A week ago, my undergraduate college rowing club’s boathouse was broken into and an estimated $5,000 in equipment was stolen. Rowing is an expensive sport, and they are a club team, minimally funded by the university. This kind of theft is particularly damaging to a club whose funding comes primarily from the students who pay monthly dues simply to row and compete.
Luckily, there has been a wonderful outpouring of support and donations from the local rowing community as well as family, friends, and alumni of the program. In a week, the club is almost 75% of the way towards reaching their goal of raising $5,000 to replace all of the stolen equipment.
It’s a shame this happened, but it can teach us a valuable lesson in our personal lives.
Things happen that are out of our control. As much as we hate it, people steal from others. Just because it hasn’t happened to you yet doesn’t mean that it won’t. Your phone, your laptop, even your identity could be stolen. In January, a good chunk of my wardrobe was stolen from a laundromat while our house’s washing machine was broken. What we can take away from these experiences is this:
Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
Be a pessimist for a second and think of every possible thing that could go wrong for you, and then go back to being an optimist and think of the peace of mind you might find in having the financial margin to handle that disaster. The disaster would still be happening, but then at least money wouldn’t be adding to your stress.
Building an emergency fund takes commitment. It’s difficult to make the decision to take any extra income you make and stash it away when all you want to do is enjoy spending it. But think of that potential disaster that could be right around the corner and do your best to stash that money away in preparation for it. I know it’s hard, but if you end up in the emergency room, if your car breaks down, if your pet gets sick, if you get robbed, you will be thankful to have an emergency fund cushioning that blow.
I’m currently in the process of building my emergency fund and it hasn’t been easy to forego shopping for saving instead. This experience so far has taught me a lot about my priorities and how intentionally I want to live. Do I need this item at the store or do I just want it? And what’s more important: having this item I want, or having the financial margin to even be able to donate money to a cause as close to my heart as this one? Do I want this item (or really anything) more than I want financial stability?
So ask yourself: Where do your financial priorities lie? And how valuable is your peace of mind?
If you’re still reading and you would like to donate to the Rowing Club at USF’s Equipment Replacement Fund, click above or click here. Donations and social media shares are greatly appreciated. Let’s get USF Rowing to their goal of 100% funded!