Ask the Readers: How Big is Your Emergency Fund?

by Jason Unger

Having an emergency fund is one of the first steps to setting yourself up for financial success. When you find yourself with a legitimate emergency — unemployment, unexpected medical bills or family issues — knowing that you can pay can be one of the most assuring feelings, especially in a time of turmmoil.

Generally, personal finance pundits suggest having a 3 to 6 month emergency fund, though Dave Ramsey preaches starting with only $1000 until you get out of debt. Others suggest having a month of expenses per national unemployment point.

While the size of your emegency fund is generally based on your level of confidence, we want to know exactly how big you keep it.

So, how big is your emergency fund?

Answer the poll below and then let us know why in a comment.

[poll id=”13″]

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

wrc1000 July 17, 2009 at 9:23 am

As a two-earner, no kids couple, our e-fund would last 4-5 months to maintain our current “non-emergency” lifestyle if we BOTH lost our jobs. We are currently living on 50% of our total income. So, if we both lost our jobs, our lifestyle would change and then we would also have enough from retirement savings that if we needed to payoff the mortgage, we could also. Having options is re-assuring – which, years ago, we did not. Spend less, save more . . .

George July 19, 2009 at 2:50 pm

We’re a two-income family with two preschoolers. Our emergency fund is about 6 months’ worth of basic expenses, but if we really had to cut things to the bone we could stretch it out to 9 months. Those estimates, though, assume that we lose both incomes at the same time, which is pretty unlikely. It’s very reassuring to have the money available if something goes sideways.

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