not all of us that are in debt have debt but no savings. I already had about 6 thousand in various savings accounts when I found DR. I know that it sounds a little bit odd, but that is from putting 50 dollars a month into an account that I started years ago.
So, DR would say to pull 5 thousand and put that towards debt, but long term all that does is make me more anxious and actually more irresponsible. I have two young kids and I live in one of the more expensive areas of the country. Nowadays, if an appliance went out, it would take nearly the whole amount to replace it – the same for some car repairs.
So, even though step one is not meant to provide security for job less, I would see myself as an irresponsible parent if I did not worry about that in the reality of the current economy. The reality is that losing a job is not any less likely to happen while you are in baby step two than at any other time. If you have enough to live for about one month, that allows you to stay on your feet while you work on the details of surviving.
I listen to different financial experts because it helps me to stay motivated. Susie Ormann recommends 8 months of an emergency fund before worrying about paying off debt. I can’t get behind that either because I worry about paying so much in interest while saving that up. So, I’ve settled for an in between. I am just not touching the savings and treating that sort of as sinking funds for some areas while I pay things off. I do have some sinking funds, but not as many as I plan on having once the debt is paid off.
I guess the issue really is that you need to be flexible – that should be a rule in life. I take the DR steps as guidelines, but if we cannot adjust them to fit our individual needs, then what good are they? If I had to settle for only one thousand in baby step one, I would abandon his plan. Doing that would cause me so much anxiety about being able to provide for my family that I couldn’t do it. Now, if I were a single person and lived in an inexpensive area of that country, one thousand would be just fine.