You are in lockdown; It was supposed to be 3 weeks…but it is day 100 whatever. Sitting with your head in your hands, asking yourself how are you going to get through yet another month? I mean…how has this happened in our time with such modern technology and medicine? Yet… It has!
During this time of isolation and social distancing, many people have realised they do not have enough (or anything!) in their “emergency fund”.
People who go through lockdown without worrying too much about how they are going to pay rent, car instalments, insurance and day-to-day living expenses are those with an emergency savings fund that is big enough to cover 3 to 6 months of expenses.
I can hear you say: “I want that! How do I start?”
Here are my Top 5 rules to start your Emergency Fund:
Do not live a life you cannot afford, simply because you want to try and keep up with the Joneses.
Live a frugal life: prioritise your expenses. Before you buy that new car (that will lose value the second you take ownership), ask yourself the question: Is this more important than saving for my child’s education? Is this more important than investing in a property or in my retirement?
Review your insurance. Shop around for better premiums, better excess values and inclusive packages.
Do not reduce the wrong expenses in order to build your “sleep-easy fund”. If you choose to pay less towards your retirement, this might have detrimental results down the line. Be sure to speak to a Financial Advisor, and have a proper Financial Needs Analysis done to ensure you are contributing enough to your Retirement Fund. Keep in mind, there are various tax advantages when contributing to retirement policies.
Your emergency savings fund is not an investment fund. Put your savings into an easily accessible account, available within 7 days. . You need to ensure that inflation does not erode your savings. Speak to your Financial Advisor regarding the various available options, other than a bank account.
Make your contribution towards your emergency savings a fixed monthly expense. You don’t need to build a 3-to-6 month emergency savings fund in a month. Simply start off with an affordable amount, and slowly build up enough to carry you through one month and try and do this in the shortest amount as possible.
Once you have achieved this, you should be used to saving that amount each month, and you can continue building this fund. (at least you have an emergency savings fund that can cover one month’s of expense, yay!). Certain financial institutions allow for a debit order to make it easier.
Once you implement all these guidelines, you should be able to have enough funds for the next global pandemic while being in quarantine, or for any unforeseen circumstance life might throw your way!