FINANCIAL STORM APPROACHING... BE PREPARED!
"Only one-third of Americans say that they have a basic family emergency plan
— fewer than made the same claim a year ago. This alarming lack of preparedness
is practically a disaster in itself." -AMERICAN RED CROSS Survey, July 2004
The tragedy of Katrina has touched every American's heart. The outpouring of donations, housing, health care, etc., once again demonstrates that what makes America great... is that America is good!
The suffering in New Orleans reminds us all just how vulnerable we are to disasters which may seem like only a remote possibility. It also reveals two major types of responses during any crisis; 1) Prepared -- with a plan and resources OR 2) Unprepared -- without any plan nor any resources.
Thankfully 85% of the New Orleans citizens, almost a million people, followed an evacuation plan and made it to a safe place. But the other 15% either decided to stay or were unable to leave once the levee broke and flood waters were rising. As the old saying goes, "Better to be a year early than a day late".
Today Katrina victims are still in desperate need of healing from; life disruption, economic damage, family loss, physical and emotional trauma. Thankfully an army of compasionate Americans have come to the rescue -- led by local and national private charities and churches -- in addition to the $51 billion in government assistance Congress just approved.
Natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina can often serve as a 'wake-up call' so that we might be more prepared for the next disaster. Lessons must be learned now about the importance of assessing our level of preparedness for any natural disaster, terrorist attack or financial crisis. The key is getting the right plan in place beforehand and then taking decisive action.
We believe the greatest national risk in the wake of Katrina is financial.
Few Americans are prepared for any financial disruption or a dramatic shift in asset values. Prepare we must, or face the consequences of our procrastination.
ECONOMIC STORM TO FOLLOW KATRINA
The trickle down economic costs of Hurricane Katrina have yet to be felt. The cost of interrupted economic activity tops $100 million a day and will top $100-200 billion, according to some experts. Here are some of the major financial risks facing all Americans...
1) A spike in already-high energy costs tops the list of financial risks. Especially given that oil prices are unlikely to return to the levels of early 2004, when they were 50 percent lower than they are now at $65 a barrel.
2) Unleaded gasoline now averages $2.86 a gallon nationwide. An increase of about 15 cents in less than a week, costing consumers an additional $57 million a day. Few Americans are prepared for the winter price shock that petroleum-related products will have on their budget.
3) Hurricane Katrina will slow down U.S. economic growth. Forecasts for U.S. economic growth in the fourth quarter have dropped from 3.5 percent, on an annualized basis, to 2.5 percent. And that is probably what the gross domestic product will average for all of 2006.
4) Fed officials, fearing the inflationary impact of Katrina, will likely vote to raise rates another quarter-percentage point to 3.75 percent on Sept. 20, 2005. The Fed must take the long view on the inflationary risks to the economy as gas prices hover near historic highs.
5) Debt crisis ahead: The huge U.S. current account deficit is expected to reach $665 billion this year, or 6.3% of GDP in 2005, 7% in 2006, and 8% of GDP in 2008. Now add a budget deficit of over $400 billion and that's a trillion in new red in this year alone! On a personal level, national saving rates are at or near zero. If housing deflates, watch out below!
6) U.S. Dollar weakness, on a long-term basis may accelerate in 2006. Devaluing the dollar is the free market's way of correcting the U.S. trade deficit. The result is a declining dollar, leading to higher interest rates and higher inflation, further squeezing consumer spending and/or saving.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PREPARE FINANCIALLY
If tommorrow a disaster struck (natural, terrorism, financial) how would you feed your family? Are your assets liquid and dependable in a crisis situation?
Being prepared for any financial disaster will take some careful planning. Given the potential risks of a rising cost of living, a falling dollar, and our unsustainable debt levels, now is the time to "keep your powder dry" as they say. But how?
In the midst of the coming financial storm, owning gold will be more of a neccesity than a luxury. Consider this top-10 list of the exclusive features gold and silver coin assets offer today...
1) DIVERSIFICATION - portfolio must include tangible assets like gold and silver.
2) PROTECTION - offers safety from market volatility
3) PRIVACY - offers investor privacy of ownership
4) RETURN - offers investors above average profit potential
5) PORTABILITY - provides investors freedom to travel with wealth
6) DEPENDABILITY - growth under intense pressure, similar to post 9-11
7) LONG TERM - provides peace of mind for retirement planning
8) LIQUIDITY - offers instant liquidity worldwide
9) RELATIVE VALUE - "Buy low, sell high" strategy, oil high, gold low
10) TRANSFERABILITY - offers heirs simple, non-taxed transfer.
Add it all up and we think you'll agree these may be the most compelling reasons to own gold and silver coins we've ever seen in American history!
Remember, during a crisis there are two types of people -- prepared and unprepared. In a crisis there is also both opportunity and danger. Swiss America would like to help you discover how to become prepared for opportunity... and to steer clear of danger. Call 800-289-2646 to discuss a tangible asset strategy today.
9-12-05 -- A financial game plan for disaster -Dallas Morning News ... some actual gold coins aren't a bad idea, either, if you can afford them and can safeguard them. Choose coins with the highest gold content and keep a collector's guide with your stash that shows how much gold is in them. Get a rider added to your homeowner's policy to protect the value of the coins from theft.
NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS MONTH
"National Preparedness Month" was first launched in September 2004. Swiss America released an educational resource on DVD and CD; "A CITIZEN'S GUIDE TO COUNTERTERRORISM, exposing the strategy of radical Islamic terrorists and offering five specific steps (listen) to be prepared for any type of terrorism, disaster or other emergency.
Today Americans need tangible steps to ramp up their personal, family and financial security on a household level, while the governments and private corporations do the same. Public response to the DVD was universally 'excellent' as tens of thousands were distributed free of charge to the public over the last year. [Request a FREE copy]
Finding out what can happen is the first step. Once you have determined the events possible and their potential in your community, it is important to discuss them with your family or household. Develop a disaster plan together.
1. Create an emergency communications plan.
Choose an out-of-town contact your family or household will call or e-mail to check on each other should a disaster occur. Your selected contact should live far enough away that they would be unlikely to be directly affected by the same event, and they should know they are the chosen contact. Make sure every household member has that contact's, and each other's, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers (home, work, pager and cell). Leave these contact numbers at your children's schools, if you have children, and at your workplace. Your family should know that if telephones are not working, they need to be patient and try again later or try e-mail.
2. Establish a meeting place.
Having a predetermined meeting place away from your home will save time and minimize confusion should your home be affected or the area evacuated. You may even want to make arrangements to stay with a family member or friend in case of an emergency. Be sure to include any pets in these plans, since pets are not permitted in shelters and some hotels will not accept them.
3. Assemble a disaster supplies kit.
If you need to evacuate your home or are asked to "shelter in place", having some essential supplies on hand will make you and your family more comfortable. Prepare a disaster supplies kit in an easy-to-carry container such as a duffel bag or small plastic trash can. Include "special needs" items for any member of your household (infant formula or items for people with disabilities or elderly people), first aid supplies (including prescription medications), a change of clothing for each household member, a sleeping bag or bedroll for each, a battery powered radio or television and extra batteries, food, bottled water and tools. It is also a good idea to include some cash and copies of important family documents (birth certificates, passports and licenses) in your kit. Copies of essential documents-like powers of attorney, birth and marriage certificates, insurance policies, life insurance beneficiary designations and a copy of your will-should also be kept in a safe location outside your home. A safe deposit box or the home of a friend or family member who lives out of town is a good choice.
For more information on putting together a disaster plan, request a copy of the brochure titled "Your Family Disaster Plan" (A4466) from your local American Red Cross chapter. You may also want to request a copy of "Before Disaster Strikes" . . . "How to Make Sure You're Financially Prepared" (A5075) for specific information on what you can do now to protect your assets.
During September, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the American Red Cross will urge all Americans to take some simple steps to become better prepared for emergencies including:
* Get a Kit - Get a kit of emergency supplies that will allow you and your family to survive for at least three days in the event an emergency happens. Go to www.ready.gov and www.redcross.org/preparedness for a complete list of recommended supplies.
* Make a Plan - Plan in advance what you and your family will do in an emergency. Go to www.ready.gov and www.redcross.org/preparedness for more information and templates to help get you started.
* Be Informed - Learn more about different threats that could affect your community and appropriate responses to them. Go to www.ready.gov and www.redcross.org/preparedness for more information about natural disasters and potential terrorist threats.
* Get Involved - After preparing yourself and your family for possible emergencies, take the next step: get training in first aid and emergency response and get involved in preparing your community. Visit www.citizencorps.gov or www.redcross.org/preparedness to find out about training and volunteer opportunities through your local Citizen Corps Council or American Red Cross Chapter.
DISCLAIMER: All of the provided information is believed to be accurate, however errors are possible. Past performance of any investment is no guarantee of future performance. All investments have risk.