I am one of those people who likes to know what is going to happen, when it will happen, how long it will take and anything else needed to stay on top of things. I guess you could call it OCD or controlling but the truth is, I don’t like bad surprises. I don’t think anyone does.
This is why an emergency fund is so important. You can never know what is coming in the game of life. An emergency fund cannot prevent bad things from happening but it can help with the financial strain that emergencies bring.
Let’s go through a list of what your emergency fund might need to cover.
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1. Your Car Breaks Down.
You really don’t know when this is going to happen. You might get a small warning if your car hesitates when you try to start it but sometimes, your first warning is a car that won’t run. You head outside in a huge hurry to get to work and the car won’t start! It is never convenient and is usually more money than you want to spend.
Having money set aside specifically for surprise car repairs makes thing so much easier.
2. You need new tires or you have a blowout.
Tires are one of my least favorite expenses. They are costly and you don’t get anything pretty to look at when spending money on them.
Tires get thin and need to be replaced. This is no small chunk of change. Furthermore, blowouts happen at high speeds sometimes. This not only causes you to need a new tire, but could potentially cause a serious wreck with injuries which will turn into a much bigger expense.
You’ll need to have money to replace tires when the need arises.
3. Job Loss.
This does happen and can rock your world if you aren’t expecting it! This happened to me in the form of a layoff. I was a part time, very well paid employee who was easy to eliminate for those very reasons. I received a text message (yes, this is how he contacted me, which is another story entirely) from my boss saying to take December off and he would re-access the situation in January. I never heard from him again after my 2 weeks was up. My part time income literally stopped within 2 weeks of that text!
No matter how secure you think your job is, it is important for you to know that everyone is replaceable. Your boss can let you go if and when he needs to. He’s the boss. He doesn’t have to give you severance money and he doesn’t need anyone’s permission. It can happen instantly and without warning.
Having an emergency fund will be a huge relief in a situation like this!
4. Your Child is diagnosed with an Illness.
I genuinely hope and pray that you never face this. However, it does happen and on the off chance that you find yourself in this situation a chunk of money already set aside would be helpful. You could face this challenge with a totally different outlook and at least not have to worry about money for a little while.
5. A Tornado hits your home.
I have never personally been in a tornado, but they have hit less than a quarter mile from my home. When a tornado is close enough for you to hear it, see it and witness the damage it leaves you suddenly have a new respect for what it’s capable of.
You cannot control a tornado. They are a bit unpredictable. You are given a warning that they are coming but there is no way to “save” all of your possessions. At best, you are trying to save you and your loved ones.
If a tornado does hit your home, having money in the bank will give you immediate cash while waiting for insurance and other aid to kick in.
6. A hurricane hits in your area.
For those of you that live in a hurricane prone area an emergency fund is a must!
Just like tornados, you cannot control a hurricane. You are given time to get your ducks in a row but you will definitely need money to board up your house, buy supplies, and sometimes leave town for a few days or a couple of weeks.
You could potentially lose everything in a storm like this so having cash set aside would benefit you and your family.
7. An ambulance ride or Care Flight Helicopter Transport.
Yet another event that we usually cannot predict. The starting rate for a basic ambulance ride is about $600 with distance and equipment used added to that cost. For an Advanced Life Support ambulance ride it starts at $1,000 adding distance and equipment on top of that.
Helicopters are in a completely different ball park when it comes to cost. There will be a lift off fee ranging from $8,000 to $15,000 and then a per mile fee added to that. Total bill will range from $8,000 to up over $25,000! Yikes!
You’ll need an emergency fund to help cover this cost.
8. Your AC unit goes out.
Depending on where you live this could be a big deal or just a minor inconvenience. Living in Texas, we need our air conditioner desperately from about June through September. We use it year round sometimes but for sure in the summer months.
The size of the home will determine the size unit you need. The range in cost is big but could run from $1,000 to up over $10,000. Cost truly depends on multiple factors, what needs to be repaired, and the company you go with.
An emergency fund goes a long way in helping with this type of expense
9. You are involved in a car accident.
My husband’s parents were both killed in a car accident when he was 6 years old. Clearly, it was a shock to the entire family. I am not sure how the funeral expenses were handled or who took care of what costs. However, one can imagine how difficult this situation would be for a family. Trying to make decisions during this time would be stressful at best.
Money set aside for emergencies would be very helpful in a situation like this.
10. Someone breaks into your home.
Thankfully, we have never had a break in with any of the homes we have lived in. I cannot imagine a more horrifying experience if you are home when it happens. If you are not home that is a bit better. However, it would still be scary knowing someone had been in your house trying to steal, vandalize, or harm you or your loved ones.
If things are taken, you could easily replace them with an emergency fund. If the house has been torn up, having cash on hand would be helpful. Insurance will cover some of this but there is typically a deductible and a delay in getting money from your company.
11. An unexpected death in your family.
I know we think this will never happen to us but it happens every day all over the world. Flights, car rentals, hotels, clothing for a funeral and the list can go on. This could destroy your budget and cause financial problems if you aren’t ready for it.
Having money set aside would make this situation so much easier. It is never easy to let go of a loved one but having money on hand is one less worry during this difficult season.
12. The transmission in your car needs replacing
Transmissions are one of the most expensive car repair you will face. Outside of the cost, this usually happens to an older car that might not even be worth putting that much money into.
Suddenly, we have a big decision to make. Do we put thousands into our old car or go buy another one?
13. Your taxes are higher than expected.
This happened to Jeff and I years ago. Our CPA did our taxes and announced we owed almost $5,000 in additional taxes. Our income went up substantially from one year to the next. We were thrown into a higher tax bracket and unfortunately, we did not make the proper adjustments for taxes.
Luckily, we had a large emergency fund and were able to easily take care of it. However, I can see how this could cause a tremendous amount of stress and worry for a family.
Having money on hand for tax needs or surprises will help ease this burden.
14. You need major dental work
I worked in the dental profession for around 25 years so this I understand well. Dental work is not cheap! You can easily be out of pocket thousands of dollars with just a few crowns and fillings. This one thing can completely bust your budget!
If you have an emergency fund in place you can easily pay for unexpected dental expenses
15. Your house floods.
First of all, floods are not covered by traditional insurance. You must have flood insurance in order for the insurance company to pay for damages. So if you live in a hurricane prone area this is a must! If you don’t, it is a good idea to see if you are in a flood plane or zone. If you are, flood insurance needs to be seriously considered.
Beyond damages to your home there will be expenses that could add up quickly. If the flood is bad enough you won’t be able to get into your home for several days or even weeks until the water recedes. Your going to need a place to stay, food, clothing, toiletries, and many other needs that will pop up.
Having that emergency fund will be a huge help for this type of surprise.
16. The hot water heater breaks.
It will be unexpected and will flood your home quickly! This actually happened to us with one of our rental properties! The total repair for this added up to around $2500. We had to hire a water damage company to come in and “dry out” the carpet and walls. Carpet was pulled up, 12 large fans were brought in, and our renters had to move out for a week or so while we managed the damage and repairs.
Our emergency fund was a huge help during this unplanned event.
17. An economic collapse.
I know that this sounds ridiculous to many, however, history will prove that this has happened and we should be ready in case it ever hit again. The Great Depression hit people hard and many lost everything! Having cash on hand not only in the bank but also in a safe place in your home is a very good idea. It will help in a crisis situation country wide.
- A pet that needs medical care.
Pets are family to many! You have no idea what is up ahead with their health. With money on hand you can take care of any surprise illness easily.
Real life story: Years ago we had a small beagle puppy that was bit by a rattle snake in our back yard. We were so thankful it wasn’t our daughter! That incident cost over $1000 and the dog ended up dying anyway. Having money on hand for this makes the entire process easier to go through and makes decisions less stressful.
19. Your marriage ends.
I truly hope this never happens to you. Statistically, it happens a lot so it needs to be on this list. Divorce is not only a painful process but an expensive one as well. The actual process of hiring an attorney and going through the legalities is fairly low for a simple divorce. However, if there is a custody battle over kids, alimony, or child support issues then the cost can jump way up very quickly.
Furthermore, finding a new place to live, pay to have utilities set up, costs to move your things and so many other items that pop up during a move can really add up. Having an emergency fund on hand will make this difficult process so much easier. It is one less thing you will be stressed about.
20. Relocation due to a job change.
I have never had to move across state lines or across the country. However, I have moved and that alone gets expensive.
Often times, your new company will pay to have your family moved if it is a long haul. It might be a good idea to consider negotiating this before you say yes to the new job. If you find yourself moving a long distance, having a large emergency fund would be very helpful in the process.
Moving costs would include hiring a moving company or Uhaul, purchasing or renting a new place to live, utility deposits for your new home, gas to drive the distance to your new city, and food as you travel.
21. Unexpected Career Change
This happens more than we think. Whether it is expected or completely out of left field, having money put back in times like this will make life much easier and eliminate a little bit of stress.
Real life story: My husband recently went through a job change. Long story but the short of it is, by no fault of his own, he had to make some tough decisions regarding his career and the direction he wanted to take. We had money in the bank so it helped eliminate some of the worries career change can bring.
22. Unexpected pregnancy.
This should be a really exciting time for a family. However, if it is unplanned and depending on your marital or relationship status, it could be a stressful situation. Emergency money can be used during this type of surprise to make better decisions regarding you and your baby’s future. You can choose a great doctor, get needed baby items, and buy maternity clothes with money that has been put back for emergencies.
23. You or your spouse are diagnosed with a serious illness.
None of us plan for this! I have never heard anyone say, “I plan to be diagnosed with cancer next year.” That’s the point here! We don’t know when a serious illness like cancer or a heart attack will strike close to home so you must be ready. Fighting something like cancer is serious business.
You do not want to worry about money during this type of crisis. Having a stock pile of cash set back will help to ease the burden and pain if you or a loved one is battling an illness. Generally speaking, money won’t cure the illness. However, it certainly takes another worry off your plate.
24. Burial expenses for a family member.
My dad has been a minister since I was 6 years old. I have heard stories as long as I can remember of funerals he has done and what he has witnessed over the years. The saddest story was of a sweet family whose son commit suicide. Clearly, this was unexpected and the family was not prepared for the financial burden it would create. My dad was asked to come to the funeral home to assist with the decision process of caskets, flowers, burial, etc. He watched as the aunts, uncles and extended family pulled money out of their own pockets to help pay for the funeral expenses because this family needed help.
This is a sad story of a life that ended too young. Times like these are very difficult with emotions running high and stress taking over. Having money in the bank would allow for a leave of absence from work, would pay for bills and expenses while taking time off and would give time for the family to slowly heal without worrying about money. It doesn’t bring the person back but it does ease another burden during a very stressful time.
25. A fire in your home.
The good news is home owners insurance will take care of the cost of home repairs after your deductible. However, there will be many other smaller items you might need to purchase fairly quickly. You’ll need new clothes since yours will have an awful smoke smell or possibly burned completely. The kids will need new school supplies and back packs. The entire family will need new toiletries and personal items. Another thing to consider is eating out for a while until you get things settled and decide on where to live and how long repairs will take.
This could be a very costly few weeks as you navigate the insurance process and relocating your family. You can be ready with an emergency fund!
Real Life story: This happened to my family when I was in junior high. We came home to a smoke filled, partially burned home. It dramatically changed our lives for several months! We ha to move out of the house while renovations were done. We lived in a hotel, had to eat out a lot and I am certain it was a costly event!
26. Your identity is stolen.
Think again if you believe this won’t happen to you!
In 2012, Americans lost over $24 billion dollars due to identity theft. That is a lot of money! I could write an entire post on statistics and info here but for now I will say that you need money put back just in case this happens to you.
Let’s close this out:
The bottom line here is you really don’t know what tomorrow might bring. You have no idea what difficulty is right around the corner. Living without an emergency fund is dangerous and you could be setting your family up for a financial disaster. Anything could happen at any time. As a responsible adult you need to be ready financially. If nothing happens then you are no worst off. If something does happen then you won’t be caught in a panic trying to make ends meet.
The best way to show your family you love them is to create a fund that is solely for taking care of thing that happen unexpectedly. Start saving today!