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There’s nothing I hate more than being anything close to broke, whether short-term or long-term.  Just the thought of it makes me cringe. It’s not a good look, especially when, on the outside, you look like close to a million bucks.

I’m no supermodel; but I am one who likes looking a certain way and enjoying my leisure time after my 9-to-whenever (LOL).  I love all that is fashion, beauty, and nightlife, and though I can’t always afford luxury, I’ll research and save to have what I feel I need to look my best—whether it’s a new weave or haircut, a mani/pedi, the latest makeup or a cute little party dress or two. I will visit several stores, travel far and wide, and spend hours on the Web researching price, availability and quality for my buck. I practice quite a bit of due diligence when it comes to that.

But recently, I learned a hard lesson on prioritizing and practicing due diligence in all aspects of life. I’d made plans to shop and prep for a special event I’d been eager to attend, and was so zealous in my planning that I’d neglected to turn in a key piece of paperwork directly linked to my livelihood.

Not only was it an inconvenience (the process to fix the situation would delay receipt of money, which is never a good thing), but my financial situation at the time made me feel as naked as a newborn baby. The vulnerability of it made it even worst, as I had to sit and wait, relying on last-minute favors from family and friends while the bank and other parties remedied the mishap. I even had to neglect other important tasks to handle the fallout of the financial doozy, and on top of that, deal with the stress of it all.

It was a snowball of events that could’ve been avoided had I focused, prioritized properly, and had plans B and C in place to soften the fall.

I was blessed to have people to come in and help me, but what if that weren’t the case? What if I had no one to step in? The outcome could have been must worst.

“You’re too fabulous for this honey,” I was told. “This type of mistake is not you. Get it together, diva.”

Because of my mentality on being broke, I felt like a major loser, if only for a day or two. I kept thinking, “If only I’d remembered … if only I had focused on what was more important than looking cute for that event. If only I had solid plans B and C, I would have been okay.”

I can’t dwell on the past, but I made it a point to not only remember, but practice more diligently what my Granny has constantly told me all my life: You never want to be forced to depend on ANYONE. Although you can’t always control what happens in life, you at least want to be prepared for what could come.

It’s never good to have all your eggs in one basket, and it’s definitely a fool’s move neglecting to plan for life’s bumps, whether related to your finances, your career, your look or your health. It pays to have it together, in all aspects of your life, so that when one piece falls apart, you can protect the well-being of the whole.

True, we all make mistakes, and everyone can’t be on top of things all of the time, but preparation and due diligence are definitely worth the investment and will keep you from taking major loss in the long run. Trust me, I learned my lesson, and now challenge myself, as well as others, to work to ensure that whatever is important in their lives has a holistic emergency plan.