Did I ever tell you about the time I got a notice from a debt collector? No, this wasn’t a mistake in my youth. It was last May. I was quite surprised. I always pay my bills on time. My family lives below our means. I’m the one who pays all the bills in our family. I would know if I missed one, right?
My first thought was that this letter must be a scam. I went to the internet and independently verified that the company was a legitimate business. I called them to get more details on the bill I supposedly never paid.
It was an even bigger surprise to learn that I had a legitimate medical debt from almost two years earlier. You see I fell off my bicycle in rather spectacular fashion back then. This resulted in an ambulance ride, a four-hour surgery in the ER, multiple follow-up appointments and physical therapy. Somewhere along the line one of the providers never got paid.
I honestly don’t remember ever seeing a bill, but that’s okay. The debt collector offered to settle it for pennies on the dollar. I was happy to pay it and move on. I hope I made that debt collector’s day – easiest payment ever.
This unexpected expense was easily covered by the rainy-day fund. That’s why I have a rainy-day fund. It builds a little margin for error into my family’s finances. I hope you have one too. It should cover 6-9 months’ spending. Build up to that over time if you need to.
About the Author: John O’Connor
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