Here’s just one example of why an emergency fund is a financial must.

I Drove Through A Stop Sign, My Emergency Fund Fueled My Recovery

I Drove Through A Stop Sign, My Emergency Fund Fueled My Recovery

Here's just one example of why an emergency fund is a financial must.

Six months after graduation, I got my first break at age 22 working for a non-profit. It was a dream job in many ways – I was a program coordinator for an arts education program working with underserved youth.

In the first couple of weeks, I found out that my boss was dealing with some medical issues and was unable to drive for a while. For him, the organization had set up a rideshare schedule where the staff would take turns picking him up.

I eagerly signed up so I could prove I was a team player. On the morning that I was to pick up my boss from his house, I was distracted. I had just moved to LA and was living in a new apartment and navigating my way through a new job. And there was a guy I was seeing who made me swoon. My mind was all over the place. So much so that I did not realize I ran through a stop sign… and got T-boned.

In a matter of seconds, I was propelled from one side of the street to the other. My heart was racing, but I was still breathing and could move. “What  just happened?” I thought to myself.

The guy that hit me came up to me and yelled, “What were you thinking?! You went straight through the stop sign!”


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Crap. It was my fault. Now I had an at-fault accident on my record (which later increased my car insurance rates), my car was severely damaged — oh, and I was late to pick up my boss for work — and wasn’t going to make it.

Before the cops arrived to assess the situation, I called my boss to let him know I was in an accident — two blocks away from his place — and wouldn’t be able to take him to work. I was absolutely mortified. I was so close to his house and I was still a new employee, with only three weeks of work under my belt.

I wasn’t able to make it to work until four hours later, after the cops came and a tow truck took my car away.

Aside from the embarrassment of it all, the salt on the wound was the nearly $2,000 bill that accompanied the accident. I had car insurance with a high deductible.

Since I had just started my new job, I hadn’t received my first paycheck yet.  I wasn’t great with money when I was younger.

Even so, I had always saved something from my paychecks. A habit that also saved my butt.

I didn’t have a credit card at the time and would have no other way to pay for this unfortunate accident as my first paycheck was still two weeks away. But I had $3,000 in an emergency fund.

It hurt to put that much money down to get mobile again after a senseless accident (aren’t all car accidents senseless?), but I was grateful to have the money and be able to get by for a few more weeks until my first paycheck.

I had a bruised ego and a smaller savings account, but having a separate savings account only for emergencies helped this situation become an inconvenience, rather than a crisis. Since then, I’ve had a handful of other unexpected emergencies and I’ve learned that these things are inevitable — it’s not a matter of if they happen, but when.

Now I’m a die hard emergency fund advocate and suggest that everyone has a separate savings account that isn’t touched until those unpleasant moments surprise you. Consider saving at least three to six-month’s worth of expenses in a separate savings account. It might just save your butt, like it did mine, and help you avoid any additional debt.

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