Ways to Build an Emergency Fund

What are Emergency Funds: How to Build an Emergency Fund?

Ever found yourself staring at an unexpected medical bill or a car repair estimate, your heart sinking as you ponder how you’re going to afford this? You're not alone. Financial hiccups can knock at your door without notice. What if you had a safety net to fall back on during such times? Enter the concept of an emergency fund.

This article will delve deep into what an emergency fund is, its importance, and how to build an emergency fund that serves your needs. We'll ensure that you'll understand the emergency fund meaning in all its nuances, answering the burning question, "Is this really for me?"

Why you need an emergency fund?

An emergency fund serves as a financial safeguard, providing you with the monetary cushion needed to handle unexpected events. This crucial cash reserve plays several essential roles in your financial planning, each serving as a pivotal component in how you handle unexpected financial challenges. Here's why:

Unexpected expenses

Often, life throws curveballs at you in the form of sudden costs, such as medical emergencies or urgent car repairs. An emergency fund helps you manage these expenses without having to resort to high-interest loans or credit card debt. By having this cushion, you essentially save yourself from the extra financial burden that comes with borrowed capital.

Job loss

In the event of sudden unemployment, your emergency fund can serve as a fiscal lifeboat. It offers you the financial flexibility to spend time looking for a job that is a good fit rather than hurriedly accepting the first opportunity that comes your way out of desperation. Having this fund enables you to maintain your standard of living for a limited period, acting as a bridge between jobs.

Peace of mind

Psychological well-being is an often underestimated aspect of financial stability. Knowing you have a financial backup allows you to make more rational decisions in emergencies. It frees you from the immediate worry of sourcing funds, allowing your mind the clarity to deal with the situation at hand strategically.

Preservation of long-term financial goals

Unexpected expenses can derail your financial planning. In the absence of an emergency fund, you may find yourself withdrawing from long-term investments or dipping into retirement savings. With a designated fund for emergencies, you preserve the integrity of your long-term financial plans, allowing your investments and savings to remain untouched and continue growing.

An emergency fund is not just an optional part of a financial portfolio but a crucial aspect of a comprehensive financial planning strategy. It offers a multi-faceted safety net that aids you in times of unexpected expenses, serves as a fallback during periods of job loss, ensures mental tranquillity, and secures your long-term financial commitments.

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Understanding the basics: Size and storage

Before you embark on the journey to building your emergency fund, it's crucial to understand how big it should be and where to keep it.

Size matter

A good rule of thumb is to save enough to cover three to six months' living expenses. So, if your monthly expense is Rs 50,000, aim for a fund of Rs 1,50,000 to 3,00,000.

Where to keep

While your money needs to be easily accessible, it should also be separate from your regular spending account. You can open a Kotak 811 digital bank account specifically for your emergency fund to ensure easy access and FD-like interest rates of up to 7% with the ActivMoney feature.

The steps to build your fund

Knowing how to build an emergency fund is a manageable task that demands a strategic approach fortified by a strong commitment to financial discipline. It's about creating a reliable buffer to insulate yourself from the unpredictable expenses that could otherwise wreak havoc on your financial life. Here are the critical steps to consider:

Start small

The first step towards creating an emergency fund is to commit to saving. Experts commonly recommend setting aside at least 10% of your monthly income. If you find this too challenging, start with a smaller percentage, like 5%, and work your way up as you become more comfortable. The key is consistency; even small amounts accumulate into significant sums over time.

Automate the savings

To ensure you stick to your commitment, consider automating the savings process. Many banks allow you to set up an automatic transfer from your salary account to a separate savings account designated for emergencies. Automation not only simplifies the savings process but also eradicates the human element of forgetfulness or procrastination.

Monitor and review

Building an emergency fund is not a 'set and forget' activity. Life changes, and so do your financial needs. Make it a habit to review your emergency fund periodically. Assess if it is sufficient to cover your living expenses for a duration you are comfortable with, typically 3 to 6 months. If your expenses have increased or your income has changed, adjust the size of your fund accordingly.

Choose the right financial instruments

While the primary function of an emergency fund is easy accessibility, it doesn't mean the money should be lying idle. Opt for a high-interest savings account or a fixed deposit, allowing quick and easy withdrawals. This way, your emergency fund will not only be accessible but also grow over time.

By following these steps, you lay down a solid financial foundation that ensures peace of mind and provides a safety net for unexpected events. It’s a proactive approach that safeguards your financial well-being, offering a buffer against life’s uncertainties.

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Mistakes to avoid

In your journey of creating an emergency fund, ensure you're not inadvertently making mistakes that could cost you later.

  • Too Much Too Soon: Being overly aggressive in saving can strain your finances, leaving you disheartened.
  • Wrong Investments: Keep the money in a liquid form. This is not the time to invest in volatile markets.
  • Frequent Dipping: An emergency fund is for emergencies, not for impromptu trips or shopping sprees.


Understanding the concept of an emergency fund and how to build one can be a life-changing financial strategy. When done right, it can protect you from unnecessary debt, give you peace of mind, and offer financial security when needed. Take the first step today and gift yourself the financial cushion you deserve.