NEW YORK, September 20, 2022 (Newswire.com) - Some Americans don't have any savings. These individuals or families may have to take out a personal loan for unexpected expenses. If they get blindsided by financial hardship, they might also ask to borrow money from a family member or friend if that's a viable option.
Virtually any financial expert will agree that you should put some money aside for emergencies if at all possible. That has been the case for years. The only thing that's different now is how much cash you should have in your emergency fund.
A survey has revealed the new minimum amount you should try to set aside. We'll talk about that number and its implications right now.
The Previous Emergency Expense Benchmark
For many years, financial consultants and other experts in the field said that you should try to have $400 set aside in an emergency fund. They warned families or individuals not to touch that money unless they had no choice.
However, most financial strategists feel that in 2022, $400 is not a realistic amount that should form the foundation of your emergency fund. They point to inflation as one of the main reasons why this number has changed.
What's the New Number?
There is a reputable financial services company called LendingClub. Recently, they partnered with PYMNTS, a financial news site, for a new study. That study surveyed households that had to deal with sudden financial hardships. They determined that the new amount you should try to set aside for an emergency fund is $1,400.
$1,400 might seem arbitrary, but it's based on research. That number represents the mean average of what a family or individual can expect to pay if they're faced with an unexpected financial hardship in 2022.
That hardship might be a car breakdown and the subsequent repairs. It may be a plumbing disaster or a medical bill. The amount you'll pay in one of these situations might be more or less than $1,400, but this survey reveals that's a realistic starting point if you want to have a minimum amount set aside for emergencies.
Why Does Having an Emergency Fund Matter?
If you don't have an emergency fund, financial experts say you're asking for trouble. You never know when a sudden expense will pop up. If your bank account is empty, you might have to borrow money from a credit card company if you don't have a family member or friend you can turn to for help.
Credit card companies often charge high-interest rates if you borrow money from them. Getting a payday loan isn't the best solution either, based on the fees that typically go along with that.
Now's the Time to Create an Emergency Fund
Virtually all financial experts and advisers agree that creating an emergency fund is something every individual and family should do. You can use $1,400, the number from this recent survey, as a jumping-off point. With that money readily available, you should feel immeasurably better about any sudden expense that arises.
Once you have that $1,400, you can also continue setting money aside, just in case you run into any expense that amount doesn't cover. Most financial gurus will tell you to have three-six months of possible expenses put away, just in case you lose your job or something similar occurs. That three-six months of expenses should cover your rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, grocery budget, etc.
It's noteworthy that in 2022, the minimum amount that financial advisers say you should set aside for emergency expenses has gone from $400 to $1,400. It's reasonable to assume that number will only keep going up as we progress further into this century.