Maybe the scariest thing about the 2017 hurricane season is that it’s not over yet. It’s hard to imagine dealing with anything more destructive than Harvey, Irma, and Maria this year, but historically, some of the strongest storms have hit the U.S. in October and November. And add in the devastation from the recent large-scale earthquakes, it’s clear that the strain Mother Nature has put on our disaster prep and response services will continue for some time.
In life, as in finance, the best way to deal with problems is to get out ahead of them. On today’s show, Shawn Tipping and Bob Harris from Game Plan Experts join us to discuss what lessons in disaster prep families can learn from this year’s record-breaking weather, and how thinking ahead can fortify your financial planning as well.
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Insights from Today’s Podcast on Disaster Prep
1. Realize that, yes, it CAN happen to you.
Life in the States, and particularly the Midwest, can feel isolated from geological and meteorological tumult, in part because our infrastructure and financial resources are better-equipped to cope with disaster than those in less-developed parts of the world. But seeing Houston and Miami underwater, Puerto Rico devastated, and the modern metropolis of Mexico City rocked, has been eye-opening to a lot of folks.
“People are waking up to the fact that emergencies and disasters are happening all around us,” says Bob. “They don't just happen to other people anymore.” In the Midwest, flooding, wildfires, and tornadoes are always very real concerns, and in recent years we’ve even experienced earthquakes in Kansas City. “We're seeing more and more of that in the Midwest where we historically haven't,” notes Shawn. “People are starting to be more aware of those types of emergencies and disasters and plan for them, even here in the Midwest.”
Awareness has also shot up this year when it comes to protecting our finances. We’ve experienced a rash of high-profile credit and debit card hacks, culminating in the recent Equifax breach. More and more people are clicking on these stories and educating themselves, rather than just thinking, “That won’t happen to me.” If you haven’t already, please review these two blogs I wrote on disaster prep for your finances:
2. Start with the basics.
In a widespread emergency, even the best-coordinated response will take some time to reach every person. You have to be able to take care of yourself for a little while, especially if you find yourself cut off from the rest of your community.
Shawn and Bob advise that you start your disaster prep by covering three basic needs: food, water, and first aid. “Look at what happened down in Texas with Harvey,” says Shawn. “They had water all around, but it wasn't safe to drink. Once your water supply is in trouble, you are in trouble.” Make sure your disaster prep kit covers those basics for your entire household. Also, if you live in an area that’s prone to hurricanes or other severe weather, arrange long-term supplies such as non-perishable food and basic toiletries. Some folks might want to consider having water-filtration systems and backup power generators in place as well.
Shawn and Bob also advise their clients to gather and protect all of their important documents, preferably by scanning copies into cloud-based storage and keeping originals in a safe deposit box. Bank info, driver’s licenses, Social Security cards, and wills and trusts are a good place to start, but you can download a more thorough checklist from Game Plan Experts by clicking here.
3. Improve your situational awareness.
Shawn and Bob offer a wide variety of disaster prep products and resources that can help you prepare for just about any emergency. But all those tools are ineffective if you can’t assess your situation in the moment and act accordingly. That’s why they’re particularly proud of a customer success story in which a father walked his son through every piece of a Game Plan Experts car kit. “His son was following a car last winter when we had blizzards,” says Shawn. “He witnessed a car slide off the road and flip over on its side. He was able to get out of the car and use some of the things that were in his kit to help the lady that was in the car.”
I’ve written before about the importance of anticipating and preparing for every possible situation. It’s important to check and double-check, and keep a cool head under pressure. Our approach to financial planning is no different. Core tenets of Keen Wealth are planning ahead, thinking things through, and controlling the controllable. We accept the inherent volatility of the markets, and utilize our experience and the analytical tools at our disposal to identify, test and evaluate various financial scenarios for our clients. We’re conscious of potential clouds on the horizon and always strive to keep our clients prepared.
Keen Wealth Advisors is proud to be sponsoring the Game Plan Expo on October 7th and 8th at the Overland Park Convention Center. This is a fantastic opportunity for the community to learn about disaster prep, and the products and resources available to all of us.
If any of my listeners would like to attend this event, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to provide FREE tickets.
Bill Keen on Disaster Prep ...
“At Keen Wealth, we advocate the importance of anticipating and preparing for every possible situation."
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Bill Keen is a CHARTERED RETIREMENT PLANNING COUNSELOR℠ and independent financial advisor with more than 25 years of industry experience. As the founder and CEO of Keen Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm, he specializes in providing personalized retirement planning designed to help people thrive before and during their retirement years. With a passion for educating others, Bill regularly blogs about retirement planning, hosts the podcast Keen on Retirement, and has contributed to U.S. News and World Report, Reuters, Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Yahoo Finance, and other publications. Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Bill and his team work with clients throughout the greater Kansas City area and across the nation. To learn more, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.keenwealthadvisors.com.
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