A rainy day fund is an essential part of any family’s financial planning. By putting away a specified amount to be used only during emergencies, a family will be able to weather any emergency easier. The creation of a emergency fund is a simple two-step process. First, conduct a thorough analysis of your family’s current financial status to determine the amount of the fund. Next, set up the account and make regular deposits until the emergency amount is reached. As an accountant in Reno, it is very important to talk about rainy day funds.
Defining a Rainy Day Fund
Most financial planning experts agree that a rainy day fund is a must for any family, but what exactly is it? First, it is money that is set aside to be used only in the event of an emergency. “Emergency” should be taken literally and should not be mistaken with a financial want. For example, buying a new car is generally not an emergency unless your car was totaled and transportation to and from work is put at risk. Also, the rainy day fund should be a liquid asset that can be easily accessed without any kind of delay.
The Importance of an Emergency Fund
The importance of a having a rainy day fund as a critical part of any family’s financial planning cannot be underestimated. No one is immune to unexpected emergencies like car accidents, loss of jobs, or sudden illnesses. Yes, most people carry insurance, but insurance does not cover everything, and there may be a delay in accessing those funds. The rainy day fund will fill in that gap and prevent a family from getting behind in their bills.
How Much Is Enough?
As an accountant in Reno I have to admit that there is some disagreement as to how much money should be deposited into a rainy day fund. However, that figure really depends on a family’s needs. In general, three to six months of expenses should be the minimum. Some experts will even advise that a year’s salary is necessary, but this depends on things like insurance coverage and whether that is even possible for a family to save.
Step 1 to a Rainy Day Fund
In light of this, the first step to establishing a rainy day fund is to review the family’s current financial picture including required spending, discretionary spending and current net income (after taxes). The rainy day fund should come from the discretionary fund. If that is non-existent, then the family should review what it considers to be needs versus wants. Furthermore, a family should review insurance policies and other investments to determine if additional income can be generated.
Step 2 to a Rainy Day Fund
Once the amount of required funds is determined, the family needs to open a low-risk savings account. Since this is an emergency fund, it must be easily accessible which means no CDs or other such investments. It’s a good idea to set this account up with direct deposits in a separate bank from the family’s primary account. The deposits can be stopped when the amount is reached. This takes temptations out of the way. Deposits happen without thought and withdraws require a special trip.
So don’t make the mistake of thinking that nothing bad will ever happen, because it just might. By including an emergency fund in your family’s financial planning, you can minimize the impact. All that is needed is a full analysis of the family’s current financial status and needs. This financial picture will help determine how much to stash away in a savings account. Just remember – it’s for emergencies and not for big purchases.
Reno’s Best CPA,