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Government Shutdown = Emergency Fund Win!

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If you've been able to tear yourself away from the Breaking Bad hype, you've probably heard something about a looming government shutdown tonight. As regular readers know, I try not to get into politics. I'm not going to go into the details of why and how the government shutdown may happen. There are a number of news outlets who are better informed on the topic if you are interested.

Today, I want to write about the government shutdown's impact on one family - mine.

I realize that most people aren't directly impacted by a shutdown and much of this talk about the government shutdown may amount to jibber jabber in their mind. After all, do we really care if some people are going to lose their iPhones?

For our family a prolonged government shutdown is more financially dangerous . My wife's military status means she has to work to pick up the slack from the government workers who are prohibited from working in a shutdown. Because the government can't pay people in a shutdown, she'll get IOUs from the government.

The result of the situation is more work paired with no spendable paycheck. I joke about the IOUs and call them illiquid, non-interest bearing treasury bonds. However, it's not a joking matter, especially for families that don't have a sizable emergency fund.

The hope is that any shutdown will be short-lived and military won't have piles of IOUs stack up from the government. I wouldn't put the odds of a prolonged government shutdown as high, but there's always a risk.

Of more immediate impact for us is that military leave gets cancelled. Any travel plans are cancelled and you are left on your own to take the financial loss. We have airline tickets, hotel reservations, car rental reservations, and dog boarding reservations and that leads to scrambling to find out what the penalty is to cancel. So far every organization has been sympathetic, except for United Airlines. They want to be sticklers about the cancellation policy and take $200 out of each ticket to reschedule for another time.

In many posts in the past, I've written about various military benefits that we receive. Our situation is still decidedly in the plus column. Nonetheless, there's always the threat of a looming emergency. That's we are we this week. It should get interesting.

Update: Well this post has become much more meaningless. It seems that Obama signed a bill to ensure that the military still gets paid (no IOUs). It also turns out that there is a law on the books that if granted leave is rescinded the government has to reimburse for losses... which is enough to stop them from rescinding leave. Getting new leave granted though, that's a different story.

P.S. I don't watch Breaking Bad, but I think I'm going to try to marathon it in a couple of months while the wife is on maternity leave.

Last updated on October 1, 2013.

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5 Responses to “Government Shutdown = Emergency Fund Win!”

  1. Maria says:

    I feel your pain, Lazy Man. I’m one of the Feds who’s in the same figurative boat as your wife. There are many of us civil servants who’ll remain on the job, either because of the nature of our work and/or because our jobs are not funded through annual appropriations. As of now, it seems like we won’t be paid until after the shutdown ends. Let’s hope this is resolved soon.

  2. I am not directly affected by the government shutdown, be we are all affected in some ways, such as gov’t workers not being allowed to provide services. I hope people who are not allowed to work do have good emergency funds in place.

  3. […] Man @ Lazy Man and Money writes Government Shutdown – Emergency Fund Win! – For our family a prolonged government shutdown is more financially dangerous . My […]

  4. Katy says:

    I’m with you on the frustrations of the whole government shutdown issue. There has been a bit of extra stress in out house with it all since my man is a vet and we weren’t sure if he would get his VA Disability or his GI Bill for school. Thankfully they came for October, now we just wait to see for November…

  5. […] Man @ Lazy Man and Money writes Government Shutdown – Emergency Fund Win! – For our family a prolonged government shutdown is more financially dangerous . My […]

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