It has happened too many times.
That we save up some money and start to feel good about our finances.
Then, a financial emergency comes along and wipes it all away,
We are back to square one.
Leaves us all frustrated!
But how can we jump off this perpetual roller coaster without getting hurt?
We need to decide what is a Financial Emergency Kit, before getting to that there is another question that needs to be answered first and that is what can actually be the financial emergencies that we may find ourselves in need the financial emergency Kit:
Unexpected Job Loss:
Even if you’re amazing at your job, you may be laid off or otherwise unable to work. You’ll need to be prepared for that kind of income shortfall as well. You will also want to start reducing your expenses and attempting to increase your income in other ways.
Unexpected Medical/Dental Expenses:
If you or someone in your family suddenly becomes ill and your health insurance doesn’t cover all of the cost, you may need to pay some of those bills immediately.
Just don’t forget to get a health insurance, so under certain emergencies, you can negotiate these costs with your insurance and at least get some relaxation when the emergency arises and pay less than full price for a certain emergency.
If you have a family member that suddenly falls ill or pass away, you may have some unexpected travel, which may create a dent in the budget and may create a financial emergency causing strain on your mental peace.
Unexpected Car Expenses:
If your primary vehicle needs immediate repair so you can continue to work, so that is the cost that needs immediate attention.
Natural disasters are something that is unforeseen yet there are certain things that we prepare ourselves against by getting Insurance that covers many natural disasters, but you may discover certain specific expenses are not included or that your insurance plan doesn’t reference specific disasters, so it may be one of the things that check your financial emergency checkbox.
Major home repairs:
If your roof starts to leak, all of a sudden in a rainy season you’ll need to fix it immediately. Some home issues could render your house unlivable, and others will only increase in severity the longer you allow them to go unaddressed.
This kind of emergency is inevitable and needs to be handled on an urgent basis, so yeah some plan/alternative should be there for this unknown-unknown risk, that may arise at an unexpected time creating a chaos in your financial calendar.
What’s an Emergency Fund Anyway?
An emergency fund is simply defined as an account where you set aside funds/measures/policies to be used for unexpected expenses. It’s a “just in case” account.
You want to have something that mitigates risks, so you don’t need to rely on debt when a financial emergency inevitably arises.
A long-term financial emergency arises (i.e. job loss, the death of your parents, spouse) so that you can weather the storm much longer.
What are the Essentials of your Financial Emergency Kit?
Some of the things that are important to face/overcome your financial catastrophe can be as follows
Estate planning is really the highest form of financial emergency planning because it addresses the ultimate personal financial emergencies, medical exhaustion or death.
Make sure your family has an easy access to this material if something happens to you or your loved one your emergency kit includes, estate documents would include copies of current wills (for you and your spouse or partner, children etc.), your advanced directives health/financial powers of attorney (which designate specific individuals to step in to manage your money or healthcare if you cannot do so) as well as other documents that provide additional guidance for operating businesses and managing and distributing other assets you have.
Make sure these documents are always current and that contact information is included for all the qualified experts you took assistance to prepare them estate or business attorneys, tax professionals and financial planners.
Having insurance policies such as (life, car, home) is an important and wise decision one can make regarding your assets, they are your coverage against a natural disaster or any uncertain situation, but it’s important to think a little more broadly. File as much policy and contact detail as you can for any health, disability, business, life and accident coverage you have and remember that it’s particularly important to note or file documentation on this coverage at work, too. Sometimes we sign up rather blindly for work-based benefits only to realize how important they may be in a financial emergency.
Set some cash aside:
Plan for at least three months’ worth of expenses, the size of your emergency fund will vary based on your personal risk tolerance, the types of emergencies you’re most likely to encounter, and your personal circumstances (including your income).
However, it is recommended that you set aside at least three months’ worth of expenses and preferably six months or more. You need to know how much you spend in a typical month and plan to cover at least three months to be safe.
Only use the fund for real emergencies. Once you have established such a fund, don’t tap into it for anything else. This isn’t a reserve of handy extra money you can use for a vacation nor is it a surplus for splurging on Ramadan and festivals gift shopping. The fund is only for emergencies and shouldn’t be touched until you’re forced to cover an expense that your regular income can’t absorb.
Have a backup plan:
If your emergency fund isn’t enough to cover an unexpected expense/ condition you need to have backup plans do you have in place.
It may seem redundant to have an emergency fund to cover your emergency fund, but you’ll be glad that backup parachute is there if you should need it, Credit cards, it helps in keeping the insulating layer of funds if needed in emergency, make your retirement plans so you don’t have to work when you can have some peaceful time, establish college savings for your children, to meet the needs when time be and obviously, you shouldn’t use them unless you have to.
If you can, try to prevent emergencies before they occur, Invest in solid insurance policies that protect you from the bulk of unplanned expenses you’d otherwise face. Take care of your home with upgrades and as-needed repairs, get regular medical checkups and keep your vehicle in good running condition.
What about the Other Financial Emergencies? What about all of those other expenses that depleted your savings in the past?
There are things like gifts, vacations, insurance premiums, school field trips, sports uniforms, etc., right?
Those types of expenses are not emergencies; they’re not even unexpected, they just occur at irregular intervals. If you sit down and think through these types of expenses, you can plan more appropriately for them.
For example, if you know that you’re going to spend PKR 50, 000 during the holidays, you need to start saving several months in advance. Even some of the expenses you think are unexpected (i.e. school field trips), are actually not, you know they’re going to occur, but maybe just not when. Just set some money aside for these types of expenses on a monthly basis and dip into it when needed.
Plan Ahead for these Irregular Expenses
One of the best ways to plan ahead for irregular expenses is to create an annual budget,by viewing the next 12 months of income and expenses, you can see if an irregular expense will fit into the month it normally occurs. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to start setting aside money for the expense several months in advance.
For example, if your child’s college fee is PKR 60, 000 and it’s due every six months, you might want to save PKR 20, 000 per month for the three months before the fee is due.
If you can’t budget PKR 20, 000 per month, you need to start saving PKR 10, 000 per month for six months before the fee is due.
By planning ahead, you’ll have the money set aside and you can pay the bill without having to dip into your emergency fund or worse, having to take on debt.
Here’s what you to do should do:
Grab a blank piece of paper and think about all of the irregular expenses you have throughout the year. You may need to look at your statements to help jog your memory.
• Write these expenses down and include the dates you need to pay them and how much they normally cost.
• Create an annual budget and start plugging in these irregular expenses.
• Adjust the expenses in your annual budget until you’re able to not go over budget in any given month.
• Start saving for these expenses in separate savings accounts
• Pull the money when the bill is due and start saving for the next time!
Building a financial emergency kit requires some thinking, but it can help you avoid major losses and speed up decision making in a crisis. Work with people you trust to make it accessible and useful to your family and trusted individuals, as well the expenditures which are irregular sort it out beforehand by setting aside some funds and not mixing or overlapping it your emergency funds as emergency funds are just for emergencies so, If you find yourself facing a major life crisis, you would be prepared to handle the financial fallout.