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Friday, May 6, 2016

Emergency Fund

Biuld Emergency Fund Online
 
An emergency corpus is not only for tiding over sudden and unexpected events. A certain amount of money kept aside can help fund different situations that crop up in life .
 
We have all heard of the emergency fund. The first piece of personal financial advice most of us receive is about setting aside enough money to cover at least six months of core expenses to tide over any unexpected event (read, losing a job). In January, Paulette Perhach wrote a piece for The Billfold*, in which she told the story of a young girl who could not stand up to an abusive boyfriend and a lecherous boss since she was financially constrained. Sensationally named F**K Off Fund, and later toned down as Financialself-defence-fund, the story gave a twist to the idea of the emergency fund. Many of us may need our own versions of the FoF and let me tell you why.

There are young men and women out there who are advised to buy property, bright and early, even before they are 30.Worried parents feel the EMI is a good saving device. The brag quotient also goes up once you book a flat. The otherwise educated young adults do not typically consider alternative investment avenues. Nor will they sell the flat even if the builder delays delivery or the rains flood the garage. We have become a nation of mortgage lovers who are wedded to the EMI. This bunch of intelligent workers put up with bad bosses, odd work hours, postings in distant suburbs and painfully long commutes because they have the EMI to pay. They badly need an EMI-relief-fund.No, they do not need another EMI and another house, even if it saved taxes.

Then there are the smart young people who live with their parents. They earn a fat salary but pay no rent, utility bills or participate in the household budget. Doting parents are more than willing to "take care" of the "children." From time to time the "child" buys expensive gifts, holidays and dinners to make the parents feel important. The luxuries of their parental homes are too good to let go (think free laundry, cleaning and meals). Everything is perfect until the smart people get married. It may also be the case that the spouse is also the smart youth who had lived with parents well into the late 20s. After a few years (months?) of the perfect joint family, things begin to fall apart. Some continue to live in denial and as caregivers to lonely parents. The crushing reality of moving into a smaller flat in the suburbs and clipping down the extravagant lifestyle looms large. Many of these young smart people need a Grow-up-now-fund.

So many are stuck in jobs that they do not like. When they choose their careers, young people consider information and facts, but fill up the rest with dreams and romance. Or fear and phobia. As they grow up, they discover themselves and if they are not lucky, find themselves spending a good part of the day doing things they do not enjoy. A majority simply reconciles with the reality. They are advised to like what they have, if they do not have what they like. Quitting a job to study, to toy with a business idea, or to move to a new location is a tough decision. Creating a Quit-this-job-fund can be quite helpful.

The stereotype of the happy family and involved parenting is so well entrenched that parents become willing martyrs. Holidays are aligned to school breaks, even if they are at peak season rates. Social circles are made up of parents whose kids are in the same school and class, complete with evenings spent managing play dates and incessant WhatsApp notifications on everything from homework projects to what they did not serve at lunch in school. Parents will hate to admit it, but many of them need that break to far off land, without the family and spouse toeing along. Every hardworking parent needs the Holiday-bliss-alone-fund.

Why leave out the rampant discrimination between in-laws, while we are at it? We do not live in those awful times when the mar ried woman was expected to forget her parents and siblings. And accept her in-laws as her new and only family. We also know of awful married women who refuse to look beyond their siblings and parents and cannot care for the new family. Many couples struggle with the economics, politics and social compulsions of extended families on both sides. Unexpected illness, hospitalization, special care at home and physical disabilities can stretch the generosity and finances of families. Instead of reminding everyone about their roles and the need for unconditional love, families can create a Parent-welfare-fund. Couples can agree that they care for their own parents too much, and that they will ensure that money is earmarked without fuss.

A good amount of stereotyping has happened in this column already. The objective is not to patronise or pontificate, but only illustrate the point. Allow me one last indulgence. Stars, artists and sports people typically live through very short career spans.The successful ones earn a lot, but the profession demands that they also spend a lot. One--sometimes a few--failed performance and they are left staring downhill. They continue to hang on, subjecting themselves and their fans to poor quality performances that are a shadow of their past. Media managers egg them on to milk the last paisa out of their popularity. Stories of exploitation by hangers on abound. Performers that have to invest so much of themselves in their careers need a I-quit-now-fund. So they can walk away when they have had enough.

Everyone of us will easily identify the compromises we tend to make because there is money involved in the equation. We hate to admit that money does matter. We convince ourselves that we actually like the situation we are in. Or we live in complete denial. Our lives many not be the stereotypes I have described. We may be making the decisions to live and work the way we do, completely willingly. Or we may be quite happy with the compromises we make. Or we may see those compromises as necessities or virtues. Maybe we can take a moment to pause and ask if we have would have decided otherwise if we had the money. That is the fund we may have to build for our own happiness.

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