Lewisboro Finance Exec Talks Disaster Preparedness

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Kevin Peters, senior vice president at Morgan Stanley, says it is a good idea to have some cash stashed away in the house in case of a disaster like Hurricane Sandy. Photo Credit: File

GOLDENS BRIDGE, N.Y. – In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, even people who were not adversely affected by the storm are thinking about how to be ready financially in the event of a future crisis.

The Daily Voice sat down with Kevin Peters, a Goldens Bridge resident who is a senior vice president at Morgan Stanley, and asked him how people can be proactive and prepare for disasters such as Hurricane Sandy.

Q: What is the No. 1 thing a homeowner should do to be ready, fiscally speaking, for a crisis such as Hurricane Sandy?

A: Within the home, have a fireproof safe in place to store personal documents like passports, birth certificates, insurance policies, wills and powers of attorney. You may have to act for someone else during these times. Remember, you are going to need cash to get by on a day-to-day basis, and you will need ID if you have to withdraw money from a bank. Make copies of all your important documents in PDF form and back it up to a cloud. You could also keep these documents at your office or in bank’s safety deposit box.

Q: Is there a certain amount of cash that should be easily accessible, such as in a home safe?

A:  Remember, the banks may also be without power, so have a safe amount of cash on hand that you are comfortable with. The bare necessities you’ll need won’t be available unless you have cash, like at grocery stores and gas stations, which often lose the ability to take credit cards during power outages. You should have enough cash to get food to last a couple days or enough for a full tank of gas – enough so you can drive to a friend's or relative’s house.

Q: Which investments can most easily be liquidated to get cash?

A: Money market accounts are the easiest source of cash. After that it’s bonds.

Q: Which documents are most important and how often should they be reviewed?

A: Everything should be reviewed quarterly, or at the very least, annually. A copy of everybody’s prescriptions should also be reviewed along with insurances polices, wills, power of attorney and health care proxy.

Q: Who should you consult with in addition to an insurance adjuster if you have damage to your property?

A: Let your financial adviser and attorney know. They can help get cash or capital that may be available for things that are not covered by your insurance.

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