2020 – The Year of the Emergency Fund

For some of us, 2020 was supposed to be the year of resets, freedom, and new beginnings. It didn’t turn out that way, unfortunately. Sigh.

With no end in sight to the coronavirus pandemic, we cling to hopes of a vaccine and medical treatments.  It’s all scary, tiring, and depressing. This, combined with a draining job, has resulted in my not posting much this year.

The Job

The job is still draining and stressful and I’d rather be doing any number of things instead, but given the current environment, I’m grateful to have any money coming in. Three more people in my division have been let go. One of those let go was in my team. 

A higher-up in my project work unit (not my manager) never really liked me much, but when a new person joined my team late last year and was struggling more than me, he turned his attention to her. He expressed his criticism of her work to other people, including her manager, never directly to her. He got her fired last month.

Now his attention has returned to me and he’s vocally criticized a deliverable that I turned in. I learned this through someone else. So on top of everything else going on, I’m trying to dodge a knife in the back. The other people I work with seem to be fine with me. Well, there is one other person who doesn’t like me (there’s always one, right?), but that would be a novel to write about. Sigh. The corporate workplace…. 😦

S.I.P: Shelter-in-Place |  Stuck-in-Place

As you may remember, I rent a room in a house. I have three roommates. Roommate #1 fled and is living with her parents during lock-down although she still comes to the house from time to time. Roommate #2 has been an “essential worker” since day #1, and thus works in town all day and is only home in evenings. Roommate #3 is working from home like me. Unsurprisingly, being cooped up in the house all the time, we are getting on each other’s nerves.

I have had multiple flare-ups of “apartment fever”. Roommates were and still are, coming and going, in and out of the house. It is causing me stress, because when you live with roommates you have no control over who comes in the front door, where they’ve been, or with whom they’ve been. I hate it. In fits of pique, I’ve vowed to get my own place once I’ve fully funded my emergency fund.

But I always end up talking myself out of it. There are benefits to having other people around if I become very ill suddenly. One of them might care enough to call an ambulance.

There is also a financial aspect. Not many people have absolute job security right now. I, for one, most certainly do not. I don’t care what any employer says about “no COVD layoffs”. Companies can, and will, find ways to reduce headcount without calling it a “layoff”. I can’t take the risk of getting my own place and then losing my job in this environment.

So, like many people, I’m stuck-in-place. All the plans I had for 2020 have been frozen.

Retirement Savings

I finally looked at my retirement accounts. I’m still contributing every pay period like I was before COVID-19, but everything I’ve put in since the beginning of the year has disappeared into a black hole. My retirement savings have taken a substantial hit, but it hasn’t phased me as much as I feared it would. It’s just not particularly important to me right now.

Staying alive and healthy are my priorities. I have some pre-existing health issues that put me at higher risk than the average person for having severe outcomes.  I have no significant other or family nearby to take care of me if I were to get sick. I can’t focus on retirement right now. What am I focused on? Cold, hard, cash.

The Year of the Emergency Fund

I only have one goal right now. Save cash. I ended my journey of debt payoff with 10k in my emergency fund. It is now $17,000, several months later. It should have been higher by now, but I’ve been spending a lot.

Most recently, I bought a high-quality ($$) office chair to replace the hard task chair that I have been using since COVID working from home started. That task chair has been destroying my back and backside! My bed mattress has completely collapsed and it is outright painful to sleep on. I have no idea how old my bed is. It came with the room when I rented it. I bought a new one.

My goal is to have $30,000 saved as soon as I can for my E-fund. Because of COVID-19, I’d eventually like to have $50,000 saved. Yes, that may sound like a LOT, and it is a lot. But these are not normal times. I’m also saving for the possibility of additional medical expenses if I get sick. Or I may lose my job along with my health insurance and have to pay through the nose for Cobra or some open market plan, etc.

I expect my supersized E-fund to be temporary. I figure that if a vaccine comes out and I don’t lose my job, I’ll take the extra $20,000 and convert it to a career break/transition fund, or a travel fund, or save it as a down payment on something in the future. Either way, I’d rather have the cash and not need it, than need it and not have it.

On the other hand, maybe I’ll keep it at that amount. $50,000 would be an awesome “Fuck Off Fund”. Once I have that much cash in the bank, losing any job won’t be a big deal. I wouldn’t have to work for well over a year, thus no panic. Sigh. I can dream. I’m nowhere near having that much saved yet, but that’s my target.

Do you have your emergency fund fully funded yet?

.

Read:

A Story of a Fuck Off Fund (The viral essay that popularized the term.)

What is a Fuck Off Fund?  (One blogger’s take on what this fund is. $50,000 would put me at Tier 4. How much do you plan to save?)

Double Debt Single Woman Archives

.

“When you don’t have options, you’re in prison.”

16 comments

  1. Tainted Tiara · May 18

    I can empathize with everything you wrote, for sure! I currently live with no one, so while I love that I’m not getting annoyed with others every day, this extrovert is struggling. I’m essential but working from home, and the monotony of day after day of exactly the same thing combined with the lack of human contact is torture some days. I’m down to $16,500 left on my parent PLUS loans, but luckily because I never refinanced they are at 0% interest until October. Instead of continuing to pay on them, I’ve decided to save every penny I can as well. My job is secure, but you’re right, you never know. By October 1st I should have the entire balance saved up to either pay off or have a decent emergency fund started. Even if I decide to keep it as an emergency fund, I’ll be able to pay off the remaining loan by the end of this year! I’m excited. Keep working on that Fuck Off Fund, girl! You got this!

    Like

    • Omg, I would LOVE to have my own place right now. Sigh.
      Congrats on getting that loan down. You’ll have everything paid off by the end of the year?! Awesome!! I hope you have a celebratory post about it.

      Thank you, TT! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Cat E. · May 18

    So good to hear from you again! Keep your head up, and do your own marketing campaign at work. Tell your boss about the great things you’re doing and anybody else worth telling! Stay well and stash cash!

    Like

    • Thanks, Cat. 🙂
      With everything going on, I don’t know why people act like this at work.

      Staying alive and stashing cash are my goals right now. $$$

      Like

  3. Afro Penny · May 18

    Every bit of this post resonated with me, particularly the “Stuck-In-Place” and the emergency fund…
    The stuck-in-place is particularly difficult at this moment because you are 1) grateful to have a steady paycheck and income despite being unhappy in your current role and 2) have limited opportunities for employment elsewhere. I think together this need to appear grateful while also stuck has led me to feel depressed quite a bit.

    The emergency fund…I need to get it together. Due to the student loan balance transfer to a CC, I am a bit stuck at the moment but this moment has show me more than ever that I need to horde cash for the considerable future once the BT is paid off in August. So no, my emergency fund is the baby e-fund recommended by Dave Ramsey but I need to get started on building a real one ASAP.

    Your e-fund is the e-fund of dreams. I think my income is considerably lower than your so saving $10K might be a bit much but saving $5K before returning back to debt repayment seems doable.

    Also…after rereading all your post, I’m thinking about creating a travel fund. It doesn’t seem tenable that I don’t travel again until all my debt is paid off. I think I will start putting a couple of bucks in it here and there with the idea that I will celebrate with an international trip once I get below $100K which would mean I have paid off over $48K (shhh…more on that another day) since I started.

    Like

    • Hey, Afro Penny! My target e-fund is indeed the e-fund of dreams. I’m trying to get there. It will take some time.
      Save what you can. E-funds are not one size fits all.

      Yes to the travel fund. Life is so short for all us. I really, really hope a vaccine is discovered, because this year was supposed to be the start of a decade of serious travel for me now that I’d finally gotten out of debt. Good on you for celebrating the milestones.

      Like

  4. StubbornMama · May 19

    So glad to hear from you DDSW! I’ve been wondering how you were faring with COVID. I, myself, am essential and have been working out of the home since it all began. Hubby, while considered somewhat essential, took a voluntary lay off (the emergency benefit that our Prime Minister was offering amounted to only $100 less than what hubby brought home a month) and stayed home with our daughter, saving us over $600 a month in childcare costs so it evens out. He started back to work today (our province had only 120 cases out of a population of ~770,000 and we are completely recovered but, as a province, the minute we discovered one case, we shut all travel, non essential services/shops, and most daycares except a few for essential workers down and went into lockdown/isolation). The good news is that, without shops to go to and spend, I will have both mine and hubby’s credit card paid off this month and can begin on our 2 lines of credit. I realize, though, that others have not been as lucky and I feel for them. We have missed family terribly during the lockdown and are looking forward to be able to see them again (minus the social distancing) in the coming weeks. Sending lots of positive vibes your way!!

    Like

    • Thank you, Stubborn Mama. 🙂
      I’m glad that you and your husband are healthy and getting through all this. I hope he stays safe now that he’s going back out to work. Congrats on saving money and thanks for the update.

      Like

  5. Michelle · May 20

    Yay! So glad to see your post, I was wondering how things were going. I hate to hear about your work situation. It is my dream to be financially independent so I do not ever have to deal with terrible work situations again.

    Your EF goal is awesome! I cannot imagine my confidence if I had $50,000 saved. Can’t wait to hear that you have crossed the goal line!

    Like

  6. Budget Life List · May 26

    Boo, corporate politics but you sound resilient and hopeful, so there is that…. Congrats to paying off your debt and being able to put it towards bigger and better things! I have a travel fund too, I call it Expedition Everywhere. As far as an emergency fund, I do have 6ish months stashed which feels pretty great right around now but as with anything that took a lot of effort before this Coronachaos. Cheers to a bright financial future!

    Like

  7. Maria · May 30

    So glad to see a post from you! The corporate world… What a douchebag that guy is. Is it wrong to hope he cathces Covid-19 (but you know, pulls through and everything, doesn’t pass it on etc), so he’s out for a while?

    A 30k emergency fund sounds awesome. So does a 50k one. At least you’re making great use of this time. 🙂 Relatively soon you’ll have your own place and an excellent emergency fund. And no debt!

    Like

    • Double Debt Single Woman · 15 Days Ago

      Lol. He’s actually been on vacation for the past week, which has been nice. Yeah, getting to $30k is what is keeping me holding on right now. If I reach that and still have a job, then the goal will shift up to $50k. At $30k I will start having options on the table. That’s my goal.

      Thank you, Maria. 🙂

      Like

  8. Avery · May 30

    So happy to hear from you and so glad to hear you’re doing fine (health wise) though hearing about your higher up at work really makes my blood boil.

    That $50k emergency fund goal would be a life changer! Can’t wait till you make it. Just imagine the peace of mind you’d have…

    Like

Leave a Reply to Avery Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s