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“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.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"After five years of war with the Islamic State, the biggest problem for the winners is coping with the losers. The aftermath has produced one of the world’s most perplexing postwar challenges..."
"What do we mean when we say that the “soul of the city” is under threat? Often, it’s really about politics, nostalgia, and the fear of community change."
"...the pendulum of history never stops moving. Indeed, one of the few constants of history is unceasing change. While we seem to be heading in one direction, we must remember that there will surely be pauses, turns, and reversals."
""Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé," premiered early Wednesday and it was the fulfillment of all the ancestors' hopes and dreams. Beyoncé also dropped "Homecoming: The Live Album.""
"Seven in 10 adults ages 18 to 34 received financial support from their parents in the last year, including more than half of those in their early 30s. Almost three in five millennials said they couldn’t afford their lifestyles without the support."
"Social media influencers have helped turn public lands into tourist-infested swamps. And one cantankerous man is fighting back."
"One particular myth that attached itself to Ledger was that his death was somehow a result of immersing himself in the character of the Joker."
"In 2018, for the second year in a row, American publishers released fewer translated titles: 609 books were published, down from 650 in 2017 and the industry high in 2016 of 666."
"Egg freezing had become so routine among my single peers that when I hit 35, I never thought twice. Here’s what I wish I had known."
"When it comes to Passover cuisine, most home cooks know to avoid wheat, oats, rye, and other forbidden ingredients. But what consumers might not realize is just how much cotton they eat during the holiday."
"A masked figure looms over your recumbent body, wielding power tools and sharp metal instruments, doing things to your mouth you cannot see."
"Passover is a holiday that commemorates the Jewish people escaping slavery in Egypt. It is often referred to as the “festival of freedom.” My Passover in prison was at a place called the Wallkill Correctional Facility..."