Many people (if not most) live paycheck to paycheck and are only one or two paychecks away from a financial catastrophe. In fact, just a couple of days ago I heard about a young woman I know who has experienced three potentially financially disastrous events over the course of a few weeks.
- First, she recently changed jobs and is making quite a bit less money.
- Second, her car (a necessity in her rural location) broke down and requires major repairs, which is really bad since her new job is at a resort about 20 miles out of town.
- Third, she and her husband have separated and she and her two kids are now staying with her mother until she can find a place to rent.
While any one of these changes in circumstance would put many people in a bind, dealing with two or more financial disasters simultaneously can be totally devastating.
Looking back, I must admit that until about 10 years, I also lived just one paycheck from disaster, as well. In fact, I can think of very few people that I personally know who aren’t pretty much in that position, lacking even a minimal emergency fund. While I can happily say that I am no longer in that situation, I could easily have faced financial ruin at most any point between the ages of 18 and 42.
During those years, however, I did weather numerous financial storms from which I learned the valuable lesson of living off less than I made and working toward securing the future as best I could. I chose to forgo many things that are often seen as ‘necessities’ (cable tv, evenings out, new clothes each season, etc.) and slowly worked my way to my current state of financial serenity. It took focus, time and perseverance but I’m living proof that it can be done.
Be sure to check out this fun game to see if you can survive on $1,000 a month.
So how far are YOU right now from financial disaster? And what are you doing TODAY to change your precarious financial situation?
Crystal Marie lives by the philosophy that needing less rather than earning more is the key to happiness and financial serenity, which allowed her to “retire” from formal employment in health education at the age of 44. She can be found making the most of the second half on her blog, The Best 50 Years.