A crisis is a turning point, a time when you have to make crucial decisions that will affect your future.
While you can’t have a plan to deal with all possible risks, you can plan for likely and unlikely events.
Any plan you make for dealing with a future crisis should be flexible.
One good approach is to plan for a worst-case scenario.
Download the full report: Dealing with Periods of Crisis
A key component of planning for a crisis is organizing your records and personal papers.
Set up a filing system and give a list of your important documents and advisors to a trusted friend for safekeeping.
Planning for a crisis usually also means planning for your finances.
It’s important to keep an emergency fund equal to at least three months worth of expenses.
Cut out all luxuries, and determine the least amount of income you need to survive.
When you plan for a future crisis, don’t be too general.
Instead, be as specific as possible and write down your options.
Act, but don’t react.
To the extent possible, collect information and advice and formulate a plan.
When you have to plan in a hurry, the easiest way is to make a simple list of things you have to do. Then, as you do them, check them off.
Even if you’re alone in the world or if you don’t want to burden your loved ones with details, there are community resources and individuals (paid and unpaid) who can give you general and specific advice.
When you’re sick or hurt or caring for someone else who is, it’s vital to have a support network.
If you own your own disability insurance policy, check your coverage and contact your insurance company for claims information.
If you were hurt or became sick from job-related causes, you may be able to collect benefits from workers’ compensation.
If your disability is expected to last a year or more (or even result in your death), you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
If you have limited income, you may be able to qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits or other government programs.
Talk to your employer about what benefits you are entitled to in the event you are disabled.
If you work for a company that employs 50 or more people, you may be entitled to take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.
Set new priorities and goals for the future.
If you’re terminally ill, the next step is critical.
You may need to quickly revise your financial and estate plans.
You may be tempted to make a drastic career change, start your own business, or continue your education.
Be careful. You may be reacting emotionally rather than logically.
If you’re married, you may be tempted to rely upon your spouse for support.
The most loving spouse in the world can’t solve all your problems.
Share your burden with your friends, a support group, a career counselor, or your relatives.
If you’ve lost your job through a layoff or because you were fired, immediately contact your state’s unemployment office.
If you know that you are losing your job a few weeks or months before it happens, you’ll have time to restructure your debt, take a part-time job, or borrow against your savings, home, or investments.
If your job loss is sudden, however, you may need to rely upon your savings and find ways to reduce your payments on bills.
If you’ve dealt with unemployment before, you probably know the drill: update your resume, check the want ads, begin to network, etc.
When your spouse or a family member has died, you may need to plan the funeral, organize finances, and claim life insurance benefits.
You may need to serve as executor of your loved one’s estate, and you may need to be familiar with estate settlement procedures.
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