Preparing for the worst involves more than just stockpiling food, ammunition, and other survival supplies. It also means getting your financial affairs in order so you don’t end up succumbing to fiscal ruin.
So what does this actually look like? According to Sara Tipton from ReadyNutrition.com, getting out of debt is one of the first steps. Paying off your credit cards and getting rid of them completely, she says, can make all the difference between simply encountering a “setback” in your life versus having your life flipped upside down.
Having an emergency credit card on hand is one thing. But if you’re used to relying on credit cards to buy things you can’t really afford, you might want to start making the transition to cash-only.
“The best way to pay off debt is to cut back where you can and use that savings to apply to debt,” she says, stressing the importance of getting out of debt for financial longevity.
“Start with the smallest debt and pay that off. Once it’s gone, move on to the next highest bill and pay that off using the money you were applying to the smaller and now paid off debt. Work your way up until you’ve paid off your cars and eventually, your mortgage.”
If it’s a natural disaster that ends up striking, it’s also a good idea to have the appropriate insurance to cover your assets. Because there’s always the possibility of losing everything, having disaster-specific insurance for your area – which means knowing the risks associated with your specific geographic area –is a good idea.
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You’ll also want to plan in advance for how you and your family will survive if the primary “breadwinner” in your household suddenly becomes unemployed. Cutting out the non-essentials from your life such as cable television or an expensive mobile phone plan will help you to get into a mindset of frugality, which in turn will help you to better weather whatever “storm” comes your way.
Do you have solid financial backup like a savings account that you can fall back on during a major emergency scenario?
Another necessity that Tipton stresses as being vitally important for financial stability during a crisis is a savings account. Since you never know what might come your way during an emergency, having cash on hand for unexpected vehicle repairs and medical expenses is an important element of prepping that many people overlook.
“Look at your insurance policies (if you don’t have insurance, begin saving as much as you can now because vehicle expenses and medical are far from cheap) and determine how much you’ll need,” writes Tipton.
“Often, car expenses and medical emergencies hit us like a ton of bricks and few Americans have adequate savings for either. Other than saving in advance, there’s not much else that can be done. Humans get sick or hurt and cars break down. Save for these future events now, just in case.”
If you’re married with children, you’ll also want to consider any potential marital issues that might arise. Hopefully you have a solid relationship with your spouse, but just in case, consider what might be lost during an ugly divorce situation, such as lawyer fees and possibly half of your estate.
“Often, retirement savings accounts can even be split or given if one spouse desires that of the other,” Tipton adds.
“But the best advice we can give is to avoid being vindictive should you find yourself in this position because a bitter attitude will only cause more financial hardship as your soon-to-be-ex-spouse fights back. Seeking professional advice could be advantageous.”
Be sure to read Tipton’s full list of recommended financial preparations at ReadyNutrition.com.
You can also browse more survival and prepping tips at Survival.news.