The government has reopened! But my heart goes out to the many people who went more than a month without pay. Yes…they are going to be paid now, even if they were furloughed during the partial shutdown. But that doesn’t take the sting out of not having the money when expected.
I, like so many, live paycheck to paycheck. I have a tiny bit of savings, a really tiny stock portfolio, and a retirement fund. I do not have the recommended three-to-six months of expenses tucked away in an emergency fund. If I were to have to go without pay for a month I would be up the proverbial creek without the requisite paddle. I suppose it could be worse. My parents would probably be able to float me a loan. Or I could borrow against my retirement savings. I have credit cards I could use. But none of these ideas appeals to me. I’m 51 years old. I’m supposed to have a strong understanding of money. Yet here I am without emergency savings. I’m flying without a safety net, mostly because I never thought about the fact that I might someday fall.
The government shutdown has really brought the importance of a contingency plan to the forefront. What would you do if you found yourself without anticipated income for a month. Would you be able to keep yourself afloat? Do you have somewhere to turn for short-term help? It’s always good to have a backup plan in place. We never want to think about the worst case scenario. But it could happen. And you should prepare for it just in case.