Prepared for Financial Emergency? Did you know that almost half of the US population is not?
Right before my car was declared a total loss, I had to take it to the shop.
I drove a Volvo, which meant that I was going to have to pay a lot.
So I drove it for weeks knowing that something was wrong with it. When the fumes started to make me literally dizzy, I knew I couldn’t wait any longer.
What was wrong with the car? It suffered from a problem that lots of other Volvos deal with by around 120,000. The O-Ring disintegrates and the fuel pump begins to fail, creating a hole which releases kind of dangerous gas fumes into the car’s interior. It may have been extremely dangerous, but I tried to keep that out of my head because I knew that I didn’t have the money to cover that repair.
Then there was another time, when I was younger. I was just out of College and didn’t have Health insurance. I got into a bicycle accident that split my eyebrow in two and gave me a concussion. I knew I couldn’t afford to get to the ER any other way except by walking, so I did that. I sat in the ER for a few hours and had the doctor look at me for about a minute. After he looked me over, he had his assistant disinfect the gash and put in the stitches I needed to stop the bleeding.
I never thought I would’ve ended up in either one of those situations, but I was. I had a financial emergency I needed to get out of, quick.
Both of them cost over a thousand dollars.
In the first case, I had money saved in an emergency fund for just this kind of situation. In the other, I was much younger…I didn’t have much money to begin with. But I knew that I could negotiate medical bills. Knowing what I know now, I probably could’ve done better by researching medical procedures by using the Healthcare Blue Book or the Fair Health Consumer Cost Lookup. The Wall Street Journal also has a good How-To on Researching Health Care Prices. Consumer Reports, available for free with your library card + PIN, has great advice on negotiating health care medical costs.
We are one of the few libraries that subscribes to Mitchell1 and AllData which can give you information on labor times and costs. They are also great sites for using if you like to do your own car repairs. They also contain a listing of ‘hidden’ warranties, also known as Technical Service Bulletins. These TSBs can help you save on car repairs that turn out to be common issues with your car’s make and model. You’ll have to use these resources in the library, but you could always call us at the Reference Department or e-mail us to look for you if you can’t make it down.
These resources and many more can be found in our All Research – A to Z page in our website.
Are you prepared for a financial emergency?
The Patchogue-Medford Financial Literacy Topic Guide, created thanks to a partnership with FINRA, is full of information on creating a budget and staying financially fit. There’s a great short brochure on the site that has six simple strategies that can help you become financially literate and prepared for emergencies like mine.
Even if it doesn’t happen to you, it may happen to someone you love.