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How this advisor is facing down Hurricane Florence

I underestimated Hurricane Matthew. It’s not a mistake I’ll make again with Hurricane Florence.

Back in 2016 I had laughed because Matthew is the name of both my husband and business partner. I also didn’t prepare my home or business for the storm. I wasn’t laughing when the hurricane unexpectedly hit my town of Raleigh, North Carolina. Limbs started crashing down on my house, trees were falling around us and I tried to keep my 2-year-old and 5-year-old calm. We did not have power for eight days.

I learned my lesson about being prepared.

But what does being prepared really mean in the face of disaster? Here are some of the measures I’ve put in place.

Our systems are all cloud based, including our phone. As long as we have data or internet, plus power on our devices, our firm operates business as usual. We have prepared a written communication to clients about our disaster recovery plan and our expected availability. Personally, my husband and I decided not to evacuate. We want to be present in case of flooding or more tree damage. In preparation, we have downloaded the Zello walkie-talkie app to better communicate with friends and family.

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What about building security during and after the storm? We reached out to our landlord and he assured us the building will be locked and the security system has a backup. We are moving desks away from windows and locking all interior office doors to protect those areas in case outer doors are compromised.

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That’s not the end of it. As a multigenerational practice, we have clients who recently moved to North Carolina to be with their kids/grandkids. We have reached out to them and other clients who might be affected by the storm to share our support. For some, this is their first hurricane experience.

We examined our calendar for the week and postponed all client and prospective client meetings. If clients own businesses that could be impacted (like restaurants) or have small children, we asked if they wanted to discuss financial preparations or instead hold off to focus on storm preparation.

I was gratified to receive an email from an executive at our independent advisory and brokerage firm, Triad Advisors, offering their support. I requested a dedicated person so that our clients can continue without disruption the client support they are used to experiencing.

Hopefully the preparation measures were a waste of time, but if not we are ready.

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