Emergency Funds

Reader Question: How long should it take someone to fully fund their emergency fund?

dave_ramsey On average, building an emergency fund takes six months to a year. It takes about 18 to 24 months for most people to pay off all of their debt, except for the house. That’s if they’re gazelle intense, and have no life other than getting control of their finances.

Baby Step 1 is saving $1,000, and not paying extra on your debts until you have that money in the bank. Once you’ve got a $1,000 starter emergency fund, then your list all of your debts except the house from smallest to largest and attack them with a vengeance. All you do is work and pay off debt until you clean up the mess. Once that’s done, you move on to the next Baby Step, which is adding to your emergency fund until you have three to six months of expenses set aside. Most people can accomplish that in six months to a year.

There are always various factors involved because everyone’s situation is different. But in most cases, if you approach my plan with the kind of intensity I talk about, you can become debt-free except for your house and have a fully-loaded emergency fund is place in just two or three years!

Dave Ramsey

Dave is the author of The New York Times best-selling book Financial Peace. He is also the host of the nationally syndicated The Dave Ramsey Show, and is a regular guest on television. All of his financial counseling is based on biblical truths. You can hear Dave from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., weekdays online at www.daveramsey.com. Send your questions toaskdave@daveramsey.com. He resides with his wife Sharon and their three children, Denise, Rachel, and Daniel, in Nashville, Tennessee.

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