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Old 04-25-2012, 10:36 AM   #81
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This is a lesson I learned during the great power outage of July 2003, when I was stuck in my office in NYC with no cash and no way to get any. Credit cards didn't work either. Since that time, we have always kept several hundred dollars in cash at home - mostly twenties, but some smaller stuff too (on the theory that no one will have change)
When a hurricane enters the Gulf of Mexico or develops there, I always get about $600 in cash and fill my vehicle with gas as part of my preparations.

I *should* keep a couple of thousand in cash around the house at all times in case of unexpected massive power outages such as the one you experienced, but don't. Maybe I'll start doing that this year.
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:06 AM   #82
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We have about 12 months of living expenses in a separate savings account. Like many here, my only real emergency would be a job loss. Furnace going out or a major car repair really wouldn't hurt too much.

I think the amount you have in an emergency fund has a lot to do with how long it would take you to find a new job should you unexpectedly lose your job. Some people can find a new job within a month, some of us may take 6-12 months.
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Old 04-25-2012, 12:11 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by W2R

When a hurricane enters the Gulf of Mexico or develops there, I always get about $600 in cash and fill my vehicle with gas as part of my preparations.

I *should* keep a couple of thousand in cash around the house at all times in case of unexpected massive power outages such as the one you experienced, but don't. Maybe I'll start doing that this year.
Just dont hide it in the freezer or under your bed. I just read an article yesterday that was the 2 most popular places, so I imagine the thieves know this, too!
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Old 04-25-2012, 12:16 PM   #84
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Just dont hide it in the freezer or under your bed. I just read an article yesterday that was the 2 most popular places, so I imagine the thieves know this, too!
Good idea - - I'll figure out a different place to put it. I'm more worried about the situation if one is home during the break-in. One reads stories of thieves holding homeowners at gunpoint, demanding money, and when the homeowner doesn't come up with more than a couple of dollars, shooting them dead. So maybe it would be a good idea to have some around, to give them so that they would go away.

Obviously I don't know what I am talking about - - haven't had anybody uninvited inside my home here, ever (thank goodness, knock on wood and all that). But my imagination works overtime with these scenarios.
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Old 04-25-2012, 12:17 PM   #85
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When a hurricane enters the Gulf of Mexico or develops there, I always get about $600 in cash and fill my vehicle with gas as part of my preparations.
When Rita was several days from us in the Gulf (we lived in Houston at the time), I got some canned food and several gallons of bottled water before anyone else started preparing. And by Wednesday night when the forecast was "category 5 right through Galveston", it was pretty much too late to make an emergency supply run. (As it turned out we packed the car with "portable" valuables, irreplaceable keepsakes and our two cats -- if it was replaceable and insured we left it behind -- and holed up with some friends in Austin. We used side roads, not the Interstates, so it took less than 5 hours when many others were stranded on the highways for many hours.)

If nothing else, in retrospect it served a valuable purpose in terms of reminding us what was really important to us -- the stuff we loaded into the car when we fled. And nothing else was really all that important.
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Old 04-25-2012, 12:28 PM   #86
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Originally Posted by W2R

Good idea - - I'll figure out a different place to put it. I'm more worried about the situation if one is home during the break-in. One reads stories of thieves holding homeowners at gunpoint, demanding money, and when the homeowner doesn't come up with more than a couple of dollars, shooting them dead. So maybe it would be a good idea to have some around, to give them so that they would go away.

Obviously I don't know what I am talking about - - haven't had anybody uninvited inside my home here, ever (thank goodness, knock on wood and all that). But my imagination works overtime with these scenarios.
Ive got money and I have it hide downstairs and it wont be near me if they break in. But unfortunately for them my loaded 9 mm is a foot away from me on my nightstand. Considering the area I live in though, I am more likely to die by a tornado than an armed intrusion. And of course if they break in when Im gone, the money wont be found but I guarantee you the gun will be stolen!
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Old 04-25-2012, 12:41 PM   #87
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When Rita was several days from us in the Gulf (we lived in Houston at the time), I got some canned food and several gallons of bottled water before anyone else started preparing. And by Wednesday night when the forecast was "category 5 right through Galveston", it was pretty much too late to make an emergency supply run. (As it turned out we packed the car with "portable" valuables, irreplaceable keepsakes and our two cats -- if it was replaceable and insured we left it behind -- and holed up with some friends in Austin. We used side roads, not the Interstates, so it took less than 5 hours when many others were stranded on the highways for many hours.)
I can't imagine how dreadful it must be to be stranded on highways for hours with a hurricane headed right at one. I have never had to slow below 55 on the interstate when evacuating. But then, I always leave between 2:30-3:30 AM to avoid that problem - - - most people here don't think of trying that. Contraflow is spooky, but helps too.

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If nothing else, in retrospect it served a valuable purpose in terms of reminding us what was really important to us -- the stuff we loaded into the car when we fled. And nothing else was really all that important.
Yes, my hurricane list is now "battle tested" and a lot better than it was during prior evacuations. I was really surprised to find out what I missed and needed the most, of the things I didn't take during that evacuation. Who would have thought that a favorite comforter and pillow, or favorite artwork, or out of print book written by a dead friend would matter so much when you don't know if you have lost everything back home or not.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:38 AM   #88
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I have 5 months emergency fund, in a money market. Working on a year. That suits my comfort level and having already experienced a job loss several years ago (had 3months $$ for expenses plus a tax return to get me thru), I would like to be prepared to take a year - a few months to just transition and explore options, without the stress and hurry to gain new employment.

Once I have a years worth, I would only keep 6mths in a money market and look for some other investment for the rest. And continue to feed that investment.
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Old 05-10-2012, 03:07 PM   #89
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I'm surprised no one has mentioned vacation/personal leave used for part of your emergency fund. Currently I have enough leave banked to last 5-7 months should I lose my job. We also have enough liquid funds to last another 3-4 months and unemployment should be enough to get us through a year and some months. I'm within two years of retirement so it's unlikely I'll get another job. The only hang-up is I'll take a tax withholding hit on the leave, which may cause a cash flow problem depending on when they occur.
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Old 05-12-2012, 10:20 AM   #90
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I'm surprised no one has mentioned vacation/personal leave used for part of your emergency fund. Currently I have enough leave banked to last 5-7 months should I lose my job. We also have enough liquid funds to last another 3-4 months and unemployment should be enough to get us through a year and some months. I'm within two years of retirement so it's unlikely I'll get another job. The only hang-up is I'll take a tax withholding hit on the leave, which may cause a cash flow problem depending on when they occur.
Like a few other posters have mentioned, I have a decent wad of I-bonds from 2000/2001 with a hefty real rate that I count for my "e-fund". Of course, I list those in my balance sheet as an investment as opposed to an e-fund (since I doubt I'll ever really need them), but they'll work just fine if I need them. Only problem is what I do when they mature in another 19 years...although I'll be 54 then, and if I'm not retired by then, something really didn't go according to plan.

However, reading the other posts about hurricane/other emergency preparedness has me thinking about having a very small cash allocation tucked away somewhere. My only thing is, I like being 99.9999% invested at all times, and don't like the thought of any cash (even a few hundred or a thousand) just sitting there, being eaten away by the inflation moths. Perhaps it's a knee-jerk reaction to what my grandparents did - 40k in cash sitting in a safe deposit box for 30 years to "help pay for inheritance taxes". I cringe every time I think about that wad invested in just savings bonds all that time, although I'm sure it gave them a peace of mind, since my grandfather had strong memories of losing all of his job earnings in a bank closure in 1929 when he was less than 10 years old.
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Old 05-15-2012, 07:22 AM   #91
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I'm surprised no one has mentioned vacation/personal leave used for part of your emergency fund. Currently I have enough leave banked to last 5-7 months should I lose my job.
At many - perhaps most? - jobs, one's annual vacation entitlement is on a 'use it or lose it' basis. You are fortunate to have a more generous employer, but banking unused time as insurance against unemployment or similar contingencies may not be an option for others.
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Old 05-15-2012, 01:01 PM   #92
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At many - perhaps most? - jobs, one's annual vacation entitlement is on a 'use it or lose it' basis. You are fortunate to have a more generous employer, but banking unused time as insurance against unemployment or similar contingencies may not be an option for others.
Depends on the state. CA requires that employers allow employees roll over 1.5 x their annual allotment. So for my megacorp - they have a use-it-or-lose it for everyone else - but CA employees are protected by CA law.
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Old 05-15-2012, 02:53 PM   #93
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]What you should have when your working and what you should have once retired are typically very different, one shouldn't compare with the other.[/b]
Midpack, I THINK I know what you mean, but could you clarify, for my itty-bitty brain?
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