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Budgeting for the Unforeseen

The ability to plan ahead is a key trait of any good budgeter.

Let the budgeting begin.
The ability to plan ahead is a key trait of any good budgeter. Jenny, an Experience alumni, talks about planning for the unknown. "I'm sure I've gone over budget when I had my own company because of unforeseen things," she says. "You end up eating it, and people are upset. But, you get better in time about knowing what things will cost. It's a matter of experience. You find out what's realistic."

Because You Never Know...

"Unforeseen things happen. Say you're in New York City shooting a sound shot and recording actors on a street corner. In New York, you're given policemen on sets to help act as liaisons to the community. But, basically, a homeless man could come onto your set and start screaming. And there's nothing that you can legally do. You can't arrest the guy. The policeman could ask him to leave, but the man isn't required to leave. It's a public street. There's freedom of speech. So, one person can basically ruin your entire day and cost you $50,000 or more. And there's nothing that you can do about it."

In the spirit of random screaming homeless men, Jenny advises putting away a little money into your savings each month, just in case something comes up. "I started to do that in my mid-twenties. I started off putting $50 into one of these automatic investment mutual funds. I didn't even miss it. Every month I had it automatically withdrawn from my bank account. It's great, because now I know if I got fired tomorrow, or if I lost my job, or if something happened and I had to take some time off, I have a little money. I know they say you're supposed to have six months salary in the bank, but that's a fantasy when you're 21 years old. If you have at least two months worth, it's a measure of comfort."

Stay Healthy
Adequate health insurance is another concern for people in their early twenties. Your employer may pay for some of your health insurance, or you may have to pay for all of it if you're self-employed or unemployed. "If I was freelancing I did try to make sure that I still paid for healthcare coverage," Jenny says. "It's worth the $200 a month, because anything can happen. My first year in New York, I got really sick, and I actually ended up in the hospital. If I hadn't had insurance, my first day at the emergency room probably would have been $500. So, health insurance is one thing that I would budget in." Besides, Jenny warns, "You're personally liable for your hospital bills. The hospital will ruin your credit rating if you don't pay them." And nobody wants that.

Let the budgeting begin.

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