All the personal finance advisers seem to say that you should have an “Emergency Fund.”
I have to confess. I just don’t get what that is.
What exactly is an “emergency”? My whole life is one emergency after another.
What am I going to make for dinner tonight? Do I have the ingredients?
Medical care is one example of an “emergency” financial people always give. We have several medical bills that come due every month. For me, it’s not an emergency, it’s a regular expense. I know a lot of people who have medical bills as a regular expense.
What if you need to fix the car? Yeah, that happens pretty regularly, too, with our cars. How is that an emergency? That’s life.
If I had an emergency fund, the “emergencies” it would have to handle would make it look almost exactly like my checking account. I put most of our family income into it each month, and each month I pay the bills that come due.
So, they say I need a savings account. I ask, why?
To make interest? At 0.01% that the banks will give you? Maybe a half percent on a long-term CD? I lose money against inflation.
Putting money in the bank is just as bad as putting cash under your mattress. Maybe worse. You lose even more money on gas or bus fare to get to the bank, so the mattress is actually a better option.
Instead of an “Emergency fund,” I think I’m going to start a “mattress fund.” I’ll put half the money that comes in under the mattress. Then, when I need it, it’ll be there.
I’m pretty sure the financial advisors would disagree, but I’ve got a hunch that the best personal monetary policy is to do away with banks as much as possible, and stick with cold, hard cash on the barrelhead.
But I’m no expert. What do you think?