3 Things A Family Have Emergency Funds For
BY: Anna Liza Madayag Gaspar • May 29, 2019
It’s known that the only certainties in life are death, taxes, and changes. I want to add another—emergencies. If what I know about life is true, then as certain as the sun will come up tomorrow, there will be emergencies for each of us in the future.
Let’s define what an emergency fund is for. Certainly, it’s not for the sudden, unannounced midnight sale at your favorite mall. Nor it is for the dizzying array of choices for the upcoming piso-sale of your go-to budget airline. An emergency fund is for a personal financial dilemma. For example, you lost your job. Then the emergency fund is for your living expenses until you get a job or decide on what you want to do next.
Knowing there will be emergencies is half the battle. The rest is making sure that when the time comes, we’re not caught empty-handed (or with our bank accounts insufficient). I asked Filipino families with young children what events they think they should have emergency funds for. Here are the results.
The number one concern of parents with young children is having enough money when a member of the family becomes sick suddenly. Jizelle Acuin, mother to a very gregarious young lady, said sometimes there are hospital expenses not covered by a health card. Having the cash to cover these expenses can mean life or death.
This is one of the situations where a credit card comes in handy. Last week, a friend’s son was bitten by the family’s dog. Though the puppy has his shots already, my friend’s son still needed to have his. The shots cost more than P15,000. For an average Filipino family, this amount is not small. My friend’s credit card saved the day.
Of course, this credit card debt has to be paid on or at the due date. If my friend has emergency funds for hospitalization, he can easily pay for this credit card charge.
For families with cars, it’s prudent to set aside funds for emergency repairs. So when a car breaks down unexpectedly, then the family can have the cash needed to pay for the repairs not covered by insurance, and of course, to pay for transportation alternatives while the car is in the repair shop. If the company needs to rent a car or take an Uber or Grab car everyday, this additional strain on the family budget can be handled easily.
The most interesting insight I got with my survey is Faye Q. Flores Melegrito’s opinion on including “unplanned visits to art fairs and museums, impromptu participation in workshops and cultural pursuits.”
Faye is the mother of a very talented young woman. Luce is a visual artist and a musician. Faye wants to include emergency fun in the family’s budget for “activities and pursuits, especially in [the] arts & culture, that help shape the child/children’s personality and contribute to his/her/their holistic growth.”
I agree with Faye. As a writer, there are workshops and writer’s retreat I get to know of only a month or two before the event. These learning opportunities cost money, but more than worth it, and not usually budgeted in my monthly expenses.
Yes, parents with young children, and adults, too, need to include an emergency fun in their emergency funds allocation.
One More Thing
With our country located in the typhoon belt and ring of fire, there is also another purpose of a family’s emergency funds for. As Delfin Dumayas, we need immediate funds for calamities such as typhoons and other related disasters.
Speaking of calamities coming hand-in-hand with typhoons, a friend recently posted in Facebook his lament on the inaction of Pag-ibig on his insurance claims. Most of his house was destroyed during Super Typhoon Lawin. Fortunately, my friend doesn’t rely on this insurance claims to repair his house. Unfortunately, not all families affected by Typhoon Lawin are like his. (My mother’s makeshift garage was blown off by the Typhoon. Five months after, she’s still parking under the aratiles tree in our front yard.) Emergency funds give us options on how to handle the challenges that inevitably arrive. These funds take away the burden of thinking of what may, and hence allow as to live and enjoy life and our loved ones fully.