Lately, we’ve shared articles about how to manage emergency funds and how to navigate finances in times like a global pandemic. You can check out our article on handling a personal financial crisis here, and the guide on building emergency funds here.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of our community members have sent us messages on social media and our customer care channels, with questions about emergency funds. So far, we have been able to provide answers.
However, we were also curious about just how Nigerians operate emergency funds, particularly with the ravaging global pandemic. This led us to ask six Nigerians from across different industries (their names were changed) about their emergency funds. The answers are pretty interesting.
1. Amanda, Design:
“So I didn’t exactly have an emergency fund. But I had a little money in one of my accounts I knew I could use to get supplies that’ll last for a month. Prior to that, I already did one massive shopping at the beginning of January, which was supposed to last for about three months. So I just used the extra money I had to get a few things.”
How Amanda spent her emergency fund: “Not panic buying because you’ll end up buying things you don’t need.”
2. Frank, Media:
“I paid rent in February, so the lockdown couldn’t have come at a worse time. I entered the lockdown barely having serious money. Honestly, my first salary after isolation kinda served as an emergency fund.”
How Frank spent his emergency fund: “It went into black tax and essential bills. And of course, food.”
3. Usman, Transportation:
“See, I don’t have any money anywhere that’s why you see me on the road like this looking for passengers. Even the ones I see will price me half because no one has money again. There’s no business so I just carry them.”
How Usman spent his emergency fund: “I can’t be keeping money. Any money I have, I send it to my parents at home in Kano. There’s nothing like emergency money. I just have to be praying that nothing happens.”
4. Daniel, Entertainment:
“Yes, I had an emergency fund although nothing significant. I didn’t have access to it until the lockdown was well underway. Actually, it helped because I was able to restock, pay minor bills after the first two weeks, and help a friend or two in need.
How Daniel spent his emergency fund: “I mostly tried to focus on getting only important stuff as it wasn’t a lot of money.”
5. Tina, Hospitality:
“I had an emergency fund prior to now. But I haven’t had any reason to dip hands in my emergency fund just yet as my income is sustaining me for now.
How Tina spent her emergency fund: “I don’t plan to spend it anytime soon. It’s for days of famine and actual emergencies. I am not there just yet.”
6. Oluchi, Education:
“I didn’t really have an emergency fund per se, but I did have savings which double as my emergency funds too. Having it didn’t really help me prepare for the lockdown. Nobody knew when the lockdown would start. It also wasn’t like you could do much with the money anyway, all the shops were emptied around here.”
How Oluchi spent her emergency fund: “It was definitely essentials first, like house bills and food.”
Let’s Round This Up
Honestly, it’s a wild ride for many during a crisis. Some don’t earn enough money to survive, so building an emergency fund might be tough. On the other hand, there are some who earn enough but never prepare. Hence, when a crisis comes knocking it’s a total disaster.
Whatever part of the continuum you find yourself in, we believe it is possible to start building one with any amount of money. There is a comfort in being intentional about setting something aside for emergencies, apart from regular savings and investments.
The recommended amount you should have in your emergency funds should be between 3 months to 6 months of your average monthly expenses. This will help greatly if, for instance, you lose your job or the pandemic continues for a longer duration. We have a simple guide on this, please check here.
Start your emergency fund here