Emergency Savings Fund
As we’ve learned from the recent pandemic, an emergency savings fund is a crucial part of financial planning. It is the life preserver that keeps you afloat, so you don’t drown in unexpected bills or are forced to charge everything to a credit card. A surprise vet bill, an urgent trip to the hospital, an unavoidable car repair — all of these can quickly derail your life.
So how big does your financial life preserver need to be? The first step, no matter what your life circumstances are, is to save up one month’s worth of take-home pay. Once you have this amount in your savings account, you can focus on growing it to your savings target while also tackling other goals.
Many emergency savings plans follow the “3-6-9 rule” which is savings of 3, 6, or 9 months of take-home pay.
Three months of take-home pay is a good emergency fund target if you are currently a renter, do not have dependents, and have a reliable “safety net.” A “safety net” includes friends and family who could give you a place to live, a car to drive, part-time work, or some other form of help if your situation turned dire.
This savings target applies to the largest group of people and is probably the most commonly quoted emergency fund goal. Six months of take-home pay should be safely tucked in your savings if you have a mortgage and dependents. If your household has two steady incomes, you should aim to build your emergency fund equivalent to six months of take-home pay of the highest earner. Want to be doubly safe? Calculate your savings target based on both incomes.
If you and/or your significant other are self-employed, work freelance, or rely on overtime hours and you have dependents, you belong in this group. When income is unpredictable, the bigger impact an unexpected bill can have on your life. A larger emergency fund helps protect your family from feeling the pinch of slow business or an unexpected bill. If saving even one month of take-home pay feels unreachable, don’t panic and don’t give up on saving. Start smaller. Can you reach $1,000? How about $500? The point is to pick a goal and move toward it as consistently as you can.
At SW66, we offer multiple savings options including our prize-linked savings account, Save-to-Win. We look forward to assisting you in achieving your savings goals and building your emergency fund.
President & CEO