7 September 2017

Disasters and Financial Planning: A Guide for Preparedness and Recovery

  • Disasters and Financial Planning: A Guide for Preparedness and Recovery Disasters and Financial Planning: A Guide for Preparedness and Recovery

*A step-by-step on how to prepare and recover from a natural disaster put together by AICPA and Red Cross.

INTRODUCTION

Disasters often strike quickly and without warning. Whether it is a weather emergency, natural disaster or personal crisis due to illness, unemployment or disability, most families will experience some form of disaster that leaves them with little or no time to think before making important decisions.

"Mitigation" — taking measures to avoid or prepare for a disaster in advance — reduces the likelihood of injury, loss of life and property damage far more than anything you can do in the aftermath of a disaster. This guide was created because financial mitigation is an essential part of disaster planning and recovery.

Disaster preparedness begins with a well-crafted personal financial plan based on your family's values and goals. Ideally, you should develop a financial strategy with the help of professionals such as your family attorney and a financial specialist. These professionals can help you make informed, thoughtful decisions about your family's present and future financial activities.

Tips for Finding the Right Financial Help

1. Search professional organizations.

  • American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) — Visit aicpa.org and click or tap on "For the Public," then click or tap on "Find a CPA." Visit findacpapfs.org to search for CPA Personal Financial Specialists by city or ZIP code.
  • Financial Planning Association — Call 800.322.4237 or visit fpanet.org.
  • The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors — Call 847.483.5400 or visit napfa.org.
  • Society of Financial Service Professionals — Call 610.526.2500 or visit financialpro.org.
  • Ask for recommendations. Reach out to your friends or other professional advisers, such as your lawyer, for recommendations.

2. Ask for recommendations. Reach out to your friends or other professional advisers, such as your lawyer, for recommendations.

3. Interview several advisers before making a selection. Ask about experience, services, costs, references and credentials such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Personal Financial Specialist (PFS™) or Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) certifications.

4. Trust your gut. It is highly important that you trust the person helping you to create your family's financial plan. Trust your gut and do not agree to work with someone just because they are pressuring you.

If you do not have the money to pay for financial services, be aware that there are many government and community programs available at little or no cost. Start by contacting your city, county or state to ask about services. You also can get a head start on your overall financial strategy with these free online resources:

  • Download the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Operation Hope.
  • smartaboutmoney.org (Click or tap on "10 Basic Steps")
  • 360financialliteracy.org (Click or tap on tools, then click or tap on Calculators)

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Disasters and Financial Planning: A Guide to Preparedness and Recovery

A step-by-step on how to prepare and recover from a natural disaster put together by AICPA and Red Cross. View Document - 1 MB

Jessica Blankenship

Public Relations Manager
jessica.blankenship@hftp.org