“The horrific shooting in Colorado is a reminder that crisis can strike in many forms. Be it an act of violence, a natural disaster like a tornado or a fire, a car crash, or one of the more traditional ‘bad things that happen to good people,’ such as divorce, layoff or medical catastrophe, we simply can’t control when crisis strikes,” said Todd Mark, vice president of education for Consumer Credit Counseling of Greater Dallas. “But we should be as prepared as we can, to minimize the financial impact of an unexpected event.”
To help consumers become more prepared in the event of a crisis, CCCS of Greater Dallas will be offering a free, live webinar on “Asset Protection and Insurance” on Tues. August 7 at 8:00 p.m. CDT. You can log on to http://www.cccs.net/
CCCS of Greater Dallas has also provided five tips to consider when pulling together a crisis-readiness plan:
1. Emergency savings funds make a world of difference. In times of crisis, having the cushion of an emergency savings fund can mean the difference between survival and devastation. To ensure consumers are financially protected during a crisis, it is a good idea to have at least three months salary saved. In the event a consumer is without income, he/she will need these emergency funds to function daily, pay bills and cover unexpected medical expenses.
2. Health insurance is a must-have. Health insurance is critical to ensure consumers have a safety net for emergency healthcare procedures and to ensure they are getting preventative care. Let’s be honest – not many Americans have the cash on hand today to pay for an emergency healthcare procedure and this is why health insurance is so important. We don’t expect to have bad things happen, but they can and oftentimes, with health insurance as a support tool, you are able to get back on your feet even faster. If possible, consumers should consider carrying disability insurance in the event he/she cannot work due to injury or must care for a loved one.
3. Life insurance provides for your family when you cannot. Life insurance is an affordable way to ensure loved ones are cared for when the consumer is gone. If consumers have people that depend on them for income or support, it should be necessity to purchase and maintain life insurance, as this will ensure the loved one’s future is protected as they get back on their feet.
4. Creating a will is the first step toward ensuring your last wishes will be followed. Simply put, a will is a document in which consumers can identify what they’d like done with assets upon their death. Anyone can create a will without a huge expense and time commitment by using readily available software and a little bit of research at a local library. With the creation of a will, consumers should also consider creating a durable power of attorney which allows a person of the consumer’s designation to make important financial decisions in the event of incapacitation.
5. Living wills and healthcare proxy agreements let loved ones know your healthcare decisions. Planning for a healthcare crisis is never easy and definitely not fun. However, a living will and durable power of attorney for healthcare, also known as a healthcare proxy, allows consumers to designate the loved ones who can make healthcare decisions for them. When consumers are unable to make these important decisions, it can give their loved ones peace of mind in knowing they are acting in accordance with what the person wanted and can follow their wishes exactly.
“All of these measures combined can’t stop disaster from striking, but they can provide you critical resources to avoid falling into financial crisis, or to minimize the strain as you recover, grieve and heal,” continued Todd Mark.
For more information if you are currently in crisis or interested in crisis planning tools, as well as information on free budget and one-on-one credit counseling and financial education, visit http://www.cccs.net or call 1-800-249-2227. In addition, if other services are needed, CCCS of Greater Dallas can make referrals to other community resources for therapy, support groups and other assistance.
About CCCS of Greater Dallas
Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas, Inc. is a nonprofit, community-based credit counseling and debt management service. Established in 1974, CCCS of Greater Dallas and its affiliate offices provide financial education and counseling to consumers in-person, by phone, or Internet at 15 locations in four states. CCCS of Greater Dallas is a HUD-approved housing counseling multi-state organization and serves as one of seven counseling agencies supporting the 888-995-HOPE Hotline. The agency is also a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), the nation’s largest and longest serving national nonprofit credit counseling network. CCCS of Greater Dallas is a service partner of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. To learn more about CCCS of Greater Dallas’ free seminars or the agency’s services, call 800-249-2227, visit http://www.cccs.net or become a fan of CCCS of Greater Dallas on Facebook to receive updates on agency events and offerings.
Ginger Greenberg/Christy French