piggy banks

How much emergency fund do you really need?

Mar 17, 2020
Empower Insights

Even a little can help a lot

Conventional financial wisdom says that your household should have enough cash stowed away to cover three to six months of expenses. But it’s a good idea to save even if that amount feels out of reach. Even a small emergency fund could keep you from sliding into debt if you get hit with an unforeseen expense. Here’s what you could expect to pay if the unexpected happens:

Car repair costs chart
home repairs chart
medical expenses chart


Emergency funds in action

Emergency funds aren't one-size-fits-all. Consider the different needs of two very different families.

Mozek family emergency fund
O'connor family emergency fund


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1 Warren Clark, AARP, 6 Proven Ways to Pay Less for Car Insurance.
2 AAA, Planning for Auto Maintenance and Repair Costs.
3 Ibid.
4 Ibid.
5 HomeAdvisor, The True Cost of Home Improvement.
6 Consumer Reports, Homeowners Insurance Buying Guide.
7 John Hargraves, Kevin Kennedy, Health Care Cost Institute, ER Facility Prices Grew in Tandem with Faster-Growing Charges from 2009-2016.
8 Healthcare.gov, Why Health Insurance Is Important: Protection from High Medical Costs.
9 International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, Average Health Care Deductible Nearly $1,500 for Individual Coverage Through an Employer Plan.
10 Ibid.

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