Posted by Allison on 1 April 2009, 16:21
It sounds like a personal question, doesn't it? And it is – so personal in fact that even you may not be able to answer it.
But it is in your best interests to. Because the size of your safety net will determine how much protection you will have if the worst were to happen. If you lost your job or your only means of income, how long would it be before you ran into real money trouble?
For many people it wouldn't take long at all. But the good news is that you can start taking steps today to make sure that tomorrow will be brighter. And it's not too difficult to do either.
It helps to build up some encouragement and enthusiasm for your task however. And there is no better source of this than Alvin Hall. He has made a lot of money from helping other people to understand their own relationships with money. He also has a knack of making anything to do with money seem rather enjoyable.
That's why we recommend you go over to MSN Money and take a look at his series of articles and podcasts included on their site. Visit http://money.uk.msn.com/guides/articles/alvinhall.aspx for more details - and a healthy shot of enthusiasm!
So when it comes to making that safety net, how do you start? Well, a good place would be to see how big your net already is. What do you have in the way of savings? Our UK currency might not be worth as much as it was in other countries, but it is still the one you rely on every day. Make sure you save as much of it as you can. That's the secret to being prepared for a rainy day up ahead.
The biggest danger is that you will be tempted to put off making that net until tomorrow. But you never know when you will need it. And the sooner you start planning for your financial future the better off you will be if you do need some cash in a hurry.
So make a note of how much you have in all your accounts. Include your current account as well, even if you run into your overdraft every month. In fact, this can be a good place to start, since it is the first debt you should try and get rid of. Once you are in the black again you can start squirreling away small amounts of cash here and there.
Plan an evening – a couple of hours would do – to get reacquainted with your money again. Find out where it goes and what it does. And figure out how you can hang on to more of it each month. Discipline is all that stands between you and a nice big safety net. You'll be amazed how much more secure you will feel when you know you have money in the bank that can protect you against unforeseen events.
That is especially the case at the moment, with the state of the financial system. You may have noticed that some people have made it their job to fret and worry about what might happen next. But why don't you make it your job to start saving for the future – whatever happens?
This is undoubtedly the most positive and pro-active thing you can do, and it can only end in a good outcome.