Life has its ways of generating unforeseen emergencies that leave us stranded. You cannot exactly prepare for some of these incidences despite your dedication. However, unlike other emergencies, a financial emergency is something you can actually plan for and work towards. Hence, the question of how to plan for a financial emergency is very vital.
The sudden declaration of curfew across several states in the country indicates that things could happen when you least expect. Traders who earn income from daily sales were the most affected; especially, the ones without laid down plans. Some white-collar workers too got a watered-down salary due to the situation, as the company made little or no profit.
However, to ensure that you are prepared for the next wave of sudden income blockage, some basic decisions you have to make from the onset are:
- Set up an emergency fund account: This is your most assured way of preparing for financial emergencies. It is non-negotiable. At every point, you should always have some money specially set aside for sorting bills in case of financial troubles. Although this seems like an obvious thing to do, in reality, most individuals do not have one. Financial experts recommend that the set-aside sum should be able to cater for at least 3 to 6 months of your basic expenses.
- Ensure you stay debt-free as much as possible: When financial difficulties kick in, what becomes a burden is the regular payment obligation you have to make. Remember, there are already basic non-negotiable expenses that you have to meet, and adding debts makes it much worse. If you are currently in debt, channel your resources to pay back in time. Also, focus on paying debts with the highest interest rate first.
- Slash down your expenses: As soon as the crisis kicks in, the first thing for you to do is to reevaluate. Run through your standard expenses and remove the wants. In a time like this, only the needs should stand. Keeping your expenses as low as possible would help you thrive better.
Having understood how to prepare for financial emergencies, it is also critical that you understand how to deal with them. Preparation and dealing with the situation itself are two different things.
Here are some tips on how you can deal with the current financial situation:
- Be critical about every financial decision: Financial debacles are mentally stressful and could cause you to make poor decisions. This is why, at every moment, you should think properly before making any money decisions. Practicing this would greatly help you steady the ship. Ask yourself what long-term consequences would this have on my credit and finance? If disastrous, you know what to do.
- Explore other potential streams of income: One of the fastest and easiest ways to navigate financial emergencies is to explore other streams of income. What else can you do to make extra income that would help deal with the present situation? In real-time, looking for a side hustle while going through financial difficulties is not easy, but if you can pull it off, it would help a great deal.
- Talk to a financial advisor: Lastly, you can always visit a financial advisor for a professional view on your current crisis. However, this may be a little tricky because you would have to pay for their services. But the right person can help you get your finances in check from the very first day, as opposed to you trying to put things together by yourself.
Emerging successfully from financial emergencies depends on how well you can prepare ahead, steady your ship, and navigate the terrain. The good news is that if you are one of those who planned early enough, you are less likely to stay long there than those who are unprepared. Remember that your goal should not be to learn how to deal with the difficulty as it comes, but rather focus on being prepared ahead.