Emergency Fund: Why You Need One

December 14, 2006

As a financial planner, I encourage my clients to have an emergency fund.  This is often met with the following questions:

1.  Why do I need an emergency fund? and
2.  How much should it be?

To answer the first question, you need an emergency fund for the following unexpected expenses or situations:

* Car repairs
* Home repairs or improvements
* Job loss
* Job downsize (forced to work fewer hours)
* Unexpected medical expenses

By having an emergency fund, you won’t be forced to turn to credit cards to pay for these unexpected bills.

The general rule of thumb is to save between three and six months of your living expenses in an emergency fund.  If you have no dependents, good credit, and a steady income, you can probably get by with three months; if you have a fluctuating income or work in a field that is not steady (home construction is a great example right now), you should aim for six months in your emergency fund.

One more thought… you should keep your emergency fund in a high interest money market or CDs (a portion, not all of your emergency fund) to earn a higher interest rate than your checking/savings account.


Leave a Reply


Beacon Financial Advisors, LLC, is a fee-only financial planning and Registered Investment Advisory firm headquartered in Lee’s Summit, Missouri and serving the greater Kansas City area.

The firm offers comprehensive financial planning services. Beacon advisors work solely for their clients. Click here to learn more about our services.

About Us

Kristine McKinley, CFP®, CPA, is the founding principal of Beacon Financial Advisors, LLC, an independent, fee-only financial planning firm located in Lee’s Summit, Missouri and serving the greater Kansas City area.

Kristine focuses on providing fee-only financial planning, investment advice, and tax preparation to individuals and families from all income levels.  About Us

In the News

Investment News – Kristine McKinley discusses the 0% Social Security COLA (for 2016) in No Social Security cost-of-living adjustment in 2016.

Kiplinger Magazine/NAPFA – Kristine McKinley answered reader’s tax questions during the 2013 Jump Start Your Retirement Plan Days sponsored by Kiplinger magazine and the NAPFA Consumer Education Foundation.