It started with a simple kitchen accident. But the truth is, it could have happened a thousand other ways, too.
It only takes an instant
Almost all of us are one accident or illness away from financial ruin. That keeps a lot of people tossing and turning at night. Others just assume it won’t happen to them. Maybe it won’t; I sure hope not. But the truth is, it can happen so quickly.
This week I’ve been remembering how exactly 1 year ago I was sitting on the couch watching tv with a cast on my leg. One day I had been doing stuff in the kitchen. I reached for a glass of water and my arm brushed against the big knife (the one in the photo) that was sitting on a cutting board. It spun slightly, fell off the counter, and landed on my foot. Blade down.
Don’t worry, I’m ok. But before I was ok, I had to be taken to the emergency room by ambulance. I didn’t want that, but when I called a friend and asked her to take me, she wisely pointed out that she wouldn’t be able to get me down the stairs. So I called 911. By the end of the day I’d had x-rays and been stitched up.
Later we found out that 2 tendons had been completely cut and I needed tendon repair surgery. That wasn’t fun. But throughout all of this, I wasn’t stressing about money. I was focusing instead on being able to walk properly again.
Side note: I always worried about cutting a finger using that knife, but my toes?!? I guess I’m just graceful like that. Sigh.
Even the free stuff costs something
I was lucky. My health insurance covered the big stuff: the ambulance, the ER, the x-rays, the MRI, the surgery. It might not have. I still had minor expenses. They’re not a big deal if you earn more than you spend or if you have savings (or hopefully both!) I had to pay for hospital parking, a shoe lift (to even my other foot out with the cast – otherwise I’d damage my back), gas for a lot of driving, and copays. If I’d been working at the time, I also would have been out of work for at least 2 weeks.
Then there were incidentals. I was using paper plates and plastic forks so I wouldn’t have to wash many dishes. I ordered grocery delivery since I couldn’t get to the store for the first few weeks after the surgery. I splurged by buying the expensive and incredibly delicious bakery treats that I always eye but never eat. Yum!
It added up.
You can’t buy peace of mind… or can you?
If I was living paycheck-to-paycheck, that sudden accident, which occurred in a split second, would have put me into debt. Without insurance, it would have bankrupted me.
Thanks to a nest egg, I could handle it. If I hadn’t had insurance, I could have managed that, too, thanks to my nest egg. I wouldn’t have been happy to see so much of my hard-earned money disappear, but I wouldn’t have been bankrupt.
And that’s the ultimate reason why everyone should have a nest egg. It gives you peace of mind. You know that if you have an accident or illness or some other emergency, you’ll be able to handle it. It allows you to focus on your health, fixing the hole in your roof, or getting new tires when you drive over a construction staple (maybe I’ll tell you that story another time) without being distracted by money. It makes non-emergencies easier: it let’s you enjoy a wonderful vacation without worrying that the trip is putting you into debt.
Your nest egg let’s you sleep at night.
Start small, grow later
If you don’t have a nest egg yet, that’s ok. You can start today. Aim for $1000 to start. Check out the posts here about increasing income and lowering expenses and sign up for the Nest Egg Chick email list in the box below. They’ll show you how to put aside $5, then $10, then $50. You’ll have a healthy nest egg before you know it!
As your nest egg grows, so will your peace of mind. That will spur you to grow it even more. I hope you never need to use it for a big emergency but if you do, you’ll be glad to know you have it.
Eventually you’ll have multiple nest eggs: one for an upcoming vacation, one for retirement, one for emergencies, one for a new car. In a true emergency, you can dip into any of those. After all, that’s the biggest reason to have them.