An Emergency Fund in the Growth Stage

Quick Look

  • In the Growth stage you need to continue to grow your emergency fund.
  • As your lifestyle, spending, personal obligations, dreams for the future have changed over the course of your financial journey, consider how this may affect the size you want your emergency fund to be.
  • Your emergency fund in the Growth stage should be between 3 – 6 months of living expenses.

Maturing Your Emergency Fund Over Time

It’s often asked, “How much of an emergency fund should I have?” But what’s less frequently acknowledged, is that it depends on your stage of financial maturity. We’ve previously discussed setting a goal for your emergency fund in the Security stage. Now, let’s talk about it for the Growth stage.

Whether it’s your income, savings rate, or spending rate, your numbers in the Growth stage are likely growing! Therefore, it should come as no surprise that your emergency fund needs to grow too. Let’s consider how each of the following categories may have shifted since you last focused on building your emergency fund.

Lifestyle & Spending

Improved financial health can lead to an improved lifestyle...but to maintain that lifestyle, your emergency fund needs upgrading too.

Improved financial health can lead to an improved lifestyle…but to maintain that lifestyle, your safety net needs upgrading too.

As you mature in your financial health, there’s a good chance your lifestyle has changed too. Earning more or having paid off debt may mean lead a life that is more expensive. You may no longer buy all your furniture second hand, eat ramen noodles five nights a week, or commute an hour and a half from a lower cost area to get to your job. And while we need to be cognizant of superfluous lifestyle inflation, it’s also ok to enjoy your improved financial health!

But it’s equally important to ensure your emergency fund is large enough to cover your life as it is today, not the life you led years ago.

Obligations

Your emergency fund is like your own personal insurance. Therefore,  it needs to be able to meet your obligations if the unexpected happens. These obligations could include the clothes you’re expected to wear for your job, paying your monthly mortgage or rent, paying for daycare if you have a child, food and clothing for your dependent children and more.

Take a moment to consider how your life has changed in the last few years. As your financial health matured, what obligations and responsibilities do you have today that are important to protect?

Dreams

In the Growth stage of financial health, you’re focusing more on your future. And not just your financial future. You’re likely thinking about personal growth and what you want out of life more broadly. You may have dreams that would require changing jobs, gaining new skills, starting a side business, or moving to a different city or country. And each of these things cost money. And while these changes may not feel like “emergencies”, often, these exciting shifts come at unexpected moments.

Having an emergency fund that covers 3 to 6 months’ of expenses may be the difference between being able to fund your dreams or not. Your future self may thank you for fully funding your Growth stage emergency fund today.

Conclusion

When you evaluate your lifestyle costs, the obligations you need to protect, and the flexibility you need to pursue your dreams, the value of increasing your emergency fund to a full 3 to 6 months of living expenses will be clear.

Take Action

In the notes section (logged in users only), take a moment to write down why you need to grow you savings. Then, follow the next steps in your MoneySwell plan to understand the best ways to increase your emergency fund and meet your goals.

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