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Money Matters | Help Protect Your Finances in a Natural Disaster

This article was written by Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Michelle Konkle, CFP®, Financial Consiltant with Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors in New Albany, IN at 812-948-8475.

This article was written by Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Michelle Konkle, CFP®, Financial Consiltant with Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors in New Albany, IN at 812-948-8475.

From blazing wildfires and floods to hurricanes and tornadoes, natural disasters make front-page news whenever and wherever they happen. Less headline-worthy are the financial repercussions that follow, which tens of thousands of people are dealing with right now. These types of tragedies are unavoidable — the most you can do is prepare to minimize the time it takes to put the pieces of your life back together.

Creating a plan that addresses your finances and insurance beforehand can make it easier to recover from a devastating event.

  1. Stockpile savings. Maintaining an emergency fund with three to six months’ worth of savings is a key part of any household budget. But it’s also important in an emergency: Funds that you can draw on quickly and easily can be a lifesaver in the wake of a natural disaster. Also consider keeping a few hundred dollars in cash on hand to see you through if your area loses power or banks and ATMs are out of commission.
  2. Gather key documents. Make sure you have important legal and financial documents with you if you have to evacuate. These may include copies of insurance policies and even bank account numbers. Keep these documents easily accessible, as you would flashlights and spare batteries. That way you’re less likely to leave them behind — even if you have to abandon your house quickly.
  3. Protect your credit. Part of protecting your finances involves protecting your credit. Include the contact information for your creditors — such as your mortgage lender, credit card companies and utilities — in your financial preparedness kit. If you have to evacuate, reach out to your creditors as soon as possible to request a temporary reprieve from payments. Make sure you reach out to your employer as well, to provide as much warning as possible if you won’t be able to work in the aftermath of a disaster.
  4. Review your insurance. Your insurance policies can help you recover financially from a disaster, provided you have the right coverage. Review your property, flood, life and disability insurance policies once a year when you receive the new documents from your insurer. And don’t focus only on your deductibles and coverage amounts – pay attention to the riders as well.

For instance, does your property insurance cover temporary food and housing costs if you’ve had to evacuate but your home is undamaged? If you miss work for a week because you’ve had to evacuate, will your disability policy cover your lost income? Talk to your agent about covering any gaps in your policies, and make sure you know whom to contact and what documentation you’ll need to file a claim.

  1. Use a checklist. Include your financial preparations in your overall disaster recovery plan. Review the Wells Fargo Advisors’ “In Case of an Emergency” checklist to make sure you are giving yourself the best chance of recovering from a natural disaster. The list suggests a range of critical first-response tactics, from stockpiling fresh drinking water to recording possessions as proof of ownership. Just remember that the more you prepare now, the less you’ll have to do if disaster strikes.

This article was written by Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Michelle Konkle, CFP®, Financial Consiltant with Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors in New Albany, IN at 812-948-8475.

Investments in securities and insurance products are: NOT FDIC-INSURED/NOT BANK-GUARANTEED/MAY LOSE VALUE

Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.

©2018 Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC. All rights reserved.   CAR 0118-01444

 

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Money Matters by Michelle Floyd | Involve Your Child in the Finances of College

By Michelle Floyd

The cost to attend a university continues to increase: between the 2011–2012 school year and the 2016–2017 academic year, tuition and fees rose by 13% at private, nonprofit, four-year institutions, reaching an average of $33,479, according to The College Board.*

If you’ve diligently saved over the years to help pay for your child’s education, now is the perfect time to bring him or her into the equation. “When it comes to financing school, students need to be involved in the process,” explains Tracy Green, a Life Event Services consultant at Wells Fargo Advisors.

By walking through the financial steps of paying for college together, you’ll help your son or daughter understand the overall expenses and learn valuable fiscal skills for the future, especially the importance of goal-based saving.

Green recommends following these five steps to get your child involved before mailing in that acceptance notification and deposit.

  1. Start with a conversation. Before your child even begins applying for college, have a discussion about finances, suggests Green. A good time to have this conversation tends to be during the student’s junior year of high school.

When you sit down together, ask your child about his or her upcoming goals. Talk about expenses for school, as well as who will be covering costs or how they might be split. If you or other family members have contributed to a 529 plan, show it to your child and go through the details of how it can be used.

  1. Set a budget. As a family, consider setting certain guidelines and limitations for the college experience. Perhaps you agree to cover the cost of tuition and room and board, but ask your child to pay for his or her entertainment expenses while on campus.

“Having those discussions may prevent future disappointment,” adds Green. If your son gets accepted into his dream school, for instance, but later learns the family won’t be able to pay for it and he doesn’t want to take out his own loans, the reality could be difficult to face.

  1. Look at financial aid packages together. With your child, fill out and submit forms for financial help, such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Learn more at https://fafsa.ed.gov/. To identify additional types of financial aid that may be available, visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/.

Some universities have a net price calculator on their websites. With this tool, you’ll be able to see what the overall cost for the school is and then subtract any financial aid packages available to identify what your expected expenses will be. Once you start receiving acceptance notifications, go through aid packages with your child to compare and contrast them so that you and your child have a clear vision of what the bottom line is and how different aid options are treated.

  1. Think about work. If you want your child to be responsible for paying for part or all of their schooling, a part-time job may be a good fit.

As a family, you’ll want to decide if it makes sense for your child to work while he or she is at school, or only during summer and winter breaks. “Some kids may have a heavy class load or extracurricular activities,” notes Green. If certain scholarships require your child to attain or keep a certain GPA, you’ll want to weigh the time spent away from academics against the amount of money your student will be earning from a part-time job.

In addition to helping cover college expenses, employment can offer other key benefits for your child, including the chance to manage an income, build a strong work ethic, and grow in self-worth. If working during the school year will put too much of a strain on your child, set savings goals together for his or her summer job. 

  1. Understand scholarship possibilities. If your child wants to attend a school that doesn’t fit into the budgeted amount you planned to spend, consider sitting down to talk about the situation. It may be time to look at other options, or your child may want to increase his or her efforts to identify and apply for scholarships to help cover some of the costs.

The site TuitionFundingSources.com, sponsored by Wells Fargo, provides a database of scholarships available. After looking through the options together, help your child set up a schedule to apply for ones that are the best fit, paying close attention to deadlines and other requirements. Some scholarships involve writing an essay, but the rewards offered could make the effort worthwhile. 

*https://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/tuition-fees-room-and-board-over-time

 Please consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses carefully before investing in a 529 savings plan. The official statement, which contains this and other information, can be obtained by calling your Financial Advisor. Read it carefully before you invest.

This article was written by/for Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Michelle Floyd, CFP®, Financial Consultant with Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors in New Albany, IN at 812-948-8475.
Investments in securities and insurance products are: NOT FDIC-INSURED/NOT BANK-GUARANTEED/MAY LOSE VALUE

Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.

© 2017 Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC. All rights reserved.   0317-00810