Ask five of your friends if it’s important to have money saved for an emergency, and you’ll likely get five affermative answers. Now ask the same five friends if they have such an account, and you’ll probably get some resounding no’s.
Yeah, what do they know?!
We’ve all heard from financial experts over and over again how important it is to have an emergency fund. “Three to six months expenses in a savings account or a money market account,” they say, and we think to ourselves, “yeah, that sounds like a good idea…” But look at our accounts in a month or two and nothing has changed. What’s the problem?
For one thing, saving for emergencies isn’t too exciting. It’s much more fun to spend a few hundred dollers on a weekend getaway, new set of clothes, or a night out with friends that to put money into an account for “future unexpected expenses.” Some of us also balk at the thought of earning a measley 1% interest in a money maket account when we could easily average 10% in the stock market. Emergency funds aren’t slick, cool, or sophisticated, so we’re tempted to consider them optional.
The problem is, that unexpected things do tend to happen, and on a long enough timeline, they’ll happen to all of us. Just think about this for a minute: do you know anyone who has been laid off from a job? Or someone who’s gotten hurt or sick and required hospitalization? Do you think that person expected those things to happen to them?
Knowledge gained vs. knowledge applied
Of course, we all know people in these situations, and we understand intellectually that having money saved is very important in such times. The problem is, we just don’t connect it to our lives. We assimilate the knowledge in our heads, but our hands never carry out any action to create change. We delude ourselves into believing the lie, “that won’t ever happen to me, I’m special!”
While every TotalThriver reader is special to me, you don’t have any unnatural abilities to avoid emergencies. In the next several years, you’ll very likely encounter a layoff, sickness, injury, or family situation where a fully-funded savings account will be of great value. Like our discussion regarding insurance, these financial foundations are often not appreciated until they’re needed. And by that time, it’s too late to prepare.
A choice today affects life tomorrow
Those who succeed with life and money are those who understand the long-term consequences of decisions they make each day. They realize that the decision they make today to forgo a trip to the beach to save money for an emergency will pay them dividends in the future when their house gets flooded and they have money to pay for a hotel room.
Will you apply these concepts to your life? Will you commit to eliminating one fun thing from your expenditures this month, and put that money toward an emergency fund? If you will set a goal that includes a total amount to be saved along with a timeline to meet that goal, you’re well on your way to financial security. Not only that, but you’ll have put into practice the habit of acquiring knowledge and applying it toward long-term success, an ability that will bring prosperity and peace to many other aspects of your life as well.