Sunday, May 20, 2007

Rainy Days

Old trusted precepts remind us to save for a rainy day.

Since we were kids we've had daily words of wisdom to help us through our adult life - whether we liked it or not. A bird in hand. Do unto others. And of course that familar saving for that rainy day.

Never was all that good at remembering such platitudes.

What? Now you're telling me!

Fortunately for me, I have Jaded Jeremy to do the reminding. Surely no one can calculate risks and benefits quite as accurately as an actuary - so when he told me he'd suddenly thrown in the towel prematurely in his new workplace, I found myself appalled. Such impulse! Such imprudence! Such impetuousness! What would the strict, doddering actuary commission think!?

After our last meeting, our new gay boy had started taking steps to come out of the closet but had the sudden admission on his part driven him off the edge?

Jeremy : I have resigned from my job.
Paul : Resigned?!
Jeremy : Yeah. Health issues.
Paul : What? Mental health issues?

Not sure if discovering his sexuality at such a late stage in life has shaken his dull, regimented life so much that he's gone wild bananas but he seems so sure of his unprecedented decision that I just nodded my blessings. Come out of the closet. Change jobs. What next? Dye his hair shocking pink and dance in a skimpy thong at the parade?

But what actually came next stunned me even more. Wonder of wonders, the man has a nest egg enough to last half a year - enough to live like an indecently wealthy, olden day maharajah no doubt! Keeping a nest egg seemed almost a matter-of-fact to him - shockingly enough when it sounded to me like some mystical wisdom from saints above.

So much for me thinking that the poor unemployed fella would have to subsist on instant noodles and no electricity for a month.

Jeremy : Well everyone should have an emergency savings deposit.
Paul : Savings?

At work I found myself staring at the phone screen in astonishment. Savings? Was he speaking in ancient Greek now? Evidently this well-meaning but naive actuary assumed that everyone - meaning every man, woman and child on the planet - had oodles of cash specially deposited in hidden accounts stashed in some inaccesible branch of the National Bank of Tibet. Not only that but it had to be the equivalent of 6 times the regular monthly expenses.

Seriously. Do they have all these impressive notions splashed as a friendly - though exceedingly minatory - reminder on the walls of the actuary office? Over at my workplace, we get terrifyingly real banners on venereal disease and the horrors of smoking.

Dropped the phone to do a hasty search through my bank accounts and found it wholly depressingly empty - possibly 1/6 the amount of my monthly expenses. Seems like I've sunk most of my investments into my house and car. As anyone my age ( decrepit me! ) would tell ya, those freaking bank loans ( and those wicked interest schemes calculated by evil actuaries ) can really dry up any meagre savings you have! Any extra would have been spent on miscellaneous items such as books and cds ( not forgetting the twice yearly blowout on travel ) - which no doubt would have easily garnered my frugal Jeremy's disgust.

Feeling quite the financial failure I decided to break out the old piggy bank.

Two bucks in the savings. That has to count as a fiscal umbrella, right?!


pepe M. said...

i second the motion!
after reading your post (which i do every day) i cut my credit card split wide open :)...

and oh, any tips of writing so impecabbly good!

pepe M

Jeremy said...

Hey, really, it is common knowledge that you should have at least 3 - 6 months savings (in safe liquid assets e.g. FD) for rainy day(s). Well, it is common until your shocked expression told me otherwise lol. By the way, paying house mortgage is no excuse (as you very well know my situation).

Stephen said...

I have to admit I'm with Jeremy on this one. I haven't actually done the maths but I reckon I've at least a year's essential expenses saved. My parents also have savings tucked away. Probably because we remember some very rainy days in my family.

nyonyapenang said...

jeremy is correct.
you probably never notice this minimum 6mth-savings guide because you probably got a golden rice-bowl ar? hahahaha....

Running Dan said...

Tooooo much shopping, doc. 'Nuff said.

Dave said...

Well, the pathetic pay that i gotten from my military service did not allowed me to save for a rainy day, since it could just barely covered basic necessities such as food, transport, bills, groceries...

...and tonnes of clothings and accessories from Topman, Nike and FCUK.

kon kon said...

which is why my friends and i (still in university) are in a dilemma - how are we supposed to maintain our lives with meagre incomes when working?

it is a depressing thought alright (my uni days are ending real soon). i mean i look forward to working.. but thinking of how much i would be getting and how much i would be spending.. i somehow think there would be a -ve balance when i check my bank account then. >.< save me!

Sue said...

Just be careful if you invest savings. We invested in stock and then lost lots of cash. So much for saving!

conan_cat said...

well i'm not working yet so i still don't understand your dilemma...

but i'm studying now and i have my savings less than 20. i think rainy days will mean me being drop dead eating dust... lol

closetalk said...

ummm.. ok, o shucks. i'm actually kinda in ure position, doc. *shuffles feet uncomfortably*

cleo weiland said...

I have no savings either!
Unless you count the money my parents stowed away on some bank account they never let me near.

Personally, I'm still learning to save. My scholarship allowance is only so much, it's usually gone when I restock my necessities.

The road to financial freedom is actually all muddy and winding. Darn.

Anonymous said...

I always remind myself to save save save for the rainy days, but who could resist a nice shirt or a pair of sunglasses calling out to you with a squeaky "buy me!"? neither can one resist a nice trip. ugh! save save save.

jay said...

I'm now about to enter the working world next month but this is something that i'll be sure to remember. Pay off loans, stop eating like a student and get a nest egg.

I swear the second is gonna be the hardest one to do. I'm so used to my microwave now. LOL.

But seriously, I've heard some scary things about 401K's here in the US and how much saving you actually need to be able to retire.

Janvier said...

Time to start a-locuming, doc?

mstpbound said...

wow...this is some good advice. i think i'm gonna go save up now. :)

savante said...

Thanks, pepe! Glad you think so.

Whoa, jeremy and stephen! How do I save! Speak oh guru.

Golden bowl? Probably true, nyonya :) But it's more wood bowl.

But how could I live without shopping, dan? Just look at what dave buys with his money!

Hi, kon. Not that depressing. Don't judge by me. I sank a lot of my cash into downpayment for the house.

Have a few lying here and there as well, sue.

Your time will come, conan :)

Finally! Someone in the same boat. THanks, closetlak and cleo.

I know! How do these folks resist, mark?

Make sure you do that, jay and mstp!

Locum? Bleh, javier!

Derek said...

I thought it was pretty commonn knowlege that one should save about 6 months salary in case of emergency O.o

Anyway, now you know! ;P