I’m all for saving local bars and restaurants. Don’t get me wrong. I agree with the Los Angeles Times that the lack of coordinated support for the hospitality industry is “a national disgrace.”

However, as someone who writes about money (and has worked in hospitality as recently as 2020), I have to say —

Going forward, small business owners should not become small business owners unless they have an emergency fund. Given what we now know, the small business equivalent of Mark Cuban’s recommendation of a 12-month emergency fund for individuals isn’t too extreme.

I have a friend or two who say they’re “saving up” to open their own bars. This “savings” should include money to cover basic operating expenses and payroll for at least one year in case the government predictably and royally screws up again and fails to support the people who need it most.

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