You Survived. Now What?

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Northern California is just starting the long road to recovery after the devastating firestorm that erupted October 9. Folks in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico are a little further along in their recovery from the hurricanes that destroyed or damaged their homes. No matter what stage, recovery is a long, painful process that many share after a common disaster.

Giving tips on handling the rollercoaster emotions that one feels after a disaster is way beyond the scope of this blog. Just know that if you need to talk, someone will listen; so, seek out a friend or professional if needed. However, I can give you a few quick tips on getting back in shape financially.

First, know that you don’t have to handle everything immediately. Recovery is going to take time and patience. You don’t need to snag the first available contractor, or accept the first offer from your insurance company if you’ve lost a home due to fire, flood, or earthquake. It’s not uncommon for the road to recovery to take many years.

Second, be aware of scammers! Yes, even in the worst of times these sleaze balls are out trying to rip people off.  You should not have to pay a fee to have a business or person protect you from foreclosure or expedite your insurance check. Businesses or individuals promising help for a fee that seems too good to be true should be a red flag. Work directly with your lender or insurance agent and ask them what terms can be arranged if you need payment forbearance or an update on your insurance claim.

 Photo Credit: Paul Hellstern/The Oklahoman/AP Photo

Photo Credit: Paul Hellstern/The Oklahoman/AP Photo

Third, ask for assistance. Contact FEMA if your neighborhood has been declared a federal emergency disaster area. You may be surprised to find that some assistance is available. Some is better than none so it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Finally, seek out affinity groups for support. For insurance, one such group that may be of assistance is United Policyholders, a non-profit for policyholders of all types of insurance. United Policyholders provides assistance in all 50 states and with many aspects of insurance.

Just know that you are not alone, you don’t have to resolve all of your issues at once, and that recovery could take years. As a disaster survivor, you may feel post-traumatic stress months or even years after the event. We all process stress, loss, and grief in very different ways.

As an independent Certified Financial Planner™, I can help you with assessing your situation, locating possible funds to use, and getting back on track.  Contact me and let’s get started! #talktometuesday #education#Hireaplanner #documentsyouneed #recovery #beprepared #safetyfirst #rebuild