For nearly two years, I’ve been writing about personal finance. Admittedly, I’ve taken the odd break here or there, but who doesn’t get busy? One of my latest projects had me so busy in May and June that I barely had time to eat and sleep. As I started to feel the usual symptoms of overwork, my partner and I decided that we were going to take a break for a week at the beginning of July. Traditionally, I’ve always arranged to take a bit of time off in July, partly for my birthday, and partly just as a mid-year break.
This year proved to be slightly different however, as someone in my immediate family suffered serious health problems during the first week of July and I was forced to drop everything and return to Nottingham to look after them. It’s one of those weird effects of being an orphan – most people have their parents to jump in when something like this happens, but I found myself as the first port of call for all things relating to this relative’s well-being. Try as I might to manage things from London, I quickly realised that I was going to have to head to Nottingham.
Having been through more of these sorts of events that I’d like, I was aware that I was going to have to work hard to make sure everything worked out OK. Financially, this had come at a problematic time for me, as I’d just topped up my investments, increased my pension contributions and added funds to my savings account. Now I was going to have to fork out hundreds of pounds in transport costs, parking fees, and food costs.
Making sure your finances are stable when you hit rocky water
The stress of having to handle doctors, lawyers and making sure my relative was OK was immense. Friends noticed that I looked pretty exhausted after a few days, and when I wasn’t in the middle of dealing with the next stage of what was happening, I was usually slumped in a chair snoozing. The relative in question was seriously ill and was going to need full-time medical care starting as soon as possible. When I looked at the fees, I felt my stomach plunge. £3500 a month – and that was for the lowest level of care! If things got any worse, they could go up to £5500 a month…what on earth was I going to do?
Fortunately, I’d saved a little nest egg for exactly this kind of situation – squirreling money away so that when something like this happened, money wasn’t going to be another stress on top of everything else. By having these funds tucked away, I was able to get on a train immediately from London and cover the various costs that cropped up.
Saving for the future
Since all this started, the fund has been depleted, but it served its purpose in looking after me when I needed it to. My relative is now safe and well-looked after, and despite everything seems to be in good spirits and finally on the road to recovery. After all the stress and worry, I too, feel like I’m starting to get back to normality, and hopefully will be writing regularly again!
Looking back, the situation made me glad I’d got that money tucked away though. Without it, I’d still have been able to get to Nottingham, but would have been forced to take a coach instead of train, taking 6 hours instead of 2. I wouldn’t have been able to visit my Grandmother as frequently as I had during the time I was in Nottingham, and would probably have used all my cash trying to fund things.
This entire situation was the proverbial ‘rainy day’, and I have no doubt there will be more to come. It reinforced my determination to be an active manager of my money, always saving, always putting money away for the future and always making sure that my money works for me.