August 15, 2013

It Happens

Credit: frankie_8
Late last year, my wife and I sat down and discussed some of our financial goals for 2013. Essentially, we agreed to four: to put into our 401(k) plans what was necessary to receive our employers’ maximum matches, to make our annual contributions to our Roth IRAs, to increase our “rainy day fund,” and to lower the amount of principal owed on our mortgage to a specific amount. Well, not to brag, but things were going pretty swimmingly. Well, until it happened…

You see, a couple of months ago, there was this period where our karma, luck, mojo, or whatever you want to call it, was not so good. It started when I had a small medical flare up (don’t worry, I’m all good now) that generated some expenses beyond our insurance coverage. Then, my wife’s car had an unexpected electrical problem. Shortly thereafter, we would find out my car needed major repairs to ensure my ability to steer, our digital camera would break, and my computer would make it known that its days were numbered. A week or two of better luck then mercifully came, but only to be vanquished by our garbage disposal giving up the ghost. Then, there was our dachshund Lucy’s annual checkup that yielded some dog toothpaste so expensive that I’m considering trying it out on my own pearly whites! I know in the larger scheme of things that these are “first world problems,” and I still have a lot to be thankful for, but sheesh! Enough is enough already! Uncle! Make it stop!

I don’t share my rotten luck with you to ask for sympathy or to make you feel sorry for my wife and me. You shouldn’t. Everybody has stuff happen to them, and everyone has unforeseen expenses that rear their ugly heads out of nowhere. I share all of this with you to let you know that it will be okay and to remind you that if you have an adequately established emergency fund, you can often be okay relatively quickly. My medical bills are now paid, our car maintenance is complete, we have a new digital camera, we have a much better garbage disposal, and Lucy’s toothpaste seems to be helping her. I still haven’t replaced my dying computer, but knock on wood, we’ll get there.

My wife and I have been able to overcome most of our unexpected expenses because we had an emergency fund in place. We addressed the medical bills and urgent car problems with that emergency fund, but we handled the other, less “mission critical” inconveniences over a period of time after we had more paychecks roll in and recharged our emergency fund. We also tightened our belts on our discretionary spending just a tad. Most of our ambitious 2013 financial goals are still achievable, but after those expenses, I’m no longer certain we can both increase our “rainy day fund” and lower our mortgage principal to the extent we had hoped without altering our desired lifestyle, but that won’t stop us from trying! I just know that after being reminded of how fast large, unexpected expenses can pile up, increasing our “rainy day fund” will be the priority.

I may have a pretty strong financial background, but I don’t have all the answers. I’m just like you, and not immune to the financial strains that come up in life. As Sugarland so perfectly puts it in their popular song It Happens:

Ain't no rhyme or reason
No complicated meaning
Ain't no need to overthink it
Let go laughing
Life don't go quite like you planned it
We try so hard to understand it
The irrefutable, indisputable fact is
It happens


P.S. I kid you not that BOTH of our air conditioning units quit working within 48 hours of my original draft of this post! Argh! It happens.

1 comment:

  1. I was wondering why you didn't mention the A/C. IT (AC) is something you can't live without--at least in Hot, Muggy Atlanta! Keep up the good work, TOM!