Mr. Horace Mann said ‘There is nothing as costly as ignorance’. We follow an age old habit of ignoring the consequences of an emergency in our life. The practice of maintaining emergency fund is not in the highest priority list amongst the most of the professionals. ArthaYantra conducted a research on 2000+ working professionals across various cities of India covering various age demographics, some alarming results came out which expose the preparedness of these professionals to meet an emergency in their life. An emergency is the risk caused due to death/disability, risk of health or loss of job.
Entry Level Professionals
When it comes to preparedness for an emergency, Entry Level professional fared surprisingly low. As high as 85.6% of professionals do not have enough savings for emergencies or have inadequate liquid reserves.
Mid – Level Professionals
The entry level professional are generally those who have less than 6 years of working experience, mostly single with less financial burden. But considering the future aspects, it is very important for them to start having adequate reserves.
The midlevel professionals are categorized as young family with mortgages to pay and some immediate financial requirement. This category ideally should have a sufficient reserves as the cash requirement are short term and immediate. But they fall short when it comes to preparedness for emergencies. Research shows that 61.60% percent do not have proper surplus to meet any future contingencies.
Senior Level Professionals:
Although the numbers as compared to the entry level professionals are slightly better, but looking at their future burden of responsibilities, they are the most vulnerable to such emergencies. It would be prudent for this group of professionals to proactively start building an emergency corpus to face any adverse situation in life.
When it comes to even higher level professional the picture doesn’t look good at all. Alarmingly, 70.83% of senior level professional do not have proper buffer for emergencies.
Consider middle age families with young kids in a situation where the sole breadwinner dies due to accident or loses the job or one of the family members get seriously ill. In such circumstances, they would be forced to either sell their assets like jewelry or even their homes. Personal loans, hand loans and credit cards start playing their role in addling on to their debts and hence disturbing their financial life completely.
Planning for future financial goals should never be done at the cost of ignorance of planning for an uncertain future event. One needs to make sure that the amount spent for securing such a risk is not treated as an unnecessary expense. Just like planning for retirement, planning for an uncertain job loss by setting aside a multiple of the monthly expenses is also very important. It would ensure the lifestyle remains unchanged even when the situation gets tough.Consider middle age families with young kids in a situation where the sole breadwinner dies due to accident or loses the job or one of the family members get seriously ill. In such circumstances, they would be forced to either sell their assets like jewellery or even their homes. Personal loans, hand loans and credit cards start playing their role in addling on to their debts and hence disturbing their financial life completely.
In personal finance there are three risks which are required to be covered.
Risk of death/disability
For a family where the earning member either dies or suffers disability which results in the loss of income, a proper insurance coverage against such situation would ensure adequate support to the dependants. The insurance coverage should only be in the form of a pure term plan or personal accident insurance policy.
Risk of health
With the change in lifestyle and increase in hospital expenses, one has to ensure that proper health insurance coverage is taken. This would cover the expenses in case of illness of any family member. Although there is coverage provided by the employer in some cases, this coverage is always not adequate. Hence one should not rely only on the coverage provided by the employer but also buy some coverage on their own to ensure the entire risk is adequately covered.
Risk of Job Loss/Major expenses
Planning for this kind of emergencies is the most ignored aspect of personal finance. Proper liquidity has to be maintained throughout so that any possibility of personal/hand loans and credit card usage is minimized. The ideal amount to be kept aside should be 3 to 6 months of monthly expenses.
Before determining future financial aspirations, the savings for an emergency should be considered as the highest priority objective. Although there are other options that can be used in such contingencies like personal loans, hand loans, etc. but they would finally end up as a liability and hence will cause serious dents in surplus levels. Ignoring the savings for emergency can even cost future goals impacting the entire personal finance of the individual. It would be good to start saving with a disciplined approach to face any emergencies in life.