I don’t know about you, but I am pretty familiar with Murphy’s Law. You know how the saying goes: “If anything can go wrong, it will”. It seems like this most often applies when it comes to finances! We all seem to have situations where we find ourselves a little light on funds right around the time a major, unexpected expense pops up, and having a plan in place helps ease the stress of those surprises.
This December, I was once again faced with one of those kinds of situations. After paying my semiannual real estate taxes and shopping for the holiday season, my checking account was only in slightly rough shape. I had planned for it, though. I had saved a little each month to prepare for the taxes, and I had followed my holiday budget plan as well. I was actually pretty proud of myself for how smoothly everything went until I had a silly accident and broke my finger. Initially, I thought it was a minor injury and would just require a splint, some ice, and anti-inflammatory medicine; however, the doctor in the emergency room had other news. He told me the break was bad enough that it required surgery. After getting over the initial feeling of you gotta be kidding me, I started running down the mental checklist of every area I needed to look at in order to plan for this ordeal. I checked with my medical insurance to see how much was left of my deductible that I would need to meet out-of-pocket. I have a high deductible plan which is great during accident-free months, but issues like this can be a little more of a struggle. However, I have a health savings account attached to this plan, and I had been setting aside money from my paycheck each month into this account. While there wasn’t quite enough in there to meet the entire deductible, the deficiency was much easier to handle than the entire amount would have been. I also checked with my accident insurance policy to see if there was any sort of claim I could file with them as well. In addition to the financial side, I made sure to check on what this situation meant in regards to work. I verified with my doctor that I would be allowed to work before the surgery, and he confirmed that I could return to work as soon as I felt ready afterwards. At work, I checked how much time off I had left for the year, and I spoke with my manager about my schedule. In addition to being able to pay for the surgery, I wanted to be sure that my paychecks following the procedure wouldn’t suffer as well!
Going forward, I know that there are a few things I need to do to be even more prepared. I now know that I need to set aside a little more each month into my health savings account to ensure that the entire deductible can be covered! And I will definitely be diligent with the use of my time off in case I need more of it for a more serious accident in the future. It’s always a good idea to have a plan in place because you never know when Mr. Murphy will come along and visit you!