Be fi­nan­cially pre­pared for emer­gen­cies?

Lodi News-Sentinel - - BUSINESS - DALE IMMEKUS www.Lodi.gov;

What can one do to be pre­pared fi­nan­cially in case of black­outs or other po­ten­tial emer­gen­cies?

PG&E has been on a cam­paign to in­form the gen­eral pub­lic to be pre­pared dur­ing black­outs.

The rea­son be­hind this in­for­ma­tion is that PG&E will be more likely to in­sti­gate pre­emp­tive power out­ages in the fu­ture due to the hor­ri­ble wild­fire dis­as­ters we have ex­pe­ri­enced in re­cent years. Th­ese out­ages may or may not af­fect us di­rectly but cer­tainly could touch other fam­ily and friends whom we care about.

Get­ting your home ready with all the ne­ces­si­ties for a pro­longed power out­age goes be­yond bat­ter­ies, flash­lights, wa­ter and canned goods. Fi­nan­cial plan­ners are al­ways preach­ing the need for emer­gency funds to han­dle any un­fore­seen ex­penses but, the need to be fi­nan­cially pre­pared dur­ing a power out­age or other emer­gency is also worth your ef­fort.

There are some things you can do to pre­pare.

Keep some cash on hand. Yes, there are still many busi­nesses that will ac­cept cash and with­out power the elec­tronic cash reg­is­ter will not work and there­fore may come in handy. It is hard to say how much to keep on hand, but it would be wise to have enough to cover seven to 10 days of food, gas and other po­ten­tial in­ci­den­tals. It never hurts to have more than you might need. Credit cards may be help­ful if you found your­self in a lodg­ing sit­u­a­tion away from home for an elon­gated pe­riod. Fam­ily and friends may be will­ing to take you in for a while but to quote the saga­cious Ben Franklin “Guests, like fish, be­gin to smell af­ter three days.”

Pro­tect im­por­tant doc­u­ments. Every house­hold should have a fire­proof box for any im­por­tant doc­u­ments. Keep­ing dig­i­tal copies is a good idea and easy to do.

Most doc­u­ments can be re­placed over time but, in an emer­gency, you may not have that lux­ury. Be­ing able to grab a small fire­proof box with th­ese im­por­tant items and head out the door to safety would be more than con­ve­nient, it is wise.

In­sur­ance pro­tec­tions. This sub­ject sug­gests the im­por­tance of re­view­ing all your in­sur­ance pro­tec­tions. For ex­am­ple, a home­owner’s pol­icy should cover re­place­ment costs and not be lim­ited to orig­i­nal val­ues and should be up­dated over time. We re­cently helped el­derly fam­ily mem­bers re­new their home­owner pol­icy and found out the pol­icy had not been re­viewed in years, was out of date and in­suf­fi­cient to pro­tect them in the case of a large loss. Other than your prop­erty con­cerns, other pro­tec­tions such as life and dis­abil­ity should also be re­viewed pe­ri­od­i­cally.

Any­time there is a ma­jor life change, in­sur­ance pro­tec­tions should be re­viewed.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion con­cerns. Of course, con­tact­ing loved ones will be top of mind. Cell phones may be your first line of com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Another way in which cell phones may come in handy is to set up your phone for alerts. You can set up alerts to be emailed and or texted to cell phones at both PG&E

www.pge.com and the City of Lodi www.Lodi.gov.

Even I was able to com­plete that task. Most cell tow­ers do have back-up power sys­tems which could give ex­tended use dur­ing a power out­age.

It is also a good idea to have por­ta­ble charg­ers for mo­bile de­vices which are widely avail­able and rea­son­ably priced.

Many house­holds do not even have land lines any­more but those that do may come in handy in an emer­gency.

The goal of to­day’s ar­ti­cle was to bring aware­ness to the com­mu­nity re­gard­ing the fi­nan­cial pre­pared­ness in such cases but not to sug­gest any im­pend­ing event. Our firm’s pur­pose is to en­hance peo­ple’s lives by re­duc­ing stress and adding peace of mind.

With that in mind here are a num­ber of re­sources to help you pre­pare be­yond the fi­nan­cial con­cerns: PG&E emer­gency check­list at www.pge.com/bepre­pared; City of Lodi has in­for­ma­tion in­clud­ing a PDF with tips on how to “Pro­tect your­self dur­ing a power out­age” at

and the San Joaquin Of­fice of Emer­gency Ser­vices www.sj­gov.org/de­part­ment/oes.

Un­til we talk again, be pre­pared and be well. Dale Immekus is the owner of Ded­i­cated Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices and an Ac­cred­ited Wealth Man­age­ment Ad­vi­sor. Reg­is­tered Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fer­ing se­cu­ri­ties and ad­vi­sory ser­vices through In­de­pen­dent Fi­nan­cial Group, LLC (IFG), a reg­is­tered bro­kerdealer and in­vest­ment ad­vi­sor. Mem­ber FINRA/SIPC. Ded­i­cated Fi­nan­cial & In­sur­ance Ser­vices and IFG are un­af­fil­i­ated en­ti­ties. If you have any ques­tions for our panel of fi­nan­cial ex­perts, email News Sen­tinel Ed­i­tor Scott Howell at [email protected]

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