Some lessons on financial security from looking at an old bridge

Yesterday I decided to go on a field trip to research bridges and buildings. I had driven through Bridge Place but had never stopped there. This time I took my camera and had a walk around. With a name like that it had to be a good place to think about bridges. Bridge Place is literally a small collection of houses next to a bridge. That bridge carries a railway line across the road. It is quite a narrow archway by today’s standards and on a bend so there are traffic lights for safety reasons.

I was looking at bridges to get more ideas for writing about how we use money. I found so many ideas that there is not room here to share all of them but I will share a couple. Beware though they both be sparks that could start you thinking about possible problems and add  a number of items to your jobs to do list. .

This bridge I had a look at is obviously quite an old bridge. it is built of stone that has weathered over time. Looking closely at it it was probably built of the local yellow limestone although these days at a distance it is the dirt on top that makes it appear so dark. It is curious looking at how an old bridge has survived. There are holes where there used to be signs, some filled in and some not. The face of the stones is no longer smooth as it has weathered unevenly. There are also signs of where it has been repaired in the past with new mortar to fill the gaps between the stones.

I realised that although we can plan our finances and think that everything is OK. Those plans get older and need to be revisited. There is nothing wrong with leaving the surface dirt on them indeed if they are cleaned up too much then it could damage the structure. On the other hand, there could be cracks as things have shifted. In terms of dealing with finances this could mean that the money we have in one savings plan that seemed to offer very good interest when we opened now pays very little interest at all. Or that gas supplier could be charging a lot more now than they once did and it would be cheaper for you to change suppliers. Just as the bridge owners have a maintenance plan where they regularly check their bridges we need to have a regular maintenance plan so that we check our finances to see if we are receiving as much interest as we could for our savings or not spending more than we need on certain items. This regular ongoing maintenance will make sure that we stay as safe as possible.

Another thing I noticed was a sign from the people responsible for looking after the bridge. It gave a phone number and said that if anyone ran into that bridge they were to ring that number and tell them. It gave a reference number for the bridge and even the address to use when reporting an accident. It said at the bottom that it was important to report accidents as it could make the bridge unsafe for trains to use.

How many of us think we are reasonably secure in terms of finances and then something happens? Someone runs into our car and the main breadwinner ends up in hospital. It could be a temporary set back that is fairly easy to recover from. Or it could mean that they are left permanently disabled and have to make many adjustments to their life including finding a job that is better suited to their new situation.  Or worse still the family has to continue without them. Do your plans include what some people call putting aside something for a rainy day? Is your emergency plan your credit card or do you have some savings that you can draw on?  Have you insured your home so that if something goes happens you can recover easily?

See what about about setting you thinking about two major areas?