Every finance guru in America has preached that having an emergency fund is the most basic and fundamental part of having a sound financial plan. Suze Orman has told us that, “Emergency cash is a necessity, not a luxury,” while even Michelle Singletary has asserted that you need at least three to six months of living expenses stashed away for a “rainy day.” While I understand the logic behind this, I totally disagree with putting alarming words like “emergency” and “rainy day” in such close proximity to my money.
What’s appealing about saving for something bad? What’s motivating about creating an account for when you lose your job or your car clunks out? What’s stimulating about the thought of a major medical condition overtaking your loved one? It’s no wonder 70% of America is living paycheck to paycheck! Some financial whiz thought fearing us into saving would work and unfortunately it hasn’t scared us quite the way they hoped!
Associating money, something I consider positive, with an emergency, something I consider to be very real, but negative in most instances, just doesn’t make sense to me. That’s why I believe emergency funds are really dumb.
I believe that what you verbalize, you visualize and therefore run a greater chance of magnifying in your life. So, if you’re running around asserting that you need an “emergency fund” then what will happen? You’ll probably have an emergency! It’s inevitable that your transmission will go out, your favorite cousin who’s been dating what’s his face for about 10 years will finally decide to get married and have the nerve to have a destination wedding and Christmas will miraculously seem to move up a week and catch you by surprise again this year!
So, what’s my answer? . . .
The Opportunity Fund – An Alternative To The Emergency Fund
I believe we should save for opportunities and never emergencies. Why not focus on the things in life you really would like to magnify and bring forth? Why not save for a business venture, a dream vacation, a down payment on a home or some other opportunity that would serve your soul? Why not save for a sunny day; the day you actually have the money to take care of something that both matters to you and adds to your life ?
Will emergencies still arise? Of course. But, now you have the opportunity to make what would have once been a crisis a simple inconvenience. There is nothing pleasant about an emergency, but knowing that if one came up, you could handle it with ease is definitely a blessing.