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How to Financially Plan for Natural Disasters and Other Unexpected Events

Posted by Seton McAndrews | CFP®, Vice President Investments

January 31, 2018

2017 was a historic year for multiple reasons, but perhaps none more impactful than in the context of natural disasters here in the United States. 2017 was a record year when it came to cumulative damages from “weather events,” with the total cost reaching $306.2 billion. This number shattered the previous record set in 2005 of $214.8 billion, which was disproportionately caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

When people think about 2017 in terms of natural disasters, Hurricane Harvey, Irma, Maria, and the California wildfires probably come immediately to mind. But there were also hail storms in Colorado and Minnesota, drought and fire in the Plains states, three sizable tornado outbreaks, and flooding in California last February. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration created this insightful graphic detailing the major weather events, many of which may still come as a surprise. In all, there were 16 weather events whose damages exceeded $1 billion.

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