So, you’ve got a shiny new emergency fund. Congratulations! You’ve officially completed Milestone 3 of the 7 Money Milestones.
It’s a turning point in your journey towards real wealth. You now have the resources to extinguish financial fires without resorting to debt.
But just because you have an emergency fund doesn’t mean that you can start pulling from it willy-nilly. If your emergency fund starts leaking money, you may find yourself staring down a financial forest fire with an empty bucket.
Here are two simple rules for creating a watertight emergency fund that can be there for you in your hour of need…
Rule #1: Your emergency fund is ONLY for unexpected emergencies.
That’s all. It’s not for last minute birthday presents, much needed spa days, or irresistible Black Friday sales. It doesn’t matter if it sits in your checking, savings, or a separate account—as long as it doesn’t tempt you to use it for anything but a true emergency.
Rule #2: If you need it, use it.
If you’re facing a broken down car, a leaking refrigerator, or a kid with a knocked out tooth, use the money in your emergency fund. Fix the car, replace the fridge, pay the ER fees. That’s what it’s there for. Just make sure that afterwards you add back a little money every month until your emergency fund is full again.
Follow these two rules and your emergency fund will be there when you need it most. It’s the foundation of financial security as you conquer the remaining Money Milestones without fear of unexpected setbacks.