By: Kathleen Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA
Disasters can strike with little notice. Some are the product of mother nature, such as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria, along with the horrible fires in California. Others, like the recent Equifax breach, are man-made. While these disasters may seem to have little in common, what they share is the personal and financial devastation left in their wake. The hurricanes devastated many homes and lives. In Hurricane Harvey alone, early estimates indicate that 230,000 homes were damaged and almost 13,000 of them were destroyed. The physical damage inflicted by Harvey was enormous, but the emotional fallout for all those directly impacted is harder to quantify. Losing your home, possessions and peace-of-mind is an unfathomable experience. While homes can be repaired and rebuilt, items such as old family photos and heirlooms are priceless and irreplaceable. The Equifax breach impacted the personal data of over 4.6 million consumers, leaving those affected fearing fraud and identity theft. Dire concerns about the health of your financial future can produce much anxiety, which only adds to the stress of a recent disaster. Both disasters left millions feeling afraid and vulnerable. Although it is always difficult to minimize the burden of stress and increase feelings of confidence and security after a disaster, being proactive and putting an emergency readiness plan into place before one strikes is invaluable.