Japan disaster has impact on local businesses, customers

By Kathy Sweeney - bio | email

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO  (KFVS) - There's little doubt the disaster in Japan will impact that country for years to come.

And here in the Heartland, there are local businesses tracking the short term and long term impact on their customers.

"We are averaging probably five or six alerts every hour", said travel consultant Carolyn Kempf of Elite Travel in Cape Girardeau.

Kempf is keeping a close eye on the constant travel alerts and updates out of Japan, knowing conditions there will impact clients traveling anywhere in Asia for the foreseeable future.

"We obviously have some schedule changes where flights that route through other places in Asia go through Japan, so lots of concern about that", said Kempf.

Kempf said, the disaster in Japan is the kind of event that travel insurance covers.

"So that will be the first thing when people call us that we will be doing is looking to make sure they've insured themselves and have the right to cancel", Kempf explained.

If you booked your trip on your own, Kempf says you should be able to find out if it's affected. Just be patient.

"You probably will see some jamming of phone lines as the call volume begins," she said. "You can use an airline's web page for very current, up to date advice."

Financial Advisor Stan Irwin of Edward Jones in Cape Girardeau has also taken a few calls from his clients concerned about their money since the Japan earthquake and tsunami.

"If we have a plan for a client, it's a long term plan", Irwin explains. "And I try not to react to short term events on a long term plan."

In fact, Irwin calls both the Japan disaster and the uprising in the Middle East short term events that should not have you taking any action when it comes to your current overseas investments.

"You don't, again, sell things change things based on current events", said Irwin.

Irwin says his company encourages clients to make up to 30 percent of their investments overseas.

"We're in a global economy now. You can't just look at U.S. only," he said. "With the Internet and all the commerce around the world, you have to be invested globally."

Irwin actually calls this a good time to consider global investing.

"When you look at a pull back in the market, that's an opportunity to get in, especially on the global front", Irwin said.  "There's been more effect, of course, overseas. So, getting in to global investments right now would be a great opportunity, again for the long haul, for retirement."

According to both Kempf and Irwin, if you are concerned about your own plans or finances, a quick call to the business professional you're working with should answer any questions you have.

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