How Much Should Be in Your Emergency Fund?

Everyone talks about emergency funds—especially Dave Ramsey—for a few very important reasons: they help keep you out of debt, give you a safety net, and provide you with reassurance. Your emergency fund is there to help protect you from whatever comes your way. What could have easily been a financial disaster with maxed out credit cards and loans quickly becomes an event that you can handle, all because you had the foresight to save. 

So, let’s talk about emergency funds—what qualifies as an emergency, and how much should you save?

What qualifies as an emergency?

Emergencies vary from person to person, but most simply, an emergency would apply to an unexpected event that affects your life drastically. A few examples of emergencies are car accidents, injuries, necessary home repairs (e.g., leaky roofs, broken A/C or heat), or losing your job. If an unexpected event comes along, your emergency fund would be there to catch you until you found your footing. In short, an emergency is any situation that would typically put you in debt or financial stress and would keep you from comfortably paying your normal living expenses. 

How much should be in your emergency fund? 

The amount of money you should have in your emergency fund also varies from person to person, like anything in finance; however, there are a few guidelines that you can follow. 

If You Have DebtIf you have debt, start by saving a one-thousand dollar emergency fund. The primary function of this initial fund is to prevent you from losing steam as you pay down debt. For example, if you’re making good progress on your debt payments, but your car needs a repair, you would use your emergency fund rather than charging the repair to your credit card and losing some of your progress and motivation. 

If You Are Debt-FreeIf you are debt-free, it’s time to build your emergency fund with three to six months’ worth of your living expenses. The difference in amounts depends on your circumstances and your financial stability. For those with steady or dual incomes, you likely need three months of expenses because you have less risk than someone who is self-employed, works on commission, or has one income. The people in the latter category should save six months of expenses to be on the safe side. Dave Ramsey also suggests that those who are taking care of a loved one with costly medical expenses save six months of expenses, even if they have a steady income and can afford the expense.  

The Key to Financial Security

Talk to your financial advisor about debt-free living, emergency savings, and financial confidence. Your advisor acts as an ally who understands your personal and professional goals, designing a sensible financial plan to help you get there. The Dobyns Wealth team is dedicated to helping our clients lessen financial worry and feel financially independent. We are here to welcome you into the Southwestern Investment Group family. Are you ready?  

Contact us to schedule an appointment with your local Franklin advisor.

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