February 22, 2019

What Would You Do If You Missed Two Paychecks?

“The government shutdown ended late last week. It went on for 35 days and meant that nearly 800,000 government employees and contractors missed two paychecks. Furloughed workers took out high-interest loans and second mortgages on their homes, and visited food pantries to get meals on the table. Though workers are still digging out, the worst of the nightmare is over for now due to a temporary spending bill; still, the government could shut down again in a few weeks.

For the rest of the country looking on, the question of what we would do if we missed two paychecks in a row was on many people’s minds. And for many, it was no mystery: They wouldn’t be able to afford it.

I’m a financial educator and adviser. Experts in my field have a wide variety of views and often disagree on specifics. Yet there is near-universal agreement on this: Always have an emergency fund — money set aside for unexpected costs such as medical bills, a broken-down car, or when the government is locked in a legislative battle that leaves you furloughed for a month.

In my 15 years of doing this job, people rarely are kept up at night because they worry about the specifics of tax-efficient investment or an inability to calculate interest rates. It is much more likely that they worry about having enough resources to weather a storm. It’s why prioritizing an emergency fund is likely to make your nights more restful and your financial life more resilient in the years to come.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"Political leaders from all French parties, including former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, joined Jews and non-Jews in Paris’s Place de la Republique to condemn antisemitic acts."

"Eighty years ago tonight, thousands of Americans gathered in New York to rally behind the Nazi Party and its ideals. An Oscar-nominated short documentary retrieves footage of the event, but leaves out the context that gives it meaning."

"The PM has persuaded the religious-Zionist Jewish Home to partner with the Kahanists of Otzma Yehudit. It makes cynical political sense for his interests, but what of Israel’s?"

"IFC’s series Documentary Now! began as an affectionately parodic tribute to the classics of nonfiction cinema. Its first episode, “Sandy Passage,” was a note-perfect evocation of the Maysles brothers’ Grey Gardens..."

"Making our choices count is, however, far from straightforward, and this is the subject of Martin Hägglund’s book This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom."

"Teens in the United States are coming of age at a time when digital technology is truly ubiquitous, where smartphones are all of our “constant companions.”"

"...the Smollett story, if the “trajectory” leads to evidence of fakery, would actually reveal something else modern America is about: victimhood chic."

"Cool in the humanities isn’t that different from cool in other areas of cultural life, like planking, hotdog-legs photography, mason jar rehabilitation, and novels whose main character is a city."

"It’s true that high-octane, hardworking child-rearing has some pointless excesses, and it doesn’t spark joy for parents. But done right, it works for kids..."

"Cape Town in South Africa is a foodie destination. Some people in its renowned restaurant industry are trying to spread the food wealth citywide."

"...for many “space expansionists,” escaping Earth is about much more than dodging the bullet of extinction: it’s about realizing astronomical amounts of value by exploiting the universe’s vast resources to create something resembling utopia. "

"After facing persecution in the former Soviet Union and a new wave of antisemitism in the United States, Marya Zilberberg decides to put her Jewishness on display."