How Vital is Building an Emergency Fund?

48_2100a1.jpgStuff happens. And it usually costs money. If you don’t have an emergency fund equal to three to six months worth of basic living expenses, you’re living on the edge. There’s no time like the present to get started.None of us have the ability to foresee the future or predict the hurdles which lie ahead of us. This makes building an emergency fund a financial priority. People who are living on a lean-and-mean budget will have the toughest time setting aside money for emergencies. If it’s possible to squeeze out another $40 or $50 each month and put it in a money market account, it’s worth doing.

Establishing an emergency savings account is vital in good times and in bad. The purpose of the fund is to sock away three to six month’s living expenses. But this money could also be used when you’re staring at major, unplanned expenses such as a car breakdown or a leaky roof.

Housing a small rainy day fund should be a vital part of an individual’s financial goals. This is of high importance if you don’t already have readily available funds in your account for covering any unanticipated expenses. They provide financial security because they give you funds to fall back on if you become ill, or if you or your spouse loses your job, you incur large medical bills, or have an unexpected large bill such as a major car or home repair. You do not want to end up in a situation where you have to buy daily necessities on credit.

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Saving your money in a small account for emergencies is definitely a better alternative to taking a loan or cashing in your long-term investments. If you take a loan, there is the additional burden of paying interest. Encashment of your investments before maturity means not only will you lose out the interest, but also some part of the original investment. This will also set you back significantly in your overall financial plan.

I echo the idea of treating the emergency fund as a bill, put the money away and don’t be tempted by the latest sale. Success at building an emergency fund depends on consistency of saving money on a regular basis and keeping this money separate from the general savings account. Otherwise you will be tempted to dip into these monies even if you simply run over your budget at a certain point.

The size of the special savings account will depend on your personal situation. I always advice my clients to keep between three to six months salary in the reserve. But you will have to decide on an appropriate amount based factors such as your Dependants and fixed monthly expenses.

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