How Losing Someone Helped Me Find Financial Empowerment

The following blog post is part of The Road to Financial Wellness blog tour. The Road to Financial Wellness is a three-month, grassroots campaign promoting financial empowerment on a national level and encourages people to pursue their dream lifestyle. Find out more about local events near you

Losing a Friend

In April of this year, a friend, mentor and former teacher of mine passed away. He had been my 5th and 6th-grade teacher and 7th and 8th-grade yearbook advisor. His wife also happened to be one of my Mom’s best friends. As such he was an influence in my life outside of school as well. Seriously, the man came and killed a black widow spider at a house I was dog sitting for when my dad couldn’t make it over to help.

I grew up in California but he and his wife both made the trip to Boston for my law school graduation. He was a beloved teacher, as evidenced by the more than 500 people that attended his funeral. However, I wasn’t one of the 500+, but money wasn’t the reason why.

When I got the news he had died, my first thought was, when is the funeral, so I could figure out a way to get out there. Ultimately the scheduling of when the funeral was to take place and the fact that my parents were to arrive at my place the next day meant neither my parents nor I could attend (though we will be attending a gathering on his birthday next year).

Costs Associated with Losing a Friend

You are probably wondering what this sad story about someone dying has to do with financial empowerment? A last minute round trip flight to my hometown could cost $1,000. I didn’t even sweat the potential cost. I have an emergency fund for situations just like this. While $1,000 would give it a good hit, it wouldn’t have wiped it out. I’d still be ok if some other emergency had popped up right after.

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This was not the case nearly five years ago when another loved one of mine passed away. The distance was much closer. A seven-hour drive, but I had to go home between the death and the funeral so I could go to a job interview. I needed that job, any job at that point. It was an absolutely miserable week on so many levels.

Had this happened even three years ago, the cost of the trip would have been at the forefront of my mind because I would not have had the money to go. I would have had to take on more credit card debt to go, but I wouldn’t have even had enough available on my credit card for a $1k trip.

The Support and Financial Empowerment of an Emergency Fund

I’ve grown so much as a person through Mr. G’s influence in my life, it is only fitting that his death would bring me to realize how far I’ve come financially too. My emergency fund is the cornerstone of financial empowerment to me.

It doesn’t just help me sleep better knowing I could afford the deductible for my car insurance. It allows me to know that if something were to come up, I could be there for my friends and family without a second thought on the cost.

While I’ve still got a way to go on my financial journey, I’m empowered knowing I’ve got a backup in the form of my emergency fund.

What does financial empowerment mean to you? Let me know in the comments and join the conversation on social media using #theRoad2016

Money tools & resources i recommend

Chime (for saving) works by starting a spending account (takes 5 minutes) and opting into the automatic savings plan. (Learn more about getting started with Chime).  Every time I use the Chime Debit Card it rounds up my purchase to the nearest dollar and puts in in savings. Right now they also offer a double round-up bonus on those savings. All those withdrawals add up over time. Chime is free to use, with no monthly fees. With Chime, you end up saving money without having to think about it.

Qapital (for building savings & reaching money goals) Qapital can help you reach savings goals. Once you have the Qapital App installed and a bank account (or in my case three) connected you set up a goal or goals.  Then you set savings rules for each of your goals. For example, I have a round up to the nearest $2 rule, a guilty spending rule -when I buy Dominos. Qapital is free to useBonus, when you use my link you'll get $5 after your first savings.

Qoins (for debt repayment) When you sign up for Qoins, you connect your bank account and then spend as you normally would. Qoins will round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and put that change towards an extra debt payment. Learn more on How Qoins Can Help You Pay Off Debt Faster

SoFi (for refinancing) If you have private loans or your debt to income ratio allows, consider refinancing with a company like SoFi. Learn more about what it's like to refinance with Sofi. Refinancing my bar loan with SoFi ended up saving me over $1,000. Use my link to refinance your student loan and you'll get a $100 bonus.


Liz is a blogger helping people with personal finance and working for themselves. She shares her own journey to debt freedom and helps graduates dealing with above average student loan debt on her site, Less Debt More Wine. She currently resides in NC after calling Massachusetts home for nearly a decade.

  • Beautiful post! I am so sorry for your loss, but glad that your emergency fund can help you deal with situations like this. Thanks for participating in the tour!

  • Sorry for your loss, but I’m sure Mr.G is happy knowing the impact he has had on your journey! Best of luck crushing your debt!

  • Jason Vitug says:

    Having an emergency fund allows us to deal with unforeseen situations without the added stress. Thank you for sharing your story and the amazing connection you had with Mr. G.
    Thanks for being a part of the road trip and blog tour!

    • Liz says:

      Thanks for creating such a great forum for others to share financial wellness/empowerment stories!

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