Real-life tips to help you build an emergency fund

When’s the last time you had to come up with more than $100 to pay for something unexpected? Maybe it was something happy—a wedding present for a friend. Or maybe there was a less joy-inducing reason, such as a home repair. Did you have to pay a bill late in order to come up with the cash—or charge it to the credit card?

An emergency fund is a tool you can use for just that. But cobbling together enough dollars to create one of any size can be daunting—especially when you have lots of competing financial priorities. The key is to calculate how much you need, and simply start where you’re at. (You don’t have to put it together overnight!)

Graphic showing that 3 in 10 Americans have no emergency savings and only 18% could live off savings for 6 months. Graphic showing that you should have 3-6 months of income or expenses in your emergency savings. Graphic showing that unexpected expenses could be a home repair, a car repair, medical emergencies, or pet care.
Graphic showing 4 tips to build your emergency fund and 4 ways to boost your emergency savings.

Next steps

1 Bankrate Financial Security Index, https://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/2019-economic-well-being-of-us-households-in-2018-dealing-with-unexpected-expenses.htm

2 https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2019/06/04/hospital-billing-code-changes-help-explain-176-surge-er-costs/1336321001/

3 https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/14/are-you-prepared-for-a-pet-emergency-most-americans-are-not.html

The subject matter in this communication is educational only and provided with the understanding that Principal® is not rendering legal, accounting, investment advice, or tax advice. You should consult with appropriate counsel or other advisors on all matters pertaining to legal, tax, investment, or accounting obligations and requirements.