3 or 6 month emergency fund? Also, how long did it take you to complete?


I always hear that you should at least have 3 months to 6 months of expenses saved up in an emergency fund.

I would love to know:

  • How much do you aim to keep? 3months? 6 months? More or less?
  • Why did you choose that amount?
  • How long did it take you to get the amount into savings?

I can start. We aim for 6 months of expenses, but the 6 months is on a barebones budget versus a full monthly budget. That way, we don’t end up with too much in there. We chose that amount based on the fact that we have 2 kids and would like the transition period to be easier to manage if something did happen.

From start to finish, we slacked off the first round saving up our money. It actually took us almost 2 years to save up our 6 months because we had decided that we were going to slow down and enjoy our life a bit more after getting the debt paid off. Also, we actually had a few emergencies that we ended up funding in the process as well. We bought a used car for almost $9,000 and then another one for another $5,000. Our cars were pretty old and were starting to fall apart though. So, I guess in that two years we about saved up our emergency fund twice.

How about you?


How much do you aim to keep? 3months? 6 months? More or less?
We aim for 6 months allocated as follows

  • 2 months on hand in savings.
  • 4 months in a 30% bond 70% stock betterment goal.

Why did you choose that amount?
Totally arbitrary. It felt like we could recover from any falls within 6 months.

How long did it take you to get the amount into savings?
We have unfortunately had a series of emergencies come up that have depleted us down to around 2k >_<. Overall though about 2 years initially.


Right now we have a little over 6 months and that’s with maintaining spending habits. (Basically a Yeats worth if we execute our emergency budget plan).

We mainly did that because we hope to have our second kid in the next year and plan to use some of that to cover what HSA and insurance don’t plus have a cushion. Afterwards I think we’ll be dialing down to 3 full months.


I only felt comfortable with years’ worth of “liquid courage”. Probably why FI felt within reach…savers’ hazard of the good–no, great–kind. :wink:


I actually aim for a year since I am a teacher and hiring is cyclical by the school year, but I agree with the barebones budget and plan on unemployment, side hustles, etc for any extras.


All of those rules went out the window when I became self-employed, haha, so I’ll let you all continue to answer these :slight_smile: I just do my best to be cash-flow positive and some years I rock it and others I don’t!

(Though my wife once told me she wouldn’t be comfortable with anything less than $75,000 in the bank (no rhyme or reason!) and now we’re at $4,000 and she’s still married to me, so… )


This is an interesting mix! All of mine is just in a money market account… Might have to look into doing something like this to get a better return. But, I do like to look at my savings like insurance rather than investment.

Ok, I feel better that it took you a while to get yours built too! Did you have a hard time throwing money into it? I know I wasn’t as motivated as I was when paying off my debt. Weird, but true! Thanks for sharing!


That’s an awesome position to be in! After this month, we hope to be fully funded as well. (6 months barebones)

Have you thought about throwing the extra into the HSA so that it will be tax free once you get to delivery day?

Interesting that you will be going down to 3 months after having a 2nd kid. What will you be doing with the other half of it? Investing?


How long did it take you to build that up? Did you pause everything else while building up the year’s savings?


At least you are planning for it. Is that common in that field? Thanks for sharing!


Ha, as long as you’re moving in the right direction. At least she married you for “better or worse” right, LOL! I think as long as we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, we are ok with being in tight spots from time to time! Are you planning on building it back up intentionally sooner than later, or going to let investments and the business carry you?


Its not, but you don’t build an emergency fund for what’s common.

I also think of it as FU money as much as emergency fund, hence the full year.


Similar to you, we have 6 months of barebones expenses in our emergency fund. It’s been so long since we built it up that I don’t exactly remember, but it doesn’t feel like it took too incredibly long to build because our expenses are so low that it comes out to less than two months income. We’re currently saving for a replacement vehicle on top of our normal emergency fund so that will beef it up a bit until my car dies.


Nice! Yeah, we would have had ours built much sooner, but our cars didn’t last long enough to build up the replacement fund. That’s great if you can make it all the way to the full replacement without touching your emergency fund!


Crossing fingers…it’s a Corolla and those things last forever. But it’s already approaching 200,000 miles. I’d really like for it to last until I can get a new Tesla 3 but not sure I’ll be so lucky - it will take me 3 years or so to save that up in full which would get me over 250,000 miles. I’ll be sure to budget for maintenance in the meantime.


We ran both of our honda accords (1996 and 1992) to 240k miles each before we gave up on the repairs lol… Actually traded in the 96 accord when the trans needed to be repaired badly and still got $1,000 for it. Sounds like a great goal to have! I hear the Tesla’s are awesome but have never ridden in one.


Hmmm, 6-9 months for emergency fund (meaning liquid). We both are/were in high-tech and have gone through 2 big recessions in the sector where finding work at those times was very difficult and layoffs were happening every day. AND our city is getting to be fairly expensive (property taxes alone went up 4 digits this year)

TBH, it took us only about a year to save up that much, but that was back when we were DINKs. Now we are SIK.


Yeah, I guess weighing your career volatility is huge especially with going through the bubble that you have. That’s nuts about property taxes. I would say that we’ve been well insulated with our taxes only going up about $300 in the almost 7 years we’ve been here.

DINK would definitely have helped us get there faster too, but we had just finished off our debt over a year after our first was born and almost had the 2nd on the way at that point. We’re now at SIK, but were able to build it back up after purchasing a vehicle earlier this year with my income before I left to become a SAHD of our two girls.


We’ve had a tough time with our house lately, and debt payments haven’t helped either.

The speed that we can get money out of Betterment is really the reason we use it. I mean who doesn’t want their saftey net auto tax loss harvesting and growing faster than inflation.


Right now we have a little over 3 years of living expenses in cash.

Honestly, it makes us feel better retiring as early as we are (35 for me and 31 for my wife) to let our investments continue to grow over the first 3 (or more) years after calling it quits.

About 2.5 years, give or take. We both make decent salaries and we have about 75% of our combined income.