Building an Emergency Fund

Personal Finance September 30, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

An emergency fund is money set aside in a readily accessible savings account for unanticipated events such as unemployment, medical bills, and car repairs. A sum of money to cover basic living costs for three to six months is recommended.

 

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Accumulating Liquid Assets

• These are assets that can be easily converted to cash.

• The majority of these funds should be in accounts that have easy access, like checking accounts.

• Regular or passbook savings and money market accounts are other options.

• Short‐term CDs may offer higher interest rates, but ask about early withdrawal penalties.

• Try to distinguish between needs and wants when determining how much you need to keep in the emergency fund.

• The exact amount you should have can vary depending on your access to paid leave time from an employer or even access to other financial resources.

Consider Other Resources

• Would you get any help from family or friends?

• What types of credit do you have and what are the credit terms and payment options for each source?

• What types of exchanges could you make with neighbors, friends, co-workers, and family to save you money? There are lots of options, such as borrowing tools, trading favors, carpooling, and exchanging skills and services.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.