Emergency Savings Fund
Plan for the unexpected by setting some money aside.
Nobody likes to think about the possibility of job loss, serious illness or other major expenses. But these are all possible in an uncertain world, and having an emergency fund in place can help if such situations arise.
An emergency fund is a money market, savings or checking account where you keep a specified amount of money to cover expenses. The important part here is that the money is stored in an investment vehicle that allows quick and easy access to funds. But you do not touch the money in this financially liquid account unless a real emergency pops up.
Setting up an emergency fund is usually the first step toward building a solid financial plan. If you donâ€™t already have one in place, start building one as quickly as you can. It obviously takes perseverance to stash money from each paycheck into your emergency fund, but it may be well worth it one day.
How much cash should you put aside? Most financial advisors recommend to first aim to keep enough money in the fund to cover at least three months of expenses. However, as your take-home pay increases or your expenses grow, you may need to keep six months or even as much as a yearâ€™s expenses in your fund.
Take it one step at a time. Once you've saved enough to cover three months of expenses, try for the six-month mark, and so on. Easier said than done, sure, but if you treat your emergency fund like any other must-pay monthly bill, it will undoubtedly grow over time.
Source: © 2012 Morningstar. All rights reserved. Used with permission.