Saving money is the responsible thing to do. But it's also something that many people struggle with, especially when they feel like their income barely makes a dent in their expenses. And while some people are okay living paycheck-to-paycheck and dealing with debt until they can escape it, others aren't so lucky.
That's where the emergency fund comes in. An emergency fund can be a lifesaver when you're faced with a job loss, medical expenses, or any number of other problems.
What Is an Emergency Fund?
An emergency fund can be a lifesaver when you're faced with a job loss, medical expenses, or any number of other problems.
An emergency fund is money put aside for emergencies – big or small – that might come up. You can think of it as a collection of cash stashed away to help make sure you can cover your expenses in case of a job loss or financial setback. It's a safety net to keep you from digging into debt when life throws you a curveball.
Why You Need an Emergency Fund
So why do you need an emergency fund in the first place? The professionals at https://www.bills.com offer expert debt relief solutions, and they've prepared this list of reasons why it's so important.
1. Sets aside money for irregular expenses. When something unexpected comes up, it can be tempting to charge the purchase on your credit card and pay it off over time in order to avoid dealing with the expense in full right away. But this is not a financially responsible decision. It makes more sense to have money set aside just for emergencies so that you're not borrowing from future costs just to get through the one.
2. Helps you avoid debt. Debt has a snowball effect because the more you borrow; the harder it is to make payments on your bills. Eventually, you might find yourself unable to pay and wind up in collections or even lose your home. An emergency fund gives you some financial breathing room so that you can get back on track after an unexpected expense without digging into debt.
3. Gives you relief during job loss. Have you ever been out of work for an extended period of time? Chances are that if this happens to you, your savings will be gone long before you get another job offer (if at all). According to one study, unemployed people who had no liquid assets typically run out of money within three months while those with some saved were able to survive about six months. It's simply too difficult to find another job without any money set aside, so having an emergency fund can give you peace of mind when it comes to job loss.
4. Helps manage variable expenses. Some expenses are consistent and predictable while others might come up only every once in a while. With an emergency fund, you can cover both types of expenses with ease because your stash is there for anything that might come up instead of eating into the rest of your budget or accruing debt on a credit card.
5. Helps during medical emergencies. Medical bills are some of the most frightening financial problems you could face because they're unpredictable and expensive. An unexpected trip to the hospital or even worse, long-term medical care, can wipe out your savings in no time. It's almost impossible to find the money for these types of expenses when you're living paycheck-to-paycheck. When you have an emergency fund in place, however, things are much simpler because you can use it to pay for medical bills instead of racking up debt or dipping into your other income/savings.
6. Provides stability during other emergencies. Sometimes life just throws curveballs at us and there's absolutely nothing we could have done to prevent it from happening. This is especially true if one tragedy follows another or even worse if they happen all at once. Whatever happens, having an emergency fund ensures that you won't be forced into financial ruin just because something unexpected comes up. That's a lot of power to have on your side, and it's another reason why having an emergency fund is so important.
How Much of an Emergency Fund Do You Need?
As you can see, an emergency fund is very important and it's something that everyone should strive for. However, how much money do you need exactly? There isn't a hard and fast rule about the amount you should have in your emergency fund, but there's definitely a recommended range that experts agree on.
You should have enough money in your emergency fund to cover three to six months of expenses, but the average is around three to five months. If you are struggling for money, it's best to try to save up at least six months' worth because you never know what could happen down the line.
Final Thoughts on Why You Need an Emergency Fund
Everyone should have an emergency fund. It's the ultimate form of financial security, protection, and peace of mind because it ensures that you're ready for anything that might come your way both good and bad.
If you are struggling financially right now, your emergency fund is that much more important because it ensures that you don't start falling behind. If you are getting back on your feet again, an emergency fund gives you the stability to weather any unexpected expenses or problems so that you don't have to take out loans or overdraft fees/bounce checks.
Simply put, an emergency fund ensures that you're protected financially no matter what happens. So, if you don't have one yet, start building your emergency fund today by first saving up whatever money you can and then deciding on the best way to grow it.