Several recent incidents had me pulling my diminishing hair out in quiet fury.
A colleague shat herself at work and demanded that someone clean her up and change her.
Well, not quite. But something like that.
Okay, so a colleague’s car broke down and the repairs would take about a week and cost around USD $1,000.
SHE HAD TO BORROW THE MONEY FROM HER MUM.
I should clarify, this is a person about ten years older than myself with a comparable income. We are not poor. In fact, the cost of living here is so low that I find it possible to save about half my salary. Why the cash flow problem?
And then there was a carbon copy situation a little while later. A colleague bought some furniture, white goods and so on from me as I was leaving the country and was having a fire sale. The total was about USD $800.
HE TOLD ME HE COULD GIVE ME THE MONEY ON PAY DAY.
Don’t misunderstand me – I don’t care about waiting three weeks for a bit of money. No skin off my beak. Rather, what makes me grind me teeth is that these adults, who have been gainfully employed for many years, have such poor financial skills. These are not enormous amounts we’re talking about. Such unexpected expenses are quite predictable – we don’t know what they will be, but we know that they will be.
Defining exactly how much readily available cash an adult ought to have is a piece of string question, but surely a thousand shmakeroonies would be an absolute bare minimum.
If you’re already on my side then bear with me as I explain this to the slower kids: what would happen if you lost your job tomorrow? How long could you pay rent and bills without resort to mumsie or the public boob? I would suggest to you that a reasonable period might be around six months, which would hopefully be enough time to find a new job. Personally I could get by for a year before needing to crack open my long term investments.
An adult should not have to depend on others or hang out until pay day for life’s ordinary slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. One should have a rainy day fund such that you just groan when these events occur, cough up, and get on with your life.
I find it strange that people have retirement plans but no cash in an emergency fund. Surely the latter should be the higher priority. There’s no point having millions locked up in superannuation if a tree falls on your roof.
None of the above constitutes financial advice. Readers should seek their own, independent advice from a qualified professional before making any investments. If you follow the advice of some dickhead blogger you will end up the fourth wife of a toothless Arab.