People who have lived through difficult times realize that you have to prepare for more difficult times in your future.
Canada has had about 6-7 decades of affluent times. No major wars or famines. Growth in jobs, economics, etc. Evidently, we had it so good that people forgot what could happen in the future. They forgot to teach their children and grandchildren what could happen and how to be ready for it. But in the last decade, with the climate changes, we have witnessed parts of our country where uncontrollable fires and floods have wiped out whole communities. Hurricanes, tornadoes and winds are hitting in unusual places – and more violent than we can remember. We’ve had warning, so what did you do to prepare for difficult times in case the unexpected happened to you?
Fortunately, our lives, homes and town were not obliterated, when COVID-19 hit.
Until three months ago, most people today had not had that big, terrible, unexpected event happen in their lives. Not many had saved for that rainy day. Suddenly they discovered themselves without a job, with not even enough money for the mortgage or rent payment. Granted, with so many part-time minimum wage jobs out there that could have been impossible for some, but what about you?
Perhaps it is time to examine where you went wrong. Were you buying everything on credit, just paying off the interest? Did you spend your paychecks on all the wonderful things out there that you could buy or do, whether you needed it not? Did you think something like COVID-19, or a fire, or losing your job, would never happen to you? Well, you aren’t alone.
For all that the public doesn’t want to be told by the government what and how to do things, they seem to expect the government to bail them out when trouble hits. We have learned to push our own responsibilities off on the government; when an industry fails, they want bail outs. Why? When my hubby’s parents realized the end had come to owning a small dairy, there was no government bailout. They had to started over with another business. But they had lived through the Depression and a war and knew that out of every dollar earned some had to go into the savings account not to be touched in case something unexpected happened.
But what about you? Are you going to hope for enough free money from the government that you won’t have to worry? Not going to happen. People will have to pay back most of the hand outs, back rent and interest on unpaid bills. Nothing is free, and everyone will eventually get bigger tax bills from the government to pay off all the help they sent out. Don’t forget, you are the government and you are where they get the money from.
During the pandemic, have you been paring down your expenses so you can get caught up faster when you go to work again? Have you made up a better budget with a contingency fund in it?
Take your paycheck and deduct the cost of all the essentials you need to survive: rent/mortgage, gas, hydro, water, car payments, gas, phone and computer costs or other essential things that come out of your account every month.
With the balance left, deduct how much you need for food, health needs, clothing, entertainment; these are done separately as they can be adjusted.
Did you have any money left over for the savings account? No? Did you go back and take out spa and nail treatments, magazine subscriptions? Did you cut back on the entertainment packages and take only what you have to have? Television is not an essential, neither is the best cut of beef, booze, recreational drugs or cigarettes. I am not saying they are easy to give up but you won’t starve without them. Kids today need to understand how to save to be ready for emergencies in their future as well, so get them to cut back. It is not essential for kids to have their own phone, television, new computer games or all the after-school activities that cost money. It is never easy to take away, but it is easier on everyone to live within your means and be prepared for the future.
You might want to build up your savings account to handle maybe six months of all those survival essentials for emergencies. Yes, that is a lot, but we are half way through that time now and we don’t know if COVID-19 will return again, or a fire, or a tornado. Take the time and map out your future with some safety features. Teach the kids. Hardships rarely destroy people. If anything it makes them stronger and more resilient. Talk to the seniors around you. Most of them know how, let them help you figure it out.