Introducing The Financial Fates
Greek mythology depicted the Fates as three elderly women who weaved tapestries which contain the destinies of humans. In my mind, I picture a single thread being woven amongst other threads, courses of lives and interactions being directed until the final death snip with a pair of mythical shears.
In Jane mythology, the Financial Fates weave their tapestry, determining one’s financial destiny among other destinies. The difference? They have a wicked sense of humor particularly directed at those who feel a little security in their overall insecure financial picture. Come into an unexpected bonus…the car breaks down, a little extra overtime cash…the washing machine starts to leak, a monetary gift appears from a family member…dog gets stung by a bee and requires a vet visit.
In the past, my husband and I would deal with these blows to our finances in the most logical way. We’d deal with the issue and then go out for dinner because we deserved to soothe the financial pain with a little pleasure. Sadly, while a good meal temporarily soothed the angst, it did cause long-term pain in the form of the Visa bill a month later.
What to Do, What To Do
Enter the emergency fund, the single most effective way of foiling the impact of the Financial Fates’ power. The savvy experts (which are not us) say that you should have 3 to 6 months’ worth of money in an emergency fund which for us would be in the realm of approximately $25,000+. That’s an intimidating amount of cash to put away. One of the joys in the process of understanding and accepting myself is the knowledge that this kind of savings while doable with discipline will not work for someone like me. I need to change it up a bit and set smaller milestones or I won’t be able to play the mental long game.
The First Goal
Dave Ramsey encourages you to set up an emergency fund of $1000 before you tackle debt. This is completely manageable; however, we knew that my husband would be facing a possible work slowdown in the winter season. We did some calculating and decided that $6000 would carry us through the winter months as a worst-case scenario (realistic worst-case scenario…not cataclysmic worst-case scenario). We considered possible receipt of EI benefits, possible length of layoff and our tendency to enjoy the luxuries of eating and toilet paper to make our estimate. We would also save money on both gas and car insurance by going from two vehicles to one which is a significant expense as my husband does a fair amount of commuting.
Therefore, our current goalpost has been set to $6000. Eventually, we will put aside the requisite $25,000, but by setting small goals and celebrating those wins, we have a better chance of success.
Since we have had this plan ongoing for the last couple of months, we are not starting at zero. I will update each week to demonstrate our progress, slow and steady.
Here is where we are:
Emergency Fund Goal: $6000
Current Saved: $5000
Looking forward to thwarting those Fates, and one day, I will be the one holding the damn scissors.