Plan for the Unexpected

It’s Easier Said Than Done

 

Probably the number one piece of financial advice we have all heard countless times is to save for a rainy day. It’s that thing we all know we should do, and some of us actually are doing (or are trying to). But when that rainy day comes, sometimes it really pours. And sometimes the roof springs a leak, too.

There are plenty of tips and tricks you can use to make saving easier. My husband and I found that automating that savings by having a portion of your check automatically rerouted to savings is a great way to accumulate a rainy day fund without even having to think about it.

We recently discovered that we were very lucky to have that rainy day fund because the thing we thought would never happen, happened: my husband lost his job of 17 years. A really good job. A job that, among other things, offered our family solid health insurance coverage at no cost to us. Because he’d had that job for so long, we had been shielded from the reality of what health insurance coverage actually costs most people.

We were lucky. Not only did he get a decent severance package, but he landed a new job right away. Nevertheless, there was still a gap in health insurance until his new job’s plan kicked in for us.

So you’re probably thinking, what about the Affordable Care Act? Yes, that’s what we thought, too. And then we priced it. Once we picked our jaws up off the floor at the cost, we quickly decided that we needed a Plan B. Either we could wrap both of our kids and ourselves in bubble wrap and hope for the best, or we could check into a plan from my employer. When we considered things like prescription coverage and the possibility of someone getting sick or injured and how much that could cost, we knew the bubble wrap wasn’t going to be a viable option.

We were incredibly lucky that my employer offers a great plan and we could get coverage for the three months until his coverage started. However, that coverage did not come without a hit to the household budget.

That rainy day fund we’d saved didn’t go nearly as far as we had hoped it would. That was due, in most part, to us not taking into consideration that the cost of healthcare for our family would be way more than we were prepared for. Plus, since we had to switch policies, that meant we started over with things like deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses for the new plan. So while paying for the new plan, we were also paying additional expenses on top of the premiums.

Now that we’re counting down the days until things go back to normal, we’ve learned a valuable lesson. As usual, we’ve learned it the hard way, though. Now we know that not only should that rainy day fund cover the usual expenses like bills, but also the equally important things like health insurance.

 

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