I know, I know. I've been posting around the issue of the economic crisis lately rather than addressing it directly. The truth is, though, that I honestly believe I'll be raising my children during the next Great Depression. I could outline my thought process for you, but there are a million other bloggers out there who are already doing a much better job at it than I could. Let it just suffice to say that my thoughts of late have been almost exclusively bent towards emergency preparedness, be it immediate things that we need (warm pajamas for the kids) or more longterm items (a year's supply of food). Maybe it's the blogs I read, but I haven't seen many posts at all geared towards financial preparedness. Everyone seems to simply be in lockdown mode.
So here I am to share a wonderful tool with you all. It's called the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit, or EFFAK. Basically, the EFFAK helps the user to identify key financial documents and organize them effectively so that financial stability can be maintained during an emergency. Think of it as a quick reference when you need to have things at hand right now.
One kit per household should be sufficient, but be sure that all of your various accounts and assets are included. If you and your partner(s) or child(ren) have separate bank accounts, for example, make sure they all make their way into your file, not just your joint accounts. It may take you awhile to complete the kit, but believe me, it is well worth it. I recommend that you do this together with anyone who will be sharing your kit. Not only will you both be aware of what is included and what the importance of each item is, but it will give anyone who isn't always the most involved party in the finances a chance to get an overview of things.
One more piece of advice. It's always best to have a backup of your backup, so please consider making a copy of your EFFAK and storing it in a safety deposit box at your bank, credit union, or other institution. Though I didn't think of it myself, I've seen it recommended that you mail a copy of your EFFAK, in a sealed envelope, to your attorney to be opened in the case of personal incapacitation. Don't forget that your personal home EFFAK copy should be stored in a fireproof safe or other reliable storage container.
To print your free EFFAK, visit OperationHope.org. Not only do they provide you with the kit, they also provide you with more advice and helpful information than I provided in this post. The linked page will also give you access to their Personal Disaster Preparedness Guide in case you need a jumping off point for general emergency preparedness as well.
Here's hoping you never have to use this kit, friends. Good luck.
Anyone else with tips on preparing your finances or financial documents to weather any storm?