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Emergency Fund The Emergency Fund: What Is It and why it is important

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Emergency Fund The Emergency Fund: What Is It and Why It Matters

Best kept in a savings account A fund for emergencies is helpful for unexpected expenses.

By Margarette Burnette Savings accounts and money market accounts bank accounts Margarette Burnette is a savings expert who has been writing about bank accounts since prior to the Great Recession. Her work has been published in other major newspapers. Prior to joining NerdWallet, Margarette was a freelance journalist who had bylines in magazines like Good Housekeeping, and Parenting. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dec 21, 2021

Read by Kathleen Burns Kingsbury Wealth psychology expert and coach Kathleen Burns Kingsbury, founder of KBK Wealth Connection and host of the Breaking Money Silence podcast, is a widely published writer and speaker. As an expert in finance psychology Kathleen was featured on TV, and her writing has been highlighted by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, “PBS NewsHour,” Money magazine, Today Money, Forbes and CNBC. Kathleen served as an adjunct faculty instructor at McCallum Graduate School from 2009 to 2019. McCallum Graduate School at Bentley University from 2009 until 2019 and currently teaches at Champlain College.

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What exactly is an emergency account?

The emergency fund can be described as a type of bank account with money set aside to pay for the unexpected costs of a large scale, such as:

Unforeseen medical costs.

Repair or replacement of your home appliance.

Major car repairs.


Compare the best savings accounts

Find a high-yield savings account with a great rate. Compare rates side-by-side.

Why do I need an emergency account?

Emergency funds create an emergency fund that will keep you going in moment of crisis without having to rely on credit cards or high-interest loans. It’s especially important to have an emergency fund in case you’re in debt as it can assist you in not borrowing any more.

“One one of the most important steps to climb out of debt is to provide yourself the option to not go further into the debt cycle,” says NerdWallet columnist Liz Weston.

How much should I put aside?

The short answer: If starting small, try to put aside at minimum $500, but begin to build up to a half-year’s worth of expenses.

The longer answer is: The best amount you should spend depends on your financial situation However, a good rule of thumb is to to cover three to six months’ worth in living costs. (You may need more in case you are a freelancer or working seasonally for instance, or if your job would be hard to find a replacement for.) If you are forced to quit work, you could make use of the funds to pay for necessities while you search for a replacement or help you to pay for unemployment benefits. Start by making small steps, Weston says, but start.

A savings of even $500 will help you get out of numerous financial squabbles. Save something now and build your savings over time.

Are you looking for the best savings choices? Here are our recommendations for you .

Where do I put my emergency account?

A savings account with a high rate of interest and quick access. Since emergencies can occur at any moment and access to it quickly is essential. Therefore, it should not be tied to a long-term investment fund. However, the account must be separate from the account at your bank that you use daily, so you’re not tempted to draw funds from your account.

A is a great place for your money. It is insured by the federal government up to $250,000 for each depositor, therefore it’s secure. The money earns interest, and you’ll be able to access cash fast when you need it, whether through withdrawal or transfer.

Credit Card for Savings and Cash Management. Money Market

Member FDIC

SoFi Savings and Checking

APY 3.75% SoFi members with direct deposit receive up 3.75 percent annually-percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 2.50% APY on check balances. There is no minimum direct deposit amount needed to qualify for 3.75% APY for savings, and 2.50% APY on checking balances. Members without direct deposit will earn 1.20 percent interest on balances of savings and checking (including vaults). The rates of interest are variable and may change at any time. The rates shown are current as of 01/04/2023. Additional information can be found at

Min. balance for APY $0

Member FDIC

Marcus is a product of Goldman Sachs Online Savings Account

APR 3.50 35% 3.50% APY (annual percent yield) with no minimum balance to earn the stated APY. Accounts must have a positive balance to remain open. APY current as of 02/07/2023.

Min. balance to APY $0

They combine the services and features similar to savings, checking or investment accounts into one product. The cash management account is typically provided by non-bank financial institutions.

They combine the features and services that are similar to checking, savings or investment accounts into one package. Cash management accounts are typically offered by non-bank financial establishments.

on the website of Wealthfront.

Wealthfront Cash Account

APY 4.05 percent

Min. balance required for APY $1

on Betterment’s website

Betterment Cash Reserve – Paid non-client promotion

APY 4.00% Annual percentage yield (variable) is at 02/06/2023.

Min. balance required for APY $0

CDs (certificates of deposit) are a type of savings account that comes with an interest rate fixed and a term generally, they offer higher rates of interest than standard savings accounts.

CDs (certificates of deposit) are a kind of savings account that comes with a fixed rate and term generally, and offer higher rates of interest than traditional savings accounts.


APY 4.60 percent

Term 1.5 years

Member FDIC

Marcus by Goldman Sachs High-Yield CD

APR 4.40% 4.40% APY (annual per cent yield) as of 01/25/2023.

1. Year of the term

Checking accounts can be used to deposit cash on a daily basis and for withdrawals.

Checking accounts are used to deposit cash on a daily basis and for withdrawals.

Member FDIC

SoFi Savings and Checking

APY 2.50 SoFi members who have direct deposit receive up 3.75% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 2.50% APY on check balances. The minimum direct deposit amount needed to qualify for 3.75% APY for savings and 2.50% APY for checking balances. Members without direct deposit will get 1.20 percent APY on all account balances, including savings and checking (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and can change at any time. The rates listed are current as of 01/04/2023. Additional information can be found at

Monthly fee of $0

Upgrade Rewards Checking


Monthly fee of $0

The deposits are FDIC Insured

Current Account


Monthly fee: $0

Deposits are FDIC Insured

Chime Checking Account


Monthly fee: $0

Member FDIC

Axos Bank(r) Rewards Checking

APY 1.25% Make monthly direct deposits of $1500 and more in order to accrue 0.40 percent annual percentage. Utilize Your Axos Visa(r) debit card for a total of 10 transactions per month (min three dollars per purchase) or enroll for Account Aggregation/Personal Finance Manager (PFM) in Online Banking to earn 0.30 percent annual percentage. Keep an average daily balance of $2,500 within an Axos Managed Portfolios Invest Account in order to receive 0.20 percent APY. Keep an average daily balance of $2,500 per month with an Axos Self-Directed Trading Invest Account to earn 0.20 percent annual percentage yield. Utilize Your Rewards Checking account to pay your entire month’s Axos Consumer loan payment and earn 0.15% APR.

Monthly fee $0

The money market accounts have rates that are similar to savings accounts and have some features for checking.

The money market accounts have rates that are similar to savings accounts and have some features for checking.

Member FDIC

UFB Best Money Market

APY 4.21 percent

Min. balance required for APY $0

Member FDIC

Bank Money Market Account – Discover Bank Money Market Account

APY 3.20%

Min. balance required for APY $1

How can I create an emergency cash fund?

Calculate the amount you would like to save. Use the below if you need assistance in determining your expenses for the next six months.

Make a goal for your savings each month. This will get you to the habit of saving often and makes the task less daunting. One way to do this is to automatically transfer funds into your savings account each time you receive a payment.

Move money into your savings account automatically. If your employer offers direct deposit, there’s a great chance that they’ll be able to divide your salary between several checking and savings accounts so that your monthly savings goal is achieved without touching your checking account.

Save the money. Use the mobile device to store automatically each when you purchase. There are that link with checking or other spending accounts to round up the amount of your purchases. The additional amount is then automatically transferred into an account for savings.

Save any tax-free refund. You can only get this once a year — and only if you anticipate an income. Saving it is an easy method to increase the emergency funds. If you are filing your taxes, you may want to have your refund deposited directly into your emergency account. You could also think about making adjustments to your tax deductions tax deductions to make sure you’re not wasting money that is withheld. If changing your deductions is an option that is suitable for you, you can direct the extra cash into your emergency savings account.

Review and adjust your contributions. Review your contribution after a while to see how much you’re saving and adjust , if necessary especially if you’ve recently withdrew money from your emergency account. On the other hand when you’ve saved enough to pay for the cost of six months of expenses and have extra cash, you might consider investing those funds instead.

>> Here’s what to do if you think you may have

When you’re saving, draw a line between emergencies and all other. If you’ve reached a threshold of emergency savings Weston advises, it’s a good idea to open a second savings account to save for sporadic but essential items such as car repairs or vacations, as well as clothing. If you’re struggling to stay organised, banks will permit customers to establish and mark sub-accounts with different financial objectives.

Everyone needs to save to cover the possibility of an unexpected. Having something in reserve can make the difference between surviving a short-term financial storm or slipping into deep debt.

Make use of this calculator to start. It will only take just a few minutes

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About the author: Margarette Burnette is a savings account expert at NerdWallet. The work she has done was featured in USA Today and The Associated Press.

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