Thursday, May 5, 2011

After the Storm...

It’s been a crazy few weeks. Tornados came thru the south last week and destroyed homes and communities and took over 300 lives. I feel so blessed to have been left unharmed and with no property damage. Many I know weren’t so fortunate. I work across state lines and Huntsville, AL was out of power for days, which left me with an unexpected vacation. Now, it’s back to work, and back to the consequences of all this disaster. I want to share some of the practical things I’ve learned from this experience. Keep in mind I’m an accountant, so finances and money are what I think about most days all day.

1. Cash – Folks, we need to have it, accessible, easy to access, ALWAYS. When I say easy to access, I mean in your wallet, at your house, where you can find it. A wise friend mentioned this last week, and the more I’ve thought about it, it’s crazy not to have some around. The banks/ATM’s were down while the power was out, cash was king, it’s what you needed. I live in a place where tornados aren’t rare, in a state located on a fault line. Tornados, earthquakes… you need to have cash. Last comment on this, but I was listening to my favorite radio show this morning and one of the guys was talking about a bank mixup with his account and how his credit card was being declined. He couldn’t pay for his lunch, he couldn’t pick up his car, he was in a mess. A little cash would have made his life much less stressful yesterday.

2. Emergency fund – As I said before, I ended up with an unexpected vacation. I’ve worked at the same place for several years, and I’m not a big traveler, so I have plenty of leave hours saved up, but some others here at work, not so much. So now they are having to make some tough decisions on how to deal with the time off. There are others in the community who are self-employed, or business owners whose shops were closed, etc. these people don’t have accrued leave, they just won’t be making any money. That’s why we need emergency funds. We don’t know what’s going to happen, when tragedy will strike, when sickness will occur, when cars will break down, and we have to be ready.

3. Insurance – understand it. This is something I need to do, go in, sit down with my insurance man and get an understanding of what kind of coverage I have. If my house was blown away, what does that mean?

It’s been a tough week. Please continue to pray for all those affected.

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