Emergencies Can Derail Your Life and Finances, So Learning How to Manage Them is Crucial.
Let’s talk a little bit about emergencies. Emergencies are just a part of life. You can’t control when they come or how often. So what do you do when they happen? Are you prepared?
I know I little bit about emergencies, as I’ve been through a few of my own. So when the inevitable happens, what should you do? And how can you go about weathering the storm and making it through and emerging in the best financial shape as possible?
Calm Down, and Just Breathe
When you first get the bad news, just breathe. When you first discover that issue with your house, just breathe. And when your world comes crashing down, just breathe. I know it’s certainly easier to say now, than it will be to do in the moment. But above all else, you need to be as calm as you can and just breathe.
I was cleaning my gutters one calm spring day, and I noticed that there was quite a bit a silt and fine stones collected in the bottoms of my gutters. I thought it was unusual simply because gutters normally contain leaves, pine needles, or other organic material. They normally don’t collect stones.
Then I looked closer at my roof, and I realized that the stones in the gutters were from the shingles on my roof!! The grayish color of the shingles was actually the fiberglass reinforcement showing through. My roof was completely worn out!
And to make matters worse, there was a fist sized hole where a portion of the roof was sagging away from the adjoining roof section.
I was mortified. I needed a new roof ASAP!! But instead of panicking, I grabbed some plastic and covered the hole. And then I calmly broke the news to my wife. Breathe. Just breathe.
You won’t be any good to anybody if you’re frazzled and in a panic. Because, you can’t make any decisions in this state. You need to be calm and rational.
Evaluate Your Options, and Make a Solid Gameplan.
Think through your options. Is there anything that needs to be done right now? If not, wait a little bit until your emotions start to calm, and you can think more clearly. What do you need to fix this situation? Do you need help? Is your emergency fund strong? And do you have time to save more money?
The last thing you need in the middle of an emergency is to create another one by borrowing money. Debt is never the answer for an emergency!! You may think it’s an easy way out, but it’s a trap too many people have fallen for. You don’t need more stress and anxiety in your life. Figure out how to pay for whatever it is without debt.
In my situation, obviously, nothing was going to happen that day. And it wasn’t even supposed to rain for while. So we had some time. We called around and got some roofers to come out and take a look at our roof. One of them commented that it was one of the worst roofs he’d ever seen. While that didn’t make us feel any better, we did realize the seriousness of the situation.
And because it wasn’t immediately leaking, we decided on a roofer we felt comfortable with, and got on his schedule. He wasn’t planning on putting our new roof on for at least another month, but at least we had a plan. And having a plan can make all the difference. You no longer feel as stressed and insecure. Because you know it will be taken care of soon.
Stay the Course, and Rebuild Your Emergency Fund.
Those weeks of waiting for our roof to be replaced were difficult. Don’t get me wrong. Every time a rain storm would come up, I would run outside to make sure the plastic was still in place, and water wasn’t pouring into our house. But I knew it would eventually get fixed. So all we could do was stay the course, and save up as much money as we could in the meantime.
The best advice I can give you is to follow through on your plan. And get through the emergency. You can make it. The sun will rise tomorrow, and God is in control!! No matter what it feels like now, stay the course.
And once you’ve made it through, you can start to pick up the pieces and rebuild your life. You can start by rebuilding your emergency fund. And if you didn’t have one before, hopefully you’ve learned that you need one. Now is the time to start saving for the next emergency.
Emergencies can happen anytime to anyone. They don’t discriminate. But it may be less of an emergency if you’re prepared for it. Remember to stay as calm as possible and evaluate your options.
Likely a course of action will present itself, and you’ll be able to weather the storm (pun intended). If you need to use your emergency fund . . . break the glass and use it. That’s what it’s for. Use it, and then replenish it later. Better to have an emergency fund and use it, than to push your emergency down the road by borrowing money.
And lastly, having a good support system around you is key. Family, friends, or others you can trust can you help you through whatever you’re going through. Don’t ever think that you’re alone. We all are in this thing called life together, and helping others is part of life.
How about you? Have you had some life emergencies? How did you handle them?
Let me know in the comments, and thanks as always for reading and sharing. I appreciate each and every one of you faithful readers.