Some people find themselves in real financial trouble because they don't have any sort of rainy day fund. Even relatively small problems can devastate an unprotected budget if they occur in quick secession.
Some people find themselves in real financial trouble because they don't have any sort of rainy day fund. Even relatively small problems can devastate an unprotected budget if they occur in quick secession. Many people seem to think that these problems will never come. Those that enjoy financial prosperity sometimes convince themselves that the sunny days of income outweighing expense will last forever. But as surely as the seasons change from summer to fall, the rain will eventually come. Could any of these money-sucking problems happen to you? Are you financially ready?
1. Kid's expenses
Your child needs braces. Or, is accepted for study abroad. Or, joins a sports team and has to pay for her own gear.
2. Car repairs
The transmission in your car fails. Or the engine does. Or the brakes, tires, air conditioner, or starter motor. These will all cost you dearly.
3. Home repair
Your refrigerator dies. Or, the dishwasher, washing machine, dryer or other household appliance.
4. Medical bills
You twist your ankle and need to visit the emergency room and take three days off from work. Or, your appendix bursts. Or, heaven forbid, your heart.
5. Expensive replacements
. Your child loses his rented trumpet, meaning that he not only needs to pay for the one he lost, but also needs to rent a new one.
6. Pink slips
You lose your job.
7. Natural disasters
Your home is damaged in a storm and you have a $500 insurance deductible. Or your home is flooded but you have no flood insurance at all.
8. Accidental damage
Your spouse is involved in an accident with an uninsured driver and your insurance won’t pay for the rental car you’ll need for two weeks while your car is being repaired.
You’re mugged at an ATM pulling out $400 for the week. Or walking out of the bank after cashing your $1200 paycheck.
10. Electronic troubles
Your laptop, smartphone, tablet computer, or other device falls into a puddle (through no fault of your own).
Life isn’t fair. In fact, sometimes it is downright unfair. Some of the problems listed above could require thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars to fix, and there are certainly more possible dangers in everyday life than the ones I've mentioned. The key to financial disaster preparedness is to have some money set aside for when you really need it. When you use that money — and be sure to do so only in an emergency — try to focus on replenishing it as soon as possible. Remember, there's nothing preventing another emergency from occurring directly on the heels of the first.
You know the old saying: it wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark. If you are young, you may not yet have encountered any of life’s little problems, but make no mistake, they will come. While it would be great if we could all have a million dollars of emergency money in the bank, the truth is that we can get a lot of practical protection from having just a few thousand dollars in a savings account where we can get it at any time the rain starts to fall.
Devin Thorpe, husband, father, author of Your Mark On The World and a popular guest speaker, is a Forbes Contributor. Building on a twenty-five year career in finance and entrepreneurship that included $500 million in completed transactions, he now champions social good full time, seeking to help others succeed in their efforts to make the world a better place.