Personal Finance 
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How to Prepare for a Car Breakdown

Flat TireYou get into your car, cup of coffee in hand, and mentally prepare yourself for the grueling day ahead. As you turn the key in the ignition, it clicks. Then nothing. No roar of the engine, no radio tuned to Delilah from the night before… only a looming sense of doom as you realize your car isn’t doing what it’s supposed to.

Or maybe it does start and you make your way to work, only to hit a pothole and discover you have a flat tire on the side of the interstate. Either way, you’re stuck someplace you aren’t supposed to be with no way of getting to the place you planned on going to.

This article will help prepare you for when this happens.

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 Cars 
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How to Prepare for a Car Accident

Crashed Matchbox Crown VicIf losing your job is one of the most traumatic financial disasters you can face, a car accident is a close second. When you take financial cost of an accident, regardless of who is at fault, and combine it with the physical and emotional cost, there’s almost no debate for that second place spot.

This post is part of our Financial Contingency Plan series, which helps prepare you for some of the most jarring financial disasters you could face.

Unlike a job loss, car accidents have little to no warning whatsoever. My friends was recently stopped at a light when a car hit him from behind, causing over $5,000 in damage. It wasn’t, however, the other driver’s fault. He was hit from behind by a car who didn’t realize there was a red light (and at least three cars stopped ahead of him!).

When it’s clear you’re not at fault and there are plenty of witnesses (as was the case with my friend), you have nothing to worry about. It’s all the times where it’s a little ambiguous and the other driver hasn’t claimed immediately responsibility (in writing) that preparation can save you a lot of trouble.

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 Personal Finance 
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Sick Happens: How to Prepare for an Illness or Injury

Yellow AmbulanceThis latest guest post is part of our Financial Contingency Plan series and is written by none other than Donna Freedman, so please give her a kind Bargaineering welcome!

How many sick days do you have? Five? Assuming you have any at all.

Maybe you’ll never need them. But one good case of the flu in January and you’re out of luck for the rest of the year. So that strep throat you catch in April means chipping away at vacation time – assuming you have any.

Time to start thinking about how you’d handle a major ailment. Or even a minor one.

Shout-out to all you part-time workers, or to anyone else living close to the bone: How much would it take to topple your budgetary house of cards? If you missed a week’s salary, would you be able to pay your rent?

Think about these things now, before you have to – not from a gurney in the ER.

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 Personal Finance 
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How to Deal with Losing Your Wallet While Traveling

Costanza WalletAfter our inaugural Financial Contingency Plan series post, How to Recover From a Lost Wallet, a lot of you suggested I write an addendum to the post to cover the case where you lose your wallet while traveling. Whenever you’re traveling, one of the biggest headaches you can run into, besides an airline losing your luggage, is losing your wallet or having it stolen. It’s happens more than you like and while we loathe to think about it, a little pre-planning can make your life a lot easier later on.

The first step is to do everything I suggested in the first post and then, when you travel, make these arrangements.

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 Career 
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How to Prepare for Losing Your Job

Find Employment!One of the most traumatic financial disasters you can face, and millions of Americans have in the last two years, is losing your job. The key to bouncing back on your feet is to prepare for it ahead of time. There are plenty of things you can do that will soften the blow of being fired, though nothing will completely dampen it, and as long as you put some things in place you can make your life a little easier for the next few months.

The general idea behind the tips in the “While You Have a Job” is to setup a scenario where you don’t feel like you’ve been thrown into the middle of the Pacific Ocean without a life preserver. You want to set things up so that if you are fired, you can bounce back as quickly as possible and those tips, hopefully, put you on that path. The tips in the “When You Are Fired” are a little less novel because the general strategy for finding a new job is pretty well laid out.

I hope this latest edition of the Financial Contingency Plan series helps you out!

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 Credit 
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How to Recover A Stolen Identity

Hail to the Thief!Having your identity stolen is one of the most jarring things that can happen to you and your financial life. It’s difficult in part because of the uncertainty – how it was stolen, where it was stolen, how much of your financial life has been compromised, and the unknown of what the thief could be doing with your name. When someone steals your wallet, you are probably aware of it relatively quickly. When someone steals your identity, it can be months, even years, before you realize it.

In this latest post in the Financial Contingency Plan series, I explain how to prepare for and react to when your identity is stolen.

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 Personal Finance 
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How to Recover From a Stolen Credit Card

Lost Credit CardIf you’ve prepared for losing your wallet, recovering from losing just one credit card is actually quite simple. What’s not as simple is discovering when you’ve actually lost a single card. In our current age of electronic commerce, it’s very easy to “lose” your credit card without actually losing the card. Card skimmers can steal your credit card’s data without you ever knowing it. Ecommerce companies, with lax data security, can experience data breaches that result in your credit card data being stolen.

While credit card companies are becoming very savvy in detecting fraud, as they are on the hook for most of it, they can’t catch everything.

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 Personal Finance 
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Building Your Financial Bug Out Bag

Rusted SafeIt’s the middle of the night and you’re dreaming of a weekend in Paris when your peaceful dream is abruptly interrupted by the screech of a fire alarm. It takes you a second to smell it in the air but it’s unmistakable, something is burning. Now. You drop the floor and crawl to the door, as you were taught in elementary school, and slowly make your way down the stairs and out of your house.

That’s what you imagine you’d do in the event of a house fire (adjust for checking on family members) but chances are, in a minor fire, you’d probably try to save something and, while that would be a mistake, wouldn’t be unreasonable. You’d grab your cell phone, probably your wallet if it was nearby, and then run out the door. If you had more time, next on the list would probably be important financial documents like your birth certificates, social security cards, passports, etc.

That package is your financial bug out bag. A year ago, I called it a financial snatch file but the idea is the same. If you experience an emergency that gives you a few extra minutes to escape, such as your neighbor’s house being on fire (if it’s yours, just get out… you can replace those documents, you can’t replace your life), you want to be able to get out with important documents. This is what you need to do.

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