After digging and pouring the footer for our house, it’s time to set our foundation. Our financial foundation needs to be solid, stable, and able to support the weight of our financial house.
Three components of a solid financial foundation -
At present, my wife and I have health insurance, term life insurance, disability insurance, automobile insurance, dental insurance, and renter’s insurance. We also have an umbrella policy that protects us from events not covered by our renter’s or automobile insurance. In the future, we plan to purchase long-term care insurance.
Ever few years, I review my policies with a qualified professional. My wife and I believe in several ounces of prevention.
My wife and I really enjoy living debt free. (It rocks!) Our hope is that we can live the rest of our lives without borrowing money. (We might make an exception for the purchase of a house. At present, we live in a house provided by my employer as part of my compensation. If I were to change jobs and we were to move, we would either rent or take on a mortgage, depending on what was right for our family at the time. For the sake of this article, I’ll be speaking of non-mortgage debt.)
If you have high-interest debt, it’s time to get angry and do something about it! Making minimum payments and dealing with credit card companies isn’t any fun. Make a plan, eliminate your debt, and then move on to the really important things in life.
My wife an I have an emergency fund (roughly) equal to six months worth of expenses. We built this emergency fund immediately after paying off our last debt. The peace-of-mind it provides is priceless. (While we were paying off our debt, maintained a smaller emergency fund between $800 and $2000.) The amount in an emergency fund will vary, depending of family size, location, employment situation, and comfort level. We sleep better at night, knowing that we have an emergency fund in place.
Pouring and setting a solid foundation can be back-breaking work. Dealing with a financial foundation can be extremely taxing – mentally and emotionally. I know, for me, it was overwhelming when we first began the process of getting out of debt. I was embarrassed by many of the financial decisions I had made in my past and I felt somewhat lost as to where to begin. Thankfully, I was able to connect with some good friends who had good advice and, little-by-little, I was able to make some very positive changes.
Go slow. Understand what you are doing. Keep things simple. Move forward.
Start with a good, solid foundation – and the rest of the building will (almost) build itself.