Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, ending just in time for the start of winter weather. Are you prepared for heavy rains, damaging winds, and the ice and snow that may follow?
You may have a generator, first-aid kit, and flashlights, but if you don’t have money saved up for unplanned expenses, then your emergency preparedness plan isn’t complete.
Don’t Put Off Building an Emergency Fund
Extreme weather can lead to costly expenses you didn’t budget for, including damage to your home, your vehicle, and your personal belongings. Insurance may help you pay for the cost of repairing or replacing your property, but it usually has a deductible of $500 or more and it won’t pay out immediately.
Without an emergency fund, you may have to turn to friends and family for a loan. Or, you might be tempted to tap into your retirement savings account early, which could come with a major penalty and make it harder for you to enjoy a comfortable retirement in the future. When you build an emergency fund, you insure yourself against life’s unexpected expenses.
Life’s Storms Aren’t Always Weather-Related
Sometimes it feels like the sky is falling, even when the sun is shining. The following emergencies can happen any time of the year, regardless of the weather – and an emergency fund can help you deal with them:
- Repairs to Your Car or Home: One minute things are fine, and then suddenly your car won’t start and your refrigerator is room temperature. These problems tend to happen at the worst moments (like when you’re about to go away for the weekend). But with an emergency fund, you can rest easy knowing you can pay to get the problem fixed right away, and get on with your life.
- Job Loss: The loss of a job can be as hurtful to your self-confidence as it is to your wallet. An emergency fund can help with the financial side, so you can focus on updating your resume and finding your next opportunity without worrying about how you’ll pay the rent.
- Medical Emergencies: A sudden illness or serious injury can hurt you financially in two ways: expensive medical bills and difficulty working. An emergency fund can cushion that blow, so that you can focus on getting better.
How to Build an Emergency Fund
The time to start building your emergency savings is long before there’s an actual emergency. Experts suggest keeping three to six months’ worth of living expenses in an emergency fund. Here’s how to do it:
- Open a Separate Savings Account: It may seem simpler to keep all your money in one place, but putting your emergency funds in an account separate from your checking or long-term savings will help you avoid the temptation to dip into your emergency savings, so the funds will be there when you really need them. Look for a savings or money market account that pays competitive dividends and is easy to access quickly. (CDs and certificates, which are meant for long-term savings, are not a good choice for emergency savings.)
- Set Up Automatic Transfers: When you’re busy, it’s easy to forget to move money into your emergency savings account. Setting up automatic monthly transfers from your checking account makes the process effortless. Simply log into online banking to set up a recurring transfer in an amount that fits your monthly budget.
- Add More When You Can: Every few months, review your budget, look for places you could cut back on your spending, and try to increase the amount you’re saving each month.
We Make Saving Simple
Making a savings account part of your emergency preparedness plan can give you more peace of mind about your financial future. Dover Federal Credit Union is ready to help with great savings accounts that make the process easier.
Choose our Share Savings Account and earn competitive dividends with no minimum balance requirement. Or earn higher dividends with balances of $500 or more with our Super Saver Share Savings Account or balances of $1,000 or more with our Money Market Account. Learn more and open an account today!