This new reality led to nationwide job losses and financial hardships. Simultaneously, the cost for many everyday household essentials increased substantially. Unfortunately, we are still faced with some of the same struggles today. The ability to live paycheck to paycheck is no longer a safe option.
You may have heard the age-old idiom, “saving for a rainy day.” I believe that this statement indicates two things: 1) a rainy day is very possible, and 2) when it happens, we need to be financially prepared. What one considers a rainy day will vary from person to person. However, we can all agree that a rainy day is a period unlike any other and one which will require preparation. I would propose that we are living in unpredictable times which feels like a prolonged rainy day.
How then can we prepare to weather this stormy season? Financial experts recommend having an appropriate amount in a savings account. Some experts recommend that you should consider saving 20 percent of each paycheck. Others suggest saving the equivalent of 3 to 6 months of your normal monthly expenses. Although experts may not all agree on the perfect amount to save, the emphasis is on saving something. Whether you save 20 percent or $20 per pay period, the idea is to start a savings account.
The number one reason given for not saving is, “I don’t have the extra money to spare,” and to some, that may be the case. However, where there is a will, there is certainly a way. Here are two simple tips to help start your successful journey to saving. 1) Set an achievable goal. Start small with a short-term goal until you’ve created a natural routine of saving. $20 a week for six months sounds easier than $1,000 a year. 2) Identify what you can do without. Eliminating a $10 take-out order can become $500 in savings.
It is believed that two-thirds of Americans have less than $1,000 saved, while 1 out of 4 have no savings at all. In Proverbs 21:20, Jesus declares there is desirable treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise; But a foolish man squanders it. It is never too late to prepare for the unexpected. Again, the key is to start. Most major banks can assist you with opening a savings account. If you find depositing money is a daunting task, options allow for funds to be automatically deposited securely into an account through your bank or employer.
Matthew 25 speaks of the five wise virgins and five foolish virgins preparing to meet the delayed bridegroom. Like the five wise virgins, if we would consider saving some “oil” now, then, unlike the five foolish, when the “bridegroom” unexpectedly arrives, we, too, will be prepared.
Jermaine Jackson is the Lake Union Stewardship director.