What does it take to plan for the future? You might be surprised.
Even if you think your financial future is secure, a crisis could consume all of your savings and leave you facing bankruptcy. It has happened before to thousands of families who thought that they did everything they needed to do to meet their goals.
The best way to stay ahead of an unplanned event is to prepare for the possibility. Here are 10 events that might happen to you, and lead you to
1. A Layoff
You can be laid off at any time, even if your company is doing well and you’re a valued employee. When you lose all of your income unexpectedly, you can lose your savings in a matter of months, and be forced to pay many times more for necessities like health insurance. For most people, layoffs lead to bankruptcy in a matter of months.
2. An Eviction
Losing your home or apartment to an eviction can throw all of your financial plans into chaos. The housing you can find in the short term may cost a lot more, and you may have to lose items that you’ve accumulated for years if you can’t find storage. All the expenses you need to cover before you find a new house can put you on the path to bankruptcy.
3. A House Fire
Even house fires that don’t totally destroy the main structure can be too costly for you to manage. House repairs can cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, to say nothing of the cost of replacing any items that were destroyed. All of these costs put together can destroy all of your savings in a matter of weeks, and leave you without any option except bankruptcy.
4. A Natural Disaster
It’s possible to lose more than just your home to a disaster. A natural disaster such as a flood, forest fire, tornado or windstorm can destroy all of your property. In some cases, the local companies that manage your insurance can go under before they’ve made payouts to everyone insured by them. Bankruptcy can follow pretty quickly even for the best planners, after a natural disaster.
5. A Serious Illness
Even if you believe that you’re in great health now, a serious illness can happen to anyone. If you eat well, exercise regularly and avoid bad habits, you can still be involved in an incident like a car accident that’s completely out of your control. Insurance should protect you from bankruptcy, but your insurance company may try to deny coverage. When that happens, court costs are just another expense that might move you toward bankruptcy.
Your plans for the future may be based on two incomes. That can become a problem if you are involved in a divorce. You may lose assets that you considered to be secure, such as homes, vehicles and precious items. All the savings that you thought you could count on may have to be spent on getting a new place to live, or furniture to fill it with.
7. The Birth of a Child with Special Needs
The costs of raising a child can be hard to predict, but even if you saved enough to raise a healthy child, you may not have near enough to raise a child with special needs. A child who requires lifelong care can drive people with most incomes into bankruptcy. Good insurance is often insufficient to cover costs that may include home upgrades, round-the-clock nurses and other expenses.
8. A Debt interest Crisis
Credit cards can be an important part of debt management, but with a couple missed payments, or unplanned expenses, the interest can grow beyond your ability to pay it off. When that happens, you’re trapped in a downhill slide as the debt grows faster and faster until you have no choice but to declare bankruptcy.
9. A Legal Judgement
A legal judgement that’s made against you for any reason—such as a personal injury on your property, or an injury caused by your pet—can destroy all of the planning and saving that you’ve done up to this point in your life. Some legal judgements cannot be discharged, meaning even bankruptcy can’t clear you of these debts.
10. A Badly-Planned Retirement
Poor retirement planning is a serious risk factor for bankruptcy. You may have sharply-limited possibilities for income after retirement, and if you take on new expenses, you may have nowhere to turn. It requires excellent planning to be able to handle every emergency that might happen after retirement.