Riding Out the Storm (In a Restaurant)

by mike on May 26, 2011

Mandy and I and our three girls had an extremely interesting trip to the St Louis Zoo this week. It has kind of become an annual trip for us in the Spring. This year is one we won’t soon forget.

When we started driving in the Explorer to head home from the zoo, it had just started raining. We had about a two hour trip north, so we turned on the radio. They were going on and on about how terrible the storms were that were rolling into the St Louis area. In fact, the man on the radio said something like “if you can hear my voice right now, you are under a tornado warning. Seek shelter immediately“. What we were seeing in the sky definitely confirmed this was not your regular afternoon thunderstorm.

Mandy began to panic a little. To her credit, she had a couple of good reasons. First, she was in the middle of a tornado about four years ago as she, her sisters and her mom huddled in a restaurant bathroom as a tornado ripped through. Thank God, no one was hurt. Granted, they had to stay at the restaurant overnight because power lines were down all over the place in the parking lot, but it could have been much worse. That brings us to the second reason. Tornadoes have been in the news a lot lately, especially the devastation in Joplin, MO.   So, we quickly exited the highway and looked for some sort of building to ride the storm out.

After a slight bit of panicked arguing and a little “toss” across the Explorer of our GPS, we finally found a restaurant to seek shelter in. We got the girls out, ran into the restaurant and sat there for two hours. There was no one else besides the employees in the place and luckily they had tv’s so we could watch what was going on with the weather. There were a few intense moments, but nothing so bad that we had to hide in the bathroom or walk-in freezer.

So, what does this have to do with finances? I was thinking about what transpired and how it relates to our lives, especially our money. There will be times in your life when you see a financial storm coming. It could be a major medical event, an insecure job situation, or the birth of a baby. Mandy and I have experienced that with the birth of each of our girls. We have a Health Savings Account health insurance plan with a $10,000 deductible. Our out of pocket cost each time we have a baby, therefore, is $10,000! Having a baby is a great thing, but financially that’s a storm!

My suggestion to you is if you see a storm on the horizon, seek shelter. What does that mean? It means start piling money away fast. If you are paying extra on debt or saving a ton into retirement, you may want to back off of that for awhile. Instead, pile up cash to help weather the storm. Once everything has cleared and the sky is blue again, then you can return to your debt payment and/or full retirement savings. If you end up not needing the extra cash, you can always use it towards your other goals once the dust has settled.

Once the storms cleared out of the area, we made our break for the two hour trip home. It was much less stressful driving with the sun out than if we would have tried to go right through the storm without a plan. Do yourself a favor and make a plan to get through your financial storm. It will be less stressful and who doesn’t want that?


Photo Credit: Koschi

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