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 Start Financial Capability Month by Being Financially Ready For Natural Disasters

By: Louisa Quittman

Last week, President Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation declaring April 2013 as National Financial Capability Month. In making the proclamation, the President noted that “all Americans deserve a chance to turn their hard work into a decent living for their families and a bright future for their children,” and that “reigniting our economic engine means giving ordinary citizens the tools to find prosperity, including strong financial capability.”  

​Financial capability – and the tools and knowledge that come with it – is a key building block of a secure financial future and a thriving middle class. That’s why the Treasury Department and the Financial Literacy and Education Commission work year-round to identify key areas where we can have a measurable impact on the financial skills and actions of all Americans. The Commission’s work includes areas like helping children and youth learn to save, assisting students and their families make more informed decisions about how to pay for higher education, and ensuring Americans are as prepared as possible for unexpected financial circumstances. 

Today, Treasury along with the  Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is highlighting one side of financial capability too many of us don’t think about until it’s too late: preparing our finances and financial records for a natural disaster.

If a disaster struck your neighborhood, you would only have a short period to react. Is that enough time to find your homeowners insurance policy, bank account information, or backup your financial software?

Fortunately, being financially ready for a disaster is easy. Here are four steps you can take to get started today:

1.      Visit to access tools and resources that can help you prepare financially for emergencies.

2.      Join the National Preparedness Coalition to access a national network of community partners seeking to strengthen disaster preparedness efforts.

3.      Download the Consumer Action Handbook, a comprehensive tool that provides guidance on how to recover after a disaster and information on other important financial aspects of your life.

4.      Visit for tools to manage your money, and get an early start on being financially prepared.

When you're financially ready for a disaster, you'll be able to get back on your feet faster. 

To provide more information and ideas for community leaders, financial service professionals and others, federal agencies and non-profit organizations are hosting a webinar on April 9, 2013 on “Starting Early: Financial Preparation for Disasters and Emergencies.” For more information or to register, please visit here​.

Finally, to take full advantage of National Financial Capability Month, 2013, visit and At both sites, you’ll find tools that every American can use and share to learn about managing money and navigating the 21st-century marketplace.

Louisa Quittman is the Director for Financial Education in the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Consumer Policy.

Posted in:  Financial Capability
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