It’s all relative. I now sit here 34,000 feet above upstate New York, having left an hour late out of Boston . . .

You: You have an Internet connection up there? Fancy!

No, I don’t have an Internet connection on the plane. My private jet is in the shop. Next to my time machine.

You: Then how are you blogging without an Internet connection?

Surely you’ve figured out that some of these postings are done “real-time.”

You: Ah, yes, of course.

Anyway, as I hover over New York en route for Los Angeles for my retirement seminar tonight, I could be really ticked off.

You: Could be?

Yes, I could be. They kept us on the ground for over an hour due to a “maintenance” delay. Now, I’ll be lucky to get to bed by 2AM ET.

You: Well, are you ticked off? I kind of wonder what you’d be like really irritated.

Not really. Certainly not as much as I was this day. But some others on this flight were really irritated when the delay was first announced.

You: Some people –

I know. They should take it easy. It’s a freakin’ hour! I’m busy, I’ve got places to be too, but you know what? I’m happy that they took the time to be absolutely sure that the engine was fixed. After all, consider the alternative.

You: Seriously.

Works the same way for finances too, you know?

You: No, random segue-man. What do you mean “same way for finances”?

You shouldn’t go nuts over the small stuff that just happens. Especially, when this small stuff isn’t anything you can influence, let alone control. No one on my flight today could have possibly foreseen or prevented the delay. It is what it is.

Same thing with finances.

You: Well, there you go again.

Is that you, Ronald?

You: No, this isn’t the gipper.

Occasionally, you will have expenses you simply can’t do anything about. Something breaks in the house, your car gets particularly cranky, or someone text messages his way into a rear-end collision. That rear-end? Your car. And regardless of the source, there goes a few hundred of your hard-earned dollars.

You can’t get too upset about this stuff. Sure, you can plan for these contingencies through the establishment of an emergency fund, but you shouldn’t get too upset. That’s why you have the emergency fund. So many financial planners advocate for emergency funds not because they know what kind of emergency you will have, but because we can be reasonably certain that at one point or another, you’ll have an emergency.

And we don’t want you to be too upset over it.

# # #

Can you forgive yourself for at least one unavoidable expense these last few months? What was it? Did you have an emergency fund?

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One Comment to “A flight delay isn’t an emergency, but you should fund one anyway”

  1. Jeremy says:

    I just had a similar experience in which my flight was delayed because of weather both off the plane and on the plane. the delay wasn’t as aggravating as how some people in the airport handled it and it may be blog about. But when considering airline delays I have to admit it’s not only a great inconvenience but it is also something that is totally out of our control.

    My wife uses the phrase problem ownership indicating that if it’s a problem we can’t control we have no right owning it. I think flight delays or a similar issue, but I appreciated your tying it into our financial responsibilities in our own lives.

    Sometimes it’s the small things that pop up unavoidably in our finances that create in us the biggest heartburn because they are just that “unexpected.” Maybe it’s time we looked at these as we would look at a weather delay in an airport. It’s just a fact of life, let’s get over it and move on.

    Great post!

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