Valley First

Planning for that unexpected surprise

Valley First expert shares simple tips on saving for an emergency fund

June 19, 2014

Penticton, B.C.— Many parents and families across British Columbia were caught out this week when the ongoing B.C. teachers job action caused summer holidays started two weeks early.

For many, this premature end to the school year meant scrambling for childcare, signing their children up for more summer camps or even taking additional vacation time. Regardless of the situation or solution, According to Laura Hopkins, a personal banking officer at Valley First, seeing people scramble for funds is not uncommon when dealing with the unexpected.

“It’s not surprising that some families may have had to dig into their savings, to manage their way through the early end to the school year,” says Hopkins. “Like with any emergency, if you haven’t built up a contingency fund or don’t have family or friends who can help out, you may finding yourself paying a premium just to get through the day-to-day.”

Hopkins adds that although it’s an unfortunate situation, it also highlights the importance of proactive planning and having an emergency fund.

“I can’t stress enough how important it is to plan ahead for those rainy days,” says Hopkins. “Regardless of the situation, it’s never a great feeling to get caught off guard with an unexpected expense and having a well-established emergency fund really helps in this regard.

“It doesn’t have to be a complicated process,” says Hopkins. “But it does require commitment and budgeting. People just need to find ways to cut things out of their day-to-day spending and then redirect those funds into a savings or tax-free savings account. Another easy way to force yourself to save is by setting up a monthly deduction that automatically transfers to another savings account. If you’re committed to not touching those funds, it can really build over time and give you a bit of a cushion if you’re facing a financial emergency.”

Each family has different priorities and requirements, so Hopkins recommends speaking with a financial advisor to find a tailored solution that works best for you. “If you’re someone who gets tax refunds regularly, you might want to consider reducing the amount of taxes you pay per paycheque so that you get more each month that you can put away towards an emergency fund, rather than a lump sum at the end of the year.”

“Emergencies can come up at any time, whether it’s car repairs or an unexpected job loss or illness,” says Hopkins. “All of these things can put a significant strain on your finances, so the more prepared you are the better off you’ll be in protecting yourself and your family."

About Valley First

Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union, which has 39 branches and 28 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. Led by Launi Skinner, First West has $7.7 billion in assets under administration, more than 177,000 members and close to 1,300 employees.

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