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Using a Safety Net

Worby Wealth Management a Trusted Regina Financial Consultant talks about your Emergency Fund.

Say in the same month you have your water heater go, your car needs $2500 worth of work and you have to take an emergency trip to see an ailing relative. Where is that money going to come from? Many people know we should save a few months’ worth of expenses for the ‘just in case’ times but very few people know how to.

• How much money should be in an emergency fund?

• How to build one

• How to use it for annual ‘fun’ items I’ve heard it said that you should have 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses handy on a ‘just in case’ basis.

I generally think a dollar amount is a better idea. Think of how much makes sense for you but a good guideline is somewhere in the $10,000 to $15,000 range – that is enough money to deal with most household’s finances for a couple of months in the event of job loss or such but still allows for funds to go towards longer terms goals like retirement.

Building one can be difficult but really, the best way is to set up a high interest rate account separate from your regular chequing account and send money there from every paycheque. Now that you know what your goal amount is, you can target that and, if you want to go from $0 to $10,000 over the course of 4 years, it’s going to be $2500/yr or about $100/bi-weekly. It may take some time to build this up so I often recommend using tax returns or some other once a year source of funds like bonuses to get this done more quickly.

Finally, I get asked how to budget for an annual trip or some such pretty regularly – this fund can help. Say it’s established and you are ticking along just fine at around $12,000 and you have decided this is good for your household. Once that fund gets above that amount, you have spending money! Say you want to take the family to Mexico during the winter every now and then, whenever you have $17,000 (if it costs $5000), you are free to go. Emergency funds, they are helpful and very few people have them. Give me a call or email and we can figure out how to get one up and running for you.

Chris Worby is a Trusted Regina based financial advisor and Wealth Management consultant servicing local Regina households and businesses since 2001.