What is an Emergency Fund and Why you must have one

4.5/5 - (4 votes)

In today’s uncertain world, having an emergency fund is crucial to financial stability. An emergency fund is a savings account set aside for unexpected expenses, such as medical bills, car repairs, or job loss. It provides a safety net and peace of mind, knowing that you have a financial cushion to rely on when you need it most.

Emergency Fund
Emergency Fund

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what an emergency fund is, why it’s important, and how to build one.

Consider reading: Best Short Term Investment Plans in India

What is an Emergency Fund?

An emergency fund is a dedicated savings account set aside for unforeseen expenses or financial crises, such as job loss, medical emergencies, or natural disasters. This fund is a crucial financial strategy, offering both financial security and peace of mind. With an emergency fund, you can avoid the stress and anxiety associated with financial emergencies. Moreover, it prevents the need for relying on credit cards or high-interest loans, which can worsen your financial situation.

Apart from providing a safety net, an emergency fund contributes to your long-term financial stability. It ensures that you don’t need to withdraw from your investments or retirement savings in times of crisis, keeping your long-term financial objectives on track.

Consider reading: Investing for Beginners Guide in India

What are the benefits of having an Emergency fund?

An emergency fund is a savings account that is specifically set aside for unexpected expenses or financial emergencies. Some of the benefits of having an emergency fund include:

  1. Financial security: An emergency fund provides financial security and peace of mind knowing that you have a source of funds to turn to in the event of an unexpected financial emergency.
  2. Protection against financial stress: In the event of a financial emergency, an emergency fund can help reduce financial stress and anxiety.
  3. Prevention of relying on credit cards or loans: An emergency fund can help prevent you from having to rely on credit cards or high-interest loans to cover unexpected expenses, which can further strain your finances.
  4. Protection of long-term financial goals: By having an emergency fund in place, you are less likely to have to tap into your investments or retirement savings to cover unexpected expenses, which can derail your financial plans.
  5. Financial flexibility: An emergency fund can provide financial flexibility, allowing you to make financial decisions without the added pressure of having to cover unexpected expenses.

How much emergency fund do I need?

Determining the ideal size of your emergency fund hinges on various personal factors such as your lifestyle, goals, family situation (like having children or not), and housing status (owning a home or renting).

For individuals who are single, renting, earning a steady full-time income, and focused on debt repayment, a smaller emergency fund of about 1-2 lakhs may suffice, especially if your monthly expenses are around 25k. However, if you own a home (possibly with a mortgage) or have children, a larger fund of around 3-4 lakhs is advisable, considering monthly expenses of approximately 50k.

Regardless of your situation, it’s wise to aim for a fund that covers 3 to 6 months of essential expenses, including housing, food, and utilities. Those with dependents or self-employed individuals might consider extending this to 6-9 months for added security.

If you’re starting from scratch with your emergency fund, don’t be daunted. Begin with small, manageable amounts and progressively build up to your target. Overcoming the initial hurdle of starting is crucial. Remember, life is unpredictable, and being financially prepared is key.

An important consideration is managing high-interest debts, like credit card loans. Prioritize paying off these debts before fully focusing on your emergency fund, as the interest can significantly impact your financial health.

Consider reading  How to get out of debt in 5 steps

Where should I keep my emergency fund savings?

This is the most important thing you need to understand. Often people mix up emergency funds and investments. They end up investing all the money in stocks and high-risk instruments which defeats the purpose of having an emergency fund! at the same time, you don’t want to keep your fund as cash with you as the value of money will depreciate with time.

An emergency fund should be liquid and can be easily accessible when there is an emergency. At the same time, it shouldn’t be so easy that you get attracted to it every now and then for your small needs.

Here are some best ways to park your emergency fund:

  1. Insta-redemption liquid funds
  2. Flexible RD
  3. Sweep-in savings bank account

The best way to build up an emergency fund is to split your fund into 2-3 parts and in 2-3 instar-redemption liquid funds which you can break instantly to get the money in your bank account in a matter of minutes.

Another way is to keep your emergency fund in liquid mutual funds with insta-redemption which will give you the money instantly when you need it.

Consider reading: what is financial planning?

When should I use my emergency fund (and when shouldn’t I)?

When contemplating using your emergency fund, it’s crucial to discern true emergencies from non-urgent needs. Ask yourself these critical questions to guide your decision:

  • Is this expense absolutely necessary?
  • Is it urgent and cannot be delayed?
  • Could this situation have been anticipated?
  • Are there alternatives to avoid falling into debt?

Understanding the difference between emergency and non-emergency situations is key. For instance, losing a phone doesn’t warrant dipping into emergency savings for a high-end replacement. Adjusting temporarily is a more prudent choice.

Legitimate Uses of Emergency Funds:

  • Job loss, necessitating immediate financial support.
  • Unforeseen medical emergencies, especially when lacking insurance coverage.

Inappropriate Uses of Emergency Funds:

  • Purchases like gifts for holidays or special occasions.
  • Foreseeable expenses, such as insurance premiums or taxes.
  • Impulse buys, even if they seem like a great deal.
  • Spontaneous leisure trips and vacations.

These non-emergency expenses should be planned within your regular budget. Instead of tapping into emergency savings, consider establishing sinking funds for such predictable costs.

How to Build an Emergency Savings Fund?

Building an emergency fund is really easy if you do it right. If you don’t have an emergency fund today then anything that you save today should first go to the fund than anywhere else.

There is a famous concept of a 50-30-20 budget rule. which says:

  • 50% of your earnings should go towards your needs – Like rent, home loan EMIs, etc
  • 30% of your earnings should go towards your wants – like travel, entertainment, restaurant meals
  • 20% of your earnings should go towards your savings – here you can start looking at your emergency fund.

If you don’t have an emergency fund at all then you should reduce your wants figure and aggressively save towards the fund.

If you are new to personal finance then don’t worry, start small and build on it. Putting the first few thousand rupees is the most difficult part. Once you have it then it will encourage you to save more.

What is an Emergency Fund and why you must have one? – closing thoughts!

We hope by now you have understood the importance of an emergency fund in our life. As life is full of uncertainty we do not want our future to get trapped into debt and break us financially. Your first step towards building an emergency fund will give you peace of mind and some kind of certainty when you need the most.

Having an emergency fund makes your financial planning so much easier and gives you peace of mind.

Final Thoughts on Emergency fund

In my experience, having an emergency fund is crucial for financial stability. It’s like having a safety net to fall back on when unexpected expenses arise, such as car repairs or medical bills.

I started by setting a goal for how much I wanted to save, and then I made a plan to reach that goal. I made sure to keep my emergency fund separate from my regular savings account so that I wouldn’t be tempted to dip into it for non-emergencies.

To make it easier to save consistently, I set up automatic transfers from my checking account to my fund each month. Starting small and increasing my contributions over time helped me build up my emergency fund without feeling overwhelmed.

Over the years, my emergency fund has provided me with peace of mind, knowing that I have a financial cushion to rely on when I need it most. Building an emergency fund may take time and effort, but it’s worth it for the financial security and peace of mind it provides.

Like this article? please share with your friends and family to spread awareness about the emergency fund.

FAQ on Emergency Fund

What is a good emergency fund?

A good emergency fund should cover three to six months of living expenses. This ensures financial security in case of unexpected events, like job loss or medical emergencies. It’s a crucial step in personal finance management, recommended by experts for maintaining a healthy financial cushion.

Should I have a 3 or 6 month emergency fund?

Financial experts generally recommend setting aside enough in an emergency fund to cover 3 to 6 months of living expenses, tailoring it to your personal financial security and risk profile. A 3-month fund suits stable incomes, while a 6-month reserve is prudent for those with variable earnings or higher risk factors.

What is the meaning of emergency fund?

An emergency fund is a reserve of money set aside to cover unexpected financial needs, such as medical emergencies or sudden job loss. It acts as a financial buffer, enhancing security and minimizing stress during unforeseen events.

Is 1 lakh enough for emergency fund?

Typically, 1 lakh may not suffice as an emergency fund due to rising living expenses. Financial experts recommend saving 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses. For most individuals, this could range from 2 to 2.5 lakh rupees to cover unexpected events effectively. Start building your fund with consistent savings or a Debt Mutual Fund to reach your goal efficiently.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply