My friend Craig is an architect. A couple of years ago, he took me on a tour of his company's offices. “The cool thing about this building,” he told me, “is that it's especially resilient.” I could tell from the way he said it that the word resilient meant something a little different to him than it did to me.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“In architecture, resilience describes a structure's ability to return to its original state after a disturbance,” Craig explained. “Say strong winds cause a skyscraper to sway or an earthquake shakes a house. If they're resilient, those buildings move with the outside forces but then return to normal when things calm down.”
“Ah,” I said. “When I talk about personal finance, I preach resilience.”
“Sure,” he said. “Resilience is a good thing, both in buildings and in people.”
Twelve years ago, when I was still struggling with money, my finances were not resilient. I had no savings, and I was living paycheck to paycheck on $50,000 a year. When even small things went wrong, such as car trouble, I found myself in crisis mode. How would I pay to fix the problem? How could I meet my other financial responsibilities? [Read more…]