of cash to help cover expenses if you and your household members have to evacuate is a good place to start."

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