How often do you think about your own personal safety and how being safe might impact on your financial situation? I never used to actively think about safety until I went on a safety course at work, but afterwards my entire perspective on safety and my finances changed.
The course started with this video (be warned that it is a little graphic in parts) and it really set the tone for the remainder of the day and how everyone should take safety seriously. I think the reason why the course had such a big impact on me is because of my family situation. I am now a father, and my wife is at home full time looking after our son. This leaves me as the primary bread winner for the family, and if I was to lose my income then we would all suffer because of that.
I had myself questioning many of the obvious safety hazards that I saw day to day, but previously had done nothing about. The main thoughts I had running through my head were:
What happens if I can't work for a period of time due to being injured?
What happens if I can never work again because I am seriously injured or disabled?
What would happen to my family if I was to pass away?
None of these thoughts were pleasant, but they were questions that needed answers as I don't want to leave my family in a bad financial situation if something happens to me. So we needed to do something to ensure we could cope with almost any situation.
Since that safety course my wife and I have taken some action to ensure that we can get by should something untoward happen to either of us.
The first thing we looked at was whether or not we had enough money in our emergency fund. This would be the money we use first should something go wrong.
I always try to ensure that my emergency fund has at least 3 months worth of wages in it. 3 months seems like a good amount and I expect that our fund could last longer if we seriously tighten our belts should we start using it.
Currently we do a lot of discretionary spending that could be easily cut back if we were living out of our emergency fund. Many of these expenses are not required and they are easy ways to save money.
The next big thing was life insurance cover for both my wife and I. I knew that I had some cover through my workplace, but as my wife was no longer at work we needed to make sure she was covered as well.
The reason why I wanted us both covered was because if she happened to pass away then I would be left to look after our son. That would mean that I would need to either stay home with him, or find alternate arrangements while I went to work every day. Having the life insurance cover makes those types of decisions a lot easier as you won't have the added worry of money to deal with.
Income Protection Insurance
I looked into income protection insurance as a way to protect our family from me getting seriously injured where I could no longer work, however, in this instance we decided against it. The reason for this decision was that we are essentially debt free and my wife could always go back to work should I be unable to work.
There were a lot of assumptions that went into this decision, and we are taking on a certain amount of risk, but we feel it was the right decision for our situation.
Diversifying our Income
Rather than going with income protection, we decided that we would be better off spending our time and money diversifying our income away from just my day job. This is a bit more of a long term plan and it also has its risks, but the potential rewards are well worth it. In essence this would mean that no matter what happens, we should be able to continue earning money from other sources.
I know a lot of people think safety is a bit of a joke, but I'm really glad that I went on that safety workshop. It challenged a number of the things I had taken for granted in my life and it got me thinking about my family and how easily things can fall apart if you aren't properly prepared.
Hopefully what I have gone through here today helps you to think about your own situation. Taking the time to check your own preparedness when it comes to sickness, injury or even death is an important part of being financially responsible, and it is something that I feel everyone should be on top of.
Glen is the owner of How to Save Money, a personal finance website dedicated to helping people save money and find financial freedom. Glen recently paid off over $300,000 in mortgage debt within 7 years, and he wants to share all his money saving tips with others to help them get on their way to financial freedom.