Have you ever had one of those weeks where everything seems to go wrong? Your car breaks down, your dog keeps throwing up and you need to get him into the vet, and your bathtub starts leaking? This was my life a few weeks ago. I called my friend and she said my life sounded like a country song! I couldn’t agree more. Everything that could go wrong had to happen this week. And if you’re a military spouse, you know this will happen when your spouse is deployed.
Unexpected events happen in life and they can be expensive. An emergency fund is money that you set aside for when a financial hardship arises. Below are three reasons you need to get an emergency fund.
1. An emergency fund gives you a buffer for when life happens. We’ve all had those moments when an unplanned expense comes up. Your tires go out, you have to make an emergency trip to visit family or something else goes wrong. Fill in the blank. What has been your most recent financial emergency that has arisen that wasn’t planned for? If you have 3-6 months of expenses set aside, the hard situation in life might not go away, but it won’t negatively affect your financial situation.
It provides you with security in the case you get injured, loose your job, or the government shuts down and you're not getting paid (I see you Military members). First responders have so many risks associated with their job. Over 200 Law Enforcement Officers have been shot in the line of duty this year. Firefighters have been injured on the job. Maybe your department is amazing or your state has great long term disability requirements that allow for you to get full pay if injured on the job. But, many long term disability programs only pay you about 60% of your salary. Could you survive off of only 60% of your income? Most households could not. Another issue we’ve seen the last two years is first responders and military members losing their jobs after making their own personal medical choices that don’t agree with what the City Council has decided. Countless people have lost their jobs to this. Also, with the war on cops, we’ve seen officers get fired even when following the law and department policy but departments have not supported their officers and officers are suddenly left without pay and high amounts of stress. Having this emergency fund helps you to be prepared for when the bad times come.
2. It keeps you from going into debt. Have you ever had a financial hardship arise but you didn’t have the money to cover it? Did you take out the credit card to cover the cost? Did you take out a personal loan to make ends meet? Having 3-6 months of expenses in savings helps to avoid going into debt. It might take time to build this money up but it will be worth it!
3. It gives you peace. Approximately 72% of Americans are stressed about their finances. Don’t let yourself be one of them. There’s enough stress in life from your job and everything else that comes in daily life. Trauma from the job, stress from administration, shift work, deployments, and more causes plenty of stress to deal with. Worrying about your financial future should not be added to your list of stressors. An emergency fund will provide you some peace of mind and reduce some of your anxiety. When you know you and your family are prepared for the future, it can help you take a deep breath and sleep a little better at night.
Start taking steps towards growing your emergency fund today! You’ll thank yourself next time you need it and it’s available to be used.
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