Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Are you prepared for financial hard times?
September is National Preparedness Month. It’s a reminder of the importance to take action today to prepare for emergencies that could impact us tomorrow.
Emergency preparedness doesn’t always involve a natural disaster. Whether it’s job loss, divorce or a medical emergency, financial hard times also can strike when we least expect it.
“I do believe most know how important it is to have a plan in place to prepare for emergencies,” says Lisa Elskamp, member solutions supervisor at Dupaco’s Asbury, Iowa, branch. “However, I think we don’t make it a priority to have the plan in place. Most of us don’t think it will happen to us.”
There’s no such thing as being over-prepared for tough times, Elskamp says. Here’s how you can prepare to lessen the impact of a financial crisis:
Review your budget
Start by writing down all of your expenses—rent or house payment, car payments, insurance premiums, utilities, school costs, groceries, everything. When you see your expenses on paper, it’s easier to determine where you might need to cut expenses to save more.
“It’s amazing how just by holding yourself accountable will help you save,” Elskamp says.
And you don’t have to do this alone. Dupaco offers the tools you need to prepare. Utilize Dupaco’s free Money Makeover to review your budget, or request a free Credit History Lesson to understand your credit score and how it impacts the interest rates you pay.
Pay yourself first
When you review your budget, one of your expenses should be paying yourself first. The best way to build an emergency fund is to have a pre-determined amount automatically come out of each paycheck—before you see it—and into a savings account, Elskamp says.
While your emergency fund should ideally be at least three to six moths’ worth of expenses, the most important thing is to start saving, even if it’s a small amount.
Lean on your credit union
If you find yourself in a financial crisis, don’t be afraid to reach out to your credit union.
“Dupaco wants to be our members’ lifetime financial home,” Elskamp says. “We are here to help you with all your financial needs.”
Whether it’s a job loss, medical emergency or divorce, Dupaco’s Member Solutions team works with members on possible solutions, which might include payment plans, helping you keep your home or vehicle, or assisting in determining what your best options are.
“We believe the only mistake you can make is to not communicate,” Elskamp says. “We understand things happen to good people, and we are here as a resource to help you when these financial hard times strike.”
By Emily Kittle
Discover additional ways to be prepared for tough financial times by watching Dupaco’s In Crisis: Financial Hard Times Money Clips video below!