Cover your bases in case of an emergency - MoneySense

Cover your bases in case of an emergency

No matter how much we plan, things can and do go wrong. Here’s how to prepare yourself financially.


The mouse in Scottish poet Robbie Burns’s To a Mouse on Turning her up in her Nest with a Plough teaches us a lot about what it means to expecting the unexpected. The truth is, no matter how much we plan, things can and do go wrong (in the poem the plough turns a mouse’s nest to mulch) causing all kinds of problems.

So the question becomes, do you have a back-up plan? Most people don’t. And yet, it is only those who take the time to create a Plan B that weather storms well.

Remember the ice storm of 1998? Maybe not if it didn’t affect you. But people were without electricity and the basics of life for many days. Do you live in a tornado zone? Does your river overflow its banks? Is it likely that you roof might blow off in a windstorm?

Equally as important as the whims of weather are the whims of life: You could lose your job, get sick or worse.

Here’s what you’ll need to prepare yourself:

  • An emergency fund that would take care of at least six months’ worth of essential expenses.
  • A curve ball account for those little missteps that can throw even the best budget into the wind.
  • A will, financial and personal care powers of attorney as well as a named a guardian for your children.
  • Enough life insurance so those financially dependent on you won’t be left homeless in case you die young.
  • Disability insurance because one in three people under the age of 65 become disabled and the average long-term disability in Canada lasts just 3.1 years.

Without the above, how long could your family last if the worst did happen?

It’s not a waste of time and effort to turn your mind to the what-ifs of life. It’s a good way to know that should the worst come a’knockin’ on your door, your family will be safe. Like the saying goes, “Fail to plan and you plan to fail!”