If you don’t already have one I’m here to tell you why you, especially with family to care for, you absolutely need an emergency fund established.
My husband is currently in a precarious position with his job. There are some possible issues on the horizon regarding the stability of the company and the direction he’ll go in professionally. He is well-liked and educated in his area of work and I know he’ll land on his feet but the thought of something happening while he’s lining all his ducks in a row scares me. We can’t afford to have him off work for more than a few days at this point in our lives.
We are not currently in a position to have a large emergency fund of the standard three to six months’ worth of expenses. While we’re working on paying off the rest of our student debt and car loan, we have a small emergency fund that won’t float us more than two weeks if something does happens to his job.
Losing a Job
Reason #42764 I want to get this debt paid off is to beef up our savings so if we’re ever in a situation with one of our jobs we don’t have to worry. Especially when children are involved you need to be prepared for the possibility that something may happen to your employment situation regardless of how secure your job may seem. Unforeseen circumstances are always a possibility. You need to be prepared if your financial safety net (ability to bring in income) come out from underneath you.
The second biggest reason why your family needs an emergency fund is medically related. We always hope something doesn’t or won’t happen but bad things happen to good people all of the time and you need to be prepared. There’s nothing worse than having stresses, especially financial, on top of being sick or caring for a sick family member. There is a local family of five and both parents, within two weeks of each other, were diagnosed with two different forms of cancer. Life isn’t always fair. They have managed to rally the community together to help the children in any way possible because the family has a long road ahead of them. With a proper emergency fund in place the parents can focus on overcoming this illness rather than how they’re going to afford the childcare bill or keeping the house warm this winter.
It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as getting diagnosed with cancer though. My husband was diagnosed two years ago with something that requires regular medication, the initial few weeks of medication and supplies, even with private insurance, still cost us a few hundred, un-budgeted for, dollars. It was after this diagnosis that we started saving for our emergency fund. The stress of the unknowns, and how it could possibly effect his ability to work (leading to decrease in pay) was enough to scare me.
Life is unpredictable. No matter how well you forecast, there will always be unexpected expenses, if you have the funds in place to pay for them you can move through life relatively stress free.