Several financial planners would agree that one of the
foremost and important steps that you should take to
protect your financial stability is to set aside funds
as emergency reserve. The concept that you have the
fund for emergency and unexpected events is enough to
help you stay away from using your credit card and
drown yourself in debt.
How to Get Started
Everyone must stash a little extra cash in case of
emergencies. However, how much money should you keep?
Although the topic of exactly how much money is needed
for your emergency fund is open to debate, the minimum
amount should be enough to cover your expenses for
daily living for at least three months. It is also
wiser to save for six months though most financial
planners agree on a full year worth of cash.
Your personal circumstances and what it takes to
provide you with a peace of mind are the elements to
help you determine just how cautious you want to be.
If for instance, you have well-off parents who have
always been supportive and willing to help you in a
financial crisis, an emergency fund for three months
will be sufficient. On the other hand, if you had
reach for you credit card for help and end up paying
15% in interest on the debt, you would be better off
saving enough money for your expenses that would last
for at least six months.
If by any chance you are thinking about where to place
your money, emergency fund, paying off the credit card
debt or funding your 401(k), you can always start with
your credit card debt. Next, you can contribute to
your 401(k). This step is especially useful since you
can later borrow money from your 401(k). However, as
soon as all those are finished, return to your project
of setting up your emergency fund.
If you do not feel like you are required to make your
entire funds this week, you can start like everyone
else. Begin by setting aside a monthly amount, like
for instance, 5% of your paycheck or other amount that
allows you to build one month’s worth of living
expenses over the course of a full year. It is also
advisable and helpful to make this automatic. You can
do this by asking your bank to do an automatic program
for deduction from your checking account to your
Additionally, monitor you spending habit each month
and always search for areas that you can develop. If
by any chance you receive a promotion, bonuses, or
other unexpected windfalls, always think about
including them to your emergency fund.
Where to Keep the Cash
Keep your emergency fund somewhere that is both easily
accessible and safe because you might be required to
get the cash in a hurry during emergencies. Remember
not to put your cash in the freezer but do not tie
them up together in stocks whose worth may have
declined by the time you need them.
The best option you have is to open a savings account
or money market account. However, always examine their
offer with regards to the minimum balance, interest
rate and other terms.
By time you think you have saved enough, learn how to
stop. You can now sleep easier and try to start
placing your additional saving into higher-interest
and usually less accessible investments or accounts.