Smart Money: The Cost of Climate Change: Preparing for the Worst

Welcome to NerdWallet’s Smart Money podcast, where we answer your real-world money questions.

This week’s episode wraps up our nerdy deep dive into the broad effects of climate change on personal finances, with a focus on how to manage a natural disaster.

Check out this episode on either of these platforms:

Our take

Are you ready for a natural disaster? The time to ask that question is now — not when the disaster is bearing down on your home.

In the final episode of our nerdy deep dive into the intersections of personal finance and climate change, NerdWallet insurance editor Caitlin Constantine and host Sean Pyles discuss a 2019 report from the Urban Institute, which found that the financial impacts of natural disasters linger long after the disaster has passed. The researchers discovered that credit scores drop and rates of bankruptcy and foreclosure increase in the years after natural disasters. They also found that the impacts are more pronounced for people who live through medium-sized disasters, which are less likely to draw long-term recovery funding, and for people who were already struggling financially.

Caitlin also talks with Kate Bulger, senior director of business development for Money Management International, a nonprofit financial counseling agency. In this role, Kate is involved with MMI’s work supporting people who are rebuilding their finances after natural disasters. They discuss the obstacles that prevent people from preparing for disasters as well as steps people can take to get ready. That includes doing a home inventory, ensuring you have enough home insurance and paying down your debt now.

Have a money question? Text or call us at 901-730-6373. Or you can email us at To hear previous episodes, go to the podcast homepage.

Caitlin Constantine writes for NerdWallet. Email:

Sean Pyles writes for NerdWallet. Email: Twitter: @SeanPyles.

Tess Vigeland writes for NerdWallet. Email:

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