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Tips for Surviving a Financial Crisis: Married Couples

Darren Laudenbach - Wednesday, September 21, 2016

There is one thing for certain, whether you are part of a married couple or a single individual: you will face financial crises. Almost as certain as death and taxes, things happen that require our money in order to be remedied. In this blog post, we’ll talk about the definition of a financial crisis and go over some brief tips. In future posts, we’ll talk more about what you should do, such as handling the situation, from the perspective of a married person. We’ll have other posts that offer information to singles, but for the purpose of the next post (or two), we’ll assume that you’re married.

Definition of “Crisis”

According to a Google definition, a “crisis” is a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger. It requires that a choice be made that will impact your life, positively or negatively, and we often have very little time with which to make this decision. In other words, we’re talking about times for snap judgment calls, quick choices, and both long- and short-term effects thereof. Another note: A crisis is unplanned, not something you know far in advance so that you can prepare. For example, if your boss lets you know that the company is closing its doors for good in a year, you have plenty of time to find another job, save up, and be financially prepared for any period of unemployment if it exists.

While there are many, many types of crisis, not all of them relate to your finances, although a great many have at least some impact on your budget. Even for those related to your health, this can impact your budget in both time (you can’t work) and money (you don’t get paid). For that reason, we’ll take a look at some common financial crises that arise for the average married couple.

Job Loss/Lay-Off

Even with Australia’s unemployment rate dropping (6 percent compared to the United States’ 5 percent average), job loss can be one of the hardest crises to cope with, especially for the primary breadwinner in the relationship. A few employers offer some advance notice, but even with a few weeks’ notice, job loss can indicate major financial problems in the near future. With some notice, sometimes a replacement job can be found before the crisis spirals out of control, but for those who experience sudden job loss, the effects can be even more profound.

Similarly, a lay-off is when you still technically have a job, but no work for a given period of time. Some employers will tell you in advance how long the lay-off will be (such as temporary or permanent), but most can offer little in the way of specific details up front. However, a lay-off is different from job loss in that most employers would immediately hire the lay-off again if work is made available, without loss of seniority or benefits. In addition, most people can draw unemployment during a lay-off period, which covers at least some of the lost wages.

Fraud/Robbery

You can’t know that someone is going to steal your purse, your wallet, your debit card, or even your name, but it can cause major financial problems almost immediately. Even without knowing your PIN, they can go on an online shopping spree that wreaks havoc with your budget, and it can take months (even years) to sort it all out. In the meantime, your family’s budget takes a huge hit and you have to scramble to make ends meet.

Fraud is more common each day in our sinful world, especially for those who shop online frequently (even if it’s just to pay bills). If you own or operate a smartphone, computer, tablet, or laptop, you could be the victim of fraud someday, but there is almost no way to keep from using at least one of these items on an almost-daily basis. If fraud can be proven, there are sometimes legal ways to recoup losses eventually, but this does not happen as often as we’d like to think.

Legal Issues

If you own a business especially, legal issues can quickly reach crisis proportions when it comes to money. Going to court, retaining an attorney, paying bond, etc...can be extremely costly, without even including court costs and related fees that will be incurred as the case progresses. Being sued is very costly in every way—from hurting your testimony as a believer to draining your money—so strive to avoid these situations!

Medical and Family

We can’t predict when we’ll get sick, or when a close family member—such as a spouse, ageing parent or child, someone you’re responsible for—will need our help. Medical emergencies are usually covered by health insurance or life insurance if someone passes away, but sometimes things are not covered by the policy. Be very aware of what is and is not covered, including co-pays, deductibles, out-of-network costs, and so on, so that you can recognise a looming catastrophe a bit easier.

Similarly, family crises can be very financially draining, especially if you don’t have adequate insurance. Consider a situation such as your teenage daughter getting pregnant, or your teenage son needing to enter a drug/alcohol rehabilitation program. Since they likely have no job, and insurance rarely covers all of the expenses, you’ll be responsible for whatever isn’t covered. In addition, for an unplanned pregnancy, the next 18 years must be considered...there’s a chilling thought!

I’ll leave you with a scripture:

“Many are saying of me, ‘God will not deliver him.’ But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.” ~Psalm 3:2-6

Thank you Jesus that there is HOPE!