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You may feel like your finances are in order right now, but would you be prepared if life threw you a financial curve ball, like an unexpected problem with your home, medical expenses, or unemployment?

Here are some ways every woman can prepare financially for whatever comes next.

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Be aware of your current financial situation

If you don’t usually handle your family’s finances, do an audit of your family’s financial accounts.

“Make sure you know where all your accounts are held,” says Samantha Melting, SVP, Consumer Banking at Synchrony. “[Take note of] account numbers, current balance and payment amounts, and how to access accounts: passwords, user IDs, website address, etc. This includes bank, retirement and insurance accounts.”

Melting recommends that you keep a record of this information in a secure location.

“This becomes very important if someone else, such as a partner or spouse, is taking care of your finances and you suddenly find yourself in a difficult time trying to figure it out,” she said. “I wasn’t prepared for the loss of my husband, who managed our finances, and finding out after the fact was very difficult and added to my grief.”

Build an emergency fund

Another important way to prepare for an unexpected life event is to have an emergency fund that can help you weather the financial effects of the event without going into debt. Ideally, you should have three to six months of living expenses saved in an emergency fund.

To help your funds grow faster, consider putting your money in a certificate of deposit. While traditional certificates of deposit charge you a penalty for withdrawing funds before the CD’s maturity, Synchrony’s option lets you access your funds penalty-free, which is especially helpful if you need money to cover unexpected expenses.

Another option for your emergency fund is a high-yield savings account. This account has no minimum balance or deposit requirements and no monthly fees.

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Develop an estate plan

To prepare for the unexpected loss of a partner, it is important to create an estate plan.

“Have a plan, will or estate plan that takes into account the transfer of wealth and assets,” says Hilary Fiorella, executive director of the American College’s Women’s Center for Financial Services. “Make sure you have a living will, power of attorney and durable power of attorney for any health care needs.”

Reevaluate your financial goals

After any life-changing event, it’s important to make sure you get your finances back on track so you’re ready for the next curve ball.

“It’s time to reset your financial goals to reflect your new life,” Melting said.

This is especially true if you have experienced the loss of a partner.

“Are you saving enough for retirement if you’re the only one saving for it now? How should your lifestyle adjust to the potential loss of income?’ Halting said: “This is the time to evaluate your spending, savings, and investments to meet your short-term and long-term goals.”

After major life changes, it may be beneficial to seek professional guidance.

“You may be comfortable making these decisions on your own, but it’s also good to seek help from experts to help you create a plan that works for you,” Melting said. “This can be a stressful time in your life, but making this investment in yourself now will strengthen your future financial success.”

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This article originally appeared on 4 ways women can prepare their finances for unexpected life-changing events

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and may not reflect the views of Nasdaq, Inc.


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