Do you have an emergency fund? You should. An emergency fund is an essential safety net that every adult needs to have in their financial portfolio.
Without an emergency fund, you are missing a degree of financial security. You might not be able to handle small surprises without stumbling. If an unplanned expense falls into your lap, you might not have enough money set aside to pay for it out of pocket — at least, not without disrupting your monthly budget. You might consider a different payment option, like a loan, for your emergency. In that case, you could look into loans through CreditFresh as a way to handle the unplanned expense. As long as you are eligible, you can apply for a cash loan.
If you’re approved for a loan, you can use the temporary funds to resolve your emergency as soon as possible. And then, you can direct your attention toward a loan repayment plan.
A large emergency fund is still your best option for handling these surprise expenses. So, make it a goal to build one.
How Big Should Your Emergency Fund Be?
The bigger that safety net happens to be, the more protection it can offer. With enough money stored away in your emergency fund, your savings could help you do a lot more than cover small surprise expenses, like plumbing repairs and urgent trips to the veterinarian. It could help you stay afloat in times of financial distress, like losing your job without warning. A general rule of thumb is to save between 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses in your fund.
How Can You Boost Your Emergency Fund Savings?
Consistency is crucial. If your contributions to your emergency fund are inconsistent, it will grow at a snail’s pace. To guarantee that you’re always adding to your fund, you should automate transfers from your checking account into your emergency fund every single month. This small step will make sure that you remain consistent.
Whenever you are lucky enough to receive a windfall, whether it’s a substantial tax refund or an end-of-the-year bonus from work, you should put a chunk of it into your emergency fund. Adding a substantial lump sum, along with your regular contributions, will help you build up the safety net quickly.
High-Yield Savings Account
It’s important that you store your emergency fund in the right account. You’ll want the account to have a good interest rate so that the balance grows steadily as you continue to save. You’ll also want the account to be accessible. After all, you’ll want to be able to make a withdrawal from your emergency fund at a moment’s notice. You won’t have time to jump through hoops to get to your money.
A high-yield savings account will have both of these important qualities. It comes with a higher interest rate than a basic savings account. You could garner an annual percentage yield as high as 5%. The account is also fully accessible. The balance will remain liquid so that you can make a withdrawal or transfer whenever necessary.
A Certificate of Deposit is an investment tool where you can lock away your savings for a set amount of time and let them accumulate interest. A CD can offer annual percentage yields as high as 5%, so the balance inside is sure to grow larger.
You should never put an emergency fund in a CD. A CD’s contents are supposed to be inaccessible. You shouldn’t be able to reach them until the account reaches its maturity date — depending on the timespan you choose for the account, this could be in a year, two years or five years in the future. If you try to withdraw from the account before that maturity date, you will face an early withdrawal penalty.
Instead of putting the entirety of your emergency fund in a CD, you could put some of your emergency savings in one. So, the majority of your safety net will still remain accessible in a savings account so that you can make withdrawals for surprise expenses. The portion in the CD can grow on its own, and once it matures, you can add it to your emergency fund.
Treasury bills (sometimes called T-Bills) are other low-risk investments that you can look into to boost your savings. A benefit of treasury bills is that they reach their maturity dates much sooner than the average CD, usually between a month or a year. So, you don’t have to wait too long to access your earnings.
Again, much like a CD, you shouldn’t put the entirety of your emergency fund into T-bills. You should only use a portion of your savings for T-bills so that you can top up your emergency fund once they’ve matured.
Using these strategies can help your emergency fund grow. Soon enough, your safety net will be able to handle just about any expense that comes your way.