July 16, 2020
I have never been accused of following the crowd. One of the ways I have always “stuck out” is my advice for how big your emergency fund should be.
The standard advice you will see mentioned just about everywhere is that you want an emergency fund that can cover up to three months of living expenses.
By now, if you’re reading this, you know that’s not been my advice.
I have long told everyone to build an eight month emergency fund.
And my goodness, I get plenty of blowback for that. The critics say it is too much and too impossible.
I never said you should (or can) build an eight-month emergency fund quickly. It is a goal, like all your other financial goals.
And too much? I don’t think so. Especially right now.
I am hearing from so many of you—through my new, free Community App—that you are so happy to have an eight-month emergency fund as we all grapple with the unknowable duration of this crisis.
For some, it is a lifeline as your household adjusts to a layoff or reduced hours. For others, it is a sleep-at-night security blanket because you know you’ll be okay if you are confronted with a hardship.
I never ever imagined a pandemic. But I have always shared one of my most helpful financial mantras: Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
Planning for the worst is why we all have home insurance and car insurance, and car insurance. It is why I think long-term care insurance can make sense for many of you. It is why life insurance is vital when there are loved ones financially dependent on you.
An eight-month emergency fund is another vital form of insurance. From layoffs. From high deductibles and copays if someone in your household has a serious illness. From all the “what ifs” that can pop into our life at a moment’s notice.
As wonderful as it is for me to hear from those who already have an eight-month emergency fund, what makes me happiest is all the people who are working toward that goal. It is amazing how many of you are writing in to tell me how you’ve changed your spending habits so you can put more money in your emergency fund. You are all so awesome.
I am cheering you on every day. It may take some time to get to eight months. That’s more than okay. Every week or month that you deposit money in a savings account is you standing strong and proud in your truth: you are building security.
And for those of you who need some motivation to work toward your financial goals, come join the wonderful community we are building in my new app. It’s all about sharing, learning, and cheering each other on.