Personal Finance In A Family Crisis

Over the past few days, a family emergency occurred and many people gathered together to say goodbye. These are challenging, emotionally hard times. I spent a lot of time comforting my wife and just being there for her and other family members, and just quietly watching things.

One particular thing stood out in my mind, though: everyone immediately began sharing resources in a way that would never happen in a “normal” situation. People were buying food, bringing things to the house, and helping each other out without even the slightest hesitation – even the tightest of people brought prepared meals to the house for people to eat and such.

Why did this happen? Why does it take a family crisis for people to pull together like that? I think this phenomenon actually is the result of several little things all pointing in the same direction.

For many people, their family and close friends are of penultimate importance. We go through our lives taking them often for granted, but when a moment like this happens, real priorities emerge. For many of us, it’s often family. I was amazed at the number of people that congregated there within a day of the news.

When we sense that someone in that group truly needs help, we will help as much as we can. My wife and I had a ton of things going on, but we dropped it all and immediately went because we were needed. It became clear that for us, family trumps all.

Expenses become basic and money ceases to matter. Stuff was needed for lunch. so we went to the store, got plenty of food, and just paid for it. The food was basic – bread and cold cut meats. Most of our meals were very simple and inexpensive, but it was good and there was plenty for all. For the things I purchased, I didn’t even think about the cost at all. Why? There was a higher priority than personal finance.

In fact, as we left, I just took some cash from my emergency fund in order to pay for anything that might be needed. I didn’t even think twice about it, because to us, this was an emergency.

The moral of the story? Crises expose what’s really important to you. For us, it’s family above all else.

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