It’s been a while since I have thought about money… which is odd as the co-founder of a financial wellbeing company!
For these last few months side hustles and life admin were hanging out at the bottom of my to-do list with rest, relaxation and my health. I’ll spare you the details on the whats and whys... it's been emotional! All I need to say is managing my personal finances was definitely not a priority for me. In fact, it was quite the opposite… my spending skyrocketed.
For a while I was annoyed with myself as it felt horribly hypocritical as someone who ‘talks the talk’ on the importance of being confident and in control of your money. Why couldn’t I ‘walk the walk’ all the time?
To help me through this challenging time, I started journaling. As an aside - I have recently been introduced to journaling and it is without a doubt one of the most valuable daily habits I have ever tried. It is so powerful to force yourself to reflect on the highs and lows, what you are grateful for and what you could have done differently. I have learned a lot about myself!
Through my journaling, I found a theme that I wasn’t necessarily expecting. I was consistently grateful for my financial security. Grateful for the ability to stomach the large, unexpected costs I was being hit with left right and centre - it seemed I had 99 problems, but a financial safety-net (thankfully) wasn’t one of them!
Now before you roll your eyes and sarcastically ask if I want a medal… the reason I am telling you this is because I have never needed my emergency fund before and it isn’t until you really need it that you realise its true value. That value is far greater than the number of £s it adds up to! Whether you are superstitious or not, you can’t deny that life seems to deal bad luck out in multiples (sometimes more than 3). Having the emergency fund isn’t just about the money, it is about relieving yourself of one area of worry so you can focus on the rest. So you don’t have to think about finances and affordability all the time when life deals you a crappy hand.
As a quick recap… we say an emergency fund should be 3-6 months of expenses and kept in cash (in the bank, not under the mattress) rather than invested. You can start building this up bit by bit each month. I suggest putting it somewhere out of sight so that when you are on cloud 9 and everything is going your way, you aren’t tempted to dip into it.
I hope you never need to use your emergency fund. I really do! But I also hope you can take some small learning from my recent experience - it is worth having one just in case because when you need it, you really need it and by then it’s too late to do anything about it!