When Disaster Strikes

The Christchurch earthquake is a forceful reminder that our lives can be turned upside down in an instant and without warning. Being well prepared for disaster greatly increases your chance of survival on all levels; physical, emotional and financial.

Those of us lucky enough to be observers of the Christchurch earthquake rather than its victims have a great opportunity to learn valuable lessons about what should be done to prepare. Stories abound of people queuing up for hours to get a bucketful of water, scrambling amongst wreckage to retrieve important documents and irreplaceable personal items and dealing with loss of income through death, injury and the destruction of businesses and jobs.

Being financially prepared before a disaster is just as important as preparing your survival kit. The most important things to consider are:

  • Always make sure you have financial reserves, either as cash in the bank or the ability to borrow additional funds if you need to.

  • Make sure you have adequate insurance cover for your home and personal possessions

  • Consider the financial impact that death or severe injury might have on your family and take our appropriate insurance cover on your life, your health and your income.

  • Have details at hand of how to go about making an insurance claim

  • Make sure you have a will and that it is up to date

  • Keep all your important financial records in a safe place. An excellent facility for this is a New Zealand developed software package called myINFOSAFE (www.myinfosafedirect.com) which allows you to keep records of all important information such as documents, passwords, education history, health records and valuable possessions. The information can be downloaded onto a portable device such as a USB stick and taken with you when you move to safety.

    Liz Koh is an Authorised Financial Adviser. The advice given here is general and does not constitute specific advice to any person. A disclosure statement can be obtained free of charge by calling 0800 273 847. For free eBooks, go to www.moneymax.co.nz and www.moneymaxcoach.com