ClearPoint Financial Solutions Offers Tips on How to Safeguard Finances in the Event of an Emergency

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As hurricane season approaches, ClearPoint Financial Solutions (http://www.ClearPointFinancialSolutions.org) offers tips on how to prepare for weather emergencies while protecting financial resources.

When disaster strikes, it often leaves a negative impact on a person's financial well-being. With the beginning of the 2006 hurricane season only days away, consumers are urged to make financial preparations to protect their resources in the event of an emergency. The National Hurricane Center is predicting that up to 6 major hurricanes will make landfall this year. ClearPoint Financial Solutions offers tips on how to prepare for weather emergencies while protecting financial resources.

“In the midst of preparing households for hurricanes by stocking up on food and securing shelter, consumers may overlook the importance of organizing necessary financial information," said Amida Mehta, director of marketing for ClearPoint Financial Solutions. “By creating a disaster plan and keeping a list of important documents to take in case an evacuation is necessary, consumers will be financially prepared for a natural disaster. Then, in the event of an emergency, they will be able to focus on the most urgent aspects of their recovery.”

If an evacuation is necessary, as in the instance of a hurricane, there are steps you can take to prepare for and respond to such an event. While the following tips can help alleviate stress and inconvenience during an emergency, each situation is different so it may be necessary to modify response based on individual circumstances.

Pre-evacuation

  • Plan to bring important documents with you, including driver’s license, Social Security card, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records, etc. To minimize a time consuming search, keep documents in a portable file box, that's fire- and waterproof. Other important information to keep in mind includes phone numbers, bank account and credit card numbers and passwords.
  • Take pictures of valuable items to accompany insurance claims.
  • Consider storing those images and important documents on a CD, in a separate and secure location if possible, for quick and easy access.
  • Check with local branches of your bank for bank account activity, update your information and order needed checks, etc. It helps to have plenty of cash on hand as well, as ATMs will be unavailable in the event of power outages.
  • Regularly monitor your credit report and statements to safeguard yourself against Identity Theft.

Post-evacuation

  • Notify your state’s employment commission to learn about job considerations for disaster victims.
  • Register with the Social Security Administration for current and future benefits for victims.
  • Seek assistance from local churches, Salvation Army, United Way, Social Services, FEMA and the American Red Cross.
  • Continue regular monitoring of your credit report and statements to safeguard yourself against Identity Theft. If you are displaced, check with a local library to see if there is Internet service available to the public.
  • Contact your credit bureaus to include a disaster victim statement on your credit file.
  • Once you are current with the USPS, contact each creditor and have statements forwarded to your new or temporary address.
  • Advise your creditors of displacement due to emergency situation; creditors are making concessions for displaced victims. If your circumstances do not improve before concessions end; contact the creditors for independent hardships.
  • Never give out your Social Security number unless you are certain it is to a verified agency that can provide you with assistance.
  • Avoid opening new credit; try all other forms of assistance.

If you have been displaced due to a natural disaster or other emergency situation, contact ClearPoint Financial Solutions for financial information to minimize any negative impact on your budget and credit. If you need financial assistance, be sure to contact ClearPoint as soon as you can to learn about their services and receive one-on-one advice on how to rebuild. Visit http://www.ClearPointCreditCounselingSolutions.org for more financial tips on saving money and preparing for the unexpected.

About ClearPoint Financial Solutions, Inc.

ClearPoint Financial Solutions, Inc.™ (formerly Consumer Credit Counseling Services of America, Inc.) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to helping consumers achieve financial wellness through counseling and education. Established in 1980, ClearPoint has helped over one million individuals achieve financial security. ClearPoint is the only non-profit System-wide member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and one of the largest members of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, ClearPoint manages branches across the country. Personalized and confidential consultations are available in person, by phone or online. Visit ClearPoint Financial Solutions at http://www.ClearPointFinancialSolutions.org or call 877-877-1995. Credit Counselors, CDC Consumer Debt Counseling, and Solutions, Inc. are all trade names of ClearPoint.

Media Contact:

Amida Mehta

ClearPoint Financial Solutions, Inc.

804-222-4660 ext. 2780

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Amida Mehta
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