Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Facing on Disasters: Incorporating Financial Planning and Emergency Preparedness

On the second half of 2013, we have seen and experience tumultuous numbers of natural disasters, man-made catastrophe typhoons, armed conflicts brought about by political and ideological indifferences, and earthquakes. These incidents have inculcated in the minds of many how to these disaster may it be man-made or caused Mother Nature have devastated and cause disruption on our lives and our daily routines. In one statement made by an disaster and risk management expert on TV that the "Typhoon Yolanda will be benchmark for disaster preparedness in the years to come" if there will any more Category 5 storms coming in the archipelago.  

The tragedy of these events made a deep impact to the consciousness and minds of Filipinos. Seeing the extent of damage is overwhelming for our local and national government in which it is already overburdened and limited resources are stretched to the limit. With aid coming the private sector and international relief pouring in as well to help mitigate the needs of these affected folks.

Are we prepared for these types of disasters?

Many experts believe we are still ill prepared for such disasters and take for granted the warnings. But we can take the initiative of preparing for such disasters This year, Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) together with Metro Manila local governments units and other national agencies had made an assessment and released their report on the earthquakes and active fault lines in Metro Manila and nearby areas. Their predictions proved in a possible event of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake will hit the metropolis alone there will be an estimated 37,000 fatalities.

Is financial planning necessary for these kinds of events?

The answer is absolutely “Yes”, financial planning in possible disasters is very essential for everyone before natural catastrophes hit us. It still involves the standard non-investment topics such as estate planning, asset risk protection and insurance risk management. You may not know what might happen during those times from damage of property to loss of life of a loved one in those challenging times. It’s better to prepare for worst case scenario.

Is financial preparedness important during times of crisis?

Yes, despite financial advisors and planners think that it is out the realm of financial planning with minority of financial planning practitioners do this of incorporating crisis management as well. The importance of saving emergency cash on hand and keeping safe of important documents from driver’s licenses, passports, birth and marriage certificates, family health records, insurance policies, real property titles, will and automobile records and other documents that are very crucial and are part of this process. Other steps to remember in ensuring the safety of these vital documents are to kept with digital backup copies or placing them in a safe deposit box in a safe area or even filing them in a private file hosting site online could also be done in making your records safe.

When the disasters strikes, what to do next?

Crisis Management is very important in the event of these unforeseen natural disasters. Media outlets are proactive in participating in such drills or information dissemination campaigns to the public on safety during times of possible disasters.  Most survival experts and United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would advise preparation of emergency grab and go bags lasting for 3 days and must contain basic essentials like food, water, batteries, transistor radio, flash lights, match sticks, emergency medical kits, water purification tablets etc. Communication devices such as basic mobile phones or a two way radios are very useful in dire situations along with evacuation plans and exit strategies on where to go and evacuate. Briefing instructions is needed to children and other family members if getting separated from the group  is necessary in if such case arises. Although, this is outside of mainstream financial planning realm the purpose of this is to ensure safety and prevent accidents from happening in times of peril.

Financial preparedness, financial planning and crisis management is really a necessity for those who are preparing for the worst case scenarios happening in the near future. In times of calamities and disasters we should be ready. These three are inter-related in unlikely situations that could possibly happen. It may sound pessimistic or grim for some people but somehow we have to be realistic and take the initiative to educate, protect and prepare ourselves, our loved ones and our properties from unforeseen perils. 

CRB Benedict Baluyut, is a certified real estate professional (Real Estate Broker) a regular member of Registered Financial Planner - Philippines. He writes from time to time with Registered Financial Planner Column at Business Mirror. Catch me on Facebook page Pinoymoneyvantage | Follow me on Twitter | Add on Google + or visit his official blog at http://www.pinoymoneyvantage.net.

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