Being an adult can be scary! We’re responsible for our own lives, now, and that means that we’re exposed to the personal and financial risks of all of the unexpected things lurking out there. That can be a worrying thing, but there are ways to protect yourself. Here are three essential safety nets that will give you a little peace of mind.
An emergency fund
Being financially secure is about planning for the future. That means saving and investing so that you’re ready for expected costs, like your children’s schooling and your own retirement. But real financial security means being prepared for unexpected costs, too! The best way to do this is with an emergency fund, which is a lump of cash that’s readily available (not tied up in investments). How much you stash is up to you, but a good rule of thumb is to have enough for somewhere between three and six months’ worth of your usual expenses. You’ll be glad you have this fund if you lose your job or incur a sudden financial burden. As for how you get it, unfortunately, there are no shortcuts here: you just have to budget and spend less than you make.
Insurance is a safety net, and every adult should have a few key policies. With some luck, insurance will end up costing you money – you’ll pay monthly premiums and never have to use it. But that doesn’t make insurance a waste of money: consider it an investment in your peace of mind. And if you’re unlucky and do end up with a home disaster, health problem, or other issue, you’ll be very glad that you have insurance to cover you. You can get insurance from an insurance company or through an insurance broker. Here are a few types of insurance you’ll need:
- Homeowner’s or renters insurance. These policies cover everything from robberies to burst pipes. They may cover incidents outside the home, but often do not cover flooding. Speak to your broker to get the right policy with the right riders and supplemental insurance policies to cover all of your risks.
- Business insurance. Like homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, this will cover disasters that strike your business. From coverage for fires to reimbursement for data recovery services, the benefits of these policies are wide (and vary).
- Car insurance. You have to have it to drive, and you’ll be glad you have it if you get into an accident.
- Health insurance. As of this writing, this is another one that you’re legally required to have. You’ll want it no matter what, though, as health insurance can help you pay for regular care and will protect you from the high costs of unexpected health issues.
- Life insurance. We’re all going to die eventually, so we all should consider life insurance. Life insurance protects your loved ones by helping them financially in the event of your death. That can mean coverage for funeral costs and lost income, making life insurance a necessity for breadwinners. Get the right coverage from a broker.
If you have an insurance policy, a fire that burns down your home will only cost you your deductible – and if you have an emergency fund, that deductible should be a manageable expense. But money isn’t everything – your loved ones are.
That’s why the most important safety net you need has nothing to do with money. For true peace of mind, you need to know your loved ones are protected. That means having a family meeting and drawing up emergency plans. Make sure your family knows what to do in the event of a fire, flood, break-in, or other home disaster. Cover tips for dealing with outside dangers, too – do your children know what to do if they’re separated from you in a crowded place? What about if a stranger grabs them?
You’ll want plans and a few physical preparations, such as emergency ladders, stickers marking children’s rooms for firefighters, and other precautions.
Life is full of unexpected dangers, but worrying about them is no way to go through life! Invest in financial safety nets and protect your family by preparing them for the unlikely, so that you can enjoy your loved ones and your life.