When I think about the unexpected financial expenses the first thing that comes to mind is emergency funds. Most of the experts agree that having 6 months of income set aside for a financial emergency is necessary. In my head, that financial emergency is almost always the loss of a job. Perhaps that’s because I’ve been there when I lost my job in the dot com melt-down of 2001. (In many ways, I think that’s where the “work smarter, not harder” attitude of Lazy Man was born. I had worker pretty hard and rose up the ranks in the company – until the company was bought by another. All the social capital I created was worthless with the new management.)
While job loss is certainly a very valid reason to have an emergency fund (especially so in today’s economy), lately I’ve been thinking about bigger problems. What about health care? I have very good health insurance, but many aren’t so fortunate. What if my mom’s health care is lacking and I have to take care of her? What if my brother hasn’t listened to me about getting life insurance to ensure that his two newborns are provided for in the Worst Case Scenario? These costs can transcend the costs of 6 months of income.
Perhaps I’m becoming a worry-wart, trying to figure out all the ways that my hopes (and plans) for early retirement won’t be derailed. I can’t possibly cover every scenario, can I? I can’t have insurance for every possible occurrence, right? Yet, accepting defeat doesn’t right either. There are people who can withstand unexpected expenses.
I’m starting to realize that I not only have to plan for the security of myself and my family, but I have to plan for others as well. Does anyone else spend time thinking about this before it happens or do they simply react after the fact?