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Don't Let a Natural Disaster Turn into a Financial Disaster

Don't Let a Natural Disaster Turn into a Financial Disaster

September 13, 2018
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With Hurricane Florence threatening the Eastern seaboard, most people affected are not thinking about preparing financially for a natural disaster. Saving lives and homes is the immediate concern. However, whether the natural disaster is a hurricane, fire or earthquake, it can ruin us financially if we aren't properly prepared for it.  

So, what can you do before a disaster strikes? Loreen Gilbert, founder of WealthWise Financial Services, discusses financial tips for surviving a disaster. Gilbert is also on the Trump Pence Small Business Advisory Council and serves as Chair-elect of the National Association of Women Business Owners Institute. She can also address the tax aspects of Natural Disaster Recovery. To speak with her contact Gary Douglas at 310-592-3049 or 

Before a Natural Disaster:

  • Keep $1000 or more in small bills, hidden someplace easily accessible. The reason for small bills is that in times of a disaster, the ATM machines may not work or may be out of cash. Also, the banks might be closed, so don't rely on a safety deposit box inside a bank for keeping cash.
  • Consider keeping a few ounces of gold on hand in case you need a larger sum of money in the wake of a disaster. For example, if you need to get out of dodge and no flights are available, with a few ounces of gold, you may be able to get a private plane to take you to safety.

  • Make sure all of your financial and legal documents are safely stored in hard copy and in the cloud. If a disaster strikes and your home is destroyed, you want to make sure those documents are available to you. The documents stored should include your passport and drivers license, all credit cards, investment and bank account numbers and all insurance documents.

  • Document all personal belongings on a video and store the video on the cloud. This exercise is as simple as walking through your home with your smart phone while taking a video. But have you taken that simple step yet? If everything is gone, you will need proof of your belongings in order to make a claim to the insurance company.

  • Make a copy of your medical records and medical insurance card and store these documents in the cloud. If you take medications that are critical to your survival, consider asking your doctor for an extra month's supply to keep on hand in case your pharmacy becomes inaccessible in the middle of a disaster.

  • If you’re a business owner consider business interference insurance.

  • For general tips about preparing for a disaster, visit the web site. You will find a 44 page checklist that offers a framework for being prepared for a disaster.

Loreen Gilbert Can Clarify the Tax Impact of Tactics to Consider After a Natural Disaster:

  • For whom does it make sense to take out a hardship withdrawal?

  • What impact will a hardship withdrawal from from your 401(k) have on your taxes?

  • Is there a different impact on your taxes if you instead take out a loan from your 401(k)?

  • If you expect to claim a catastrophic loss on your taxes, what impact would a hardship withdrawal have on your ability to make that claim? (And what impact do homeowners, auto and flood insurance payouts have on your taxes?)

  • If you have a variety of resources—IRAs, 401(k)s, taxable accounts, home equity—which ones should you tap first, and why?

  • If you can wait to take out some resources, how should you time the withdrawals (2017, 2018) for the most favorable tax treatment?

Many of these financial tips require keeping documents on the cloud. So where on the cloud do you store your valuable information?  We use a cloud-based system for our clients where they can store their important documents. Each client using this software has access to their information with their own personalized log-in and password. And it can be accessed from anywhere in the world.  

We never know when a natural disaster may be upon us. Take the time now to prepare your family financially so that a natural disaster doesn't turn into a financial disaster.

About Loreen Gilbert, Founder and President, WealthWise Financial Services, Inc.

Loreen Gilbert is an experienced wealth manager who has spent more than 25 years creating comprehensive wealth strategies for her clients.  Upon graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Business Administration, she launched her career at Fidelity Investments where she assisted clients with investment management services.  Gilbert then worked for a private company selling retirement plans to municipalities and their employees.  She has been in private practice as a wealth manager since 1997, and is the founder and president of WealthWise Financial Services, which offers securities and investment advisory services to individuals, business owners and corporations through her affiliation as a registered principal with LPL Financial. 

Loreen Gilbert serves on the Executive Board of National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), representing more than 11 million women business owners in the US. Gilbert is the Chair Elect of the NAWBO Institute which provides resources and tools to women business owners around the globe.  Gilbert was also awarded the Remarkable Woman Award as “2016 Business Owner of the Year” and “2017 Advocate of the Year” for NAWBO-Orange County, California.   She was honored by Enterprising Women Magazine as the national winner of the 2017 Enterprising Women of the Year award in her category.  Gilbert acts as an ambassador for Opportunity International, a micro-lending organization helping mainly women in third world countries to start or expand a business.  She has recently been appointed to the Trump Pence Small Business Advisory Council, one of only 19 appointees in the U.S. and the only representative in California.  She was selected by Facebook to broadcast globally from their HQ in celebration of Women’s International Day. Gilbert has been covered by US News & World Report, USA Today,Investor’s Business Daily, Yahoo! Finance, Money Magazine, Reuters, Financial Advisor Magazine and  She also hosts on-air segments for KX 93.5 FM where she resides in Laguna Beach, California, to educate listeners on financial matters.  Her iTunes podcast is called WealthWise Moment.

Gilbert’s business licenses and credentials include registration as an Investment Advisor Representative with LPL Financial; FINRA Series 7, 63, 24, and 65, registrations held through LPL Financial; Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) designation; Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) designation; Certified Retirement Counselor (CRC) designation; Corporation for Long Term Care (CLTC) certification; “member, Qualified Kingdom Advisor” certification; insurance licensed in Life, Disability, Variable Life, and Long Term Care; and Bachelor of Business Administration.  For seven years including 2017, Ms. Gilbert was published as receiving the Five Star Wealth Manager Award as published in Orange Coast Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. 

*This award recognizes the accomplishments of one NAWBO member, who has used creative initiatives to overcome obstacles, create jobs, grow a successful business, and help her community. Must be a woman business owner that owns at least 25% of her business and actively runs the day-to-day operations.
**Award based on 10 objective criteria associated with providing quality services to clients such as credentials, experience, and assets under management among other factors. Wealth managers do not pay a fee to be considered or placed on the final list of 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017 Five Star Wealth Managers.
Loreen Gilbert is a registered representative with and securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC


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