Emergency Funds: How to Get Started

There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for how much you’ll need.

(Image credit: Illustration by Cat Finnie)

Emergency funds typically fall into one of two broad categories. One is set up to handle unexpected expenses—say, when your car breaks down or your water heater springs a leak. The other is there to provide income if you lose your job. You should have both types, but when it comes to keeping a roof over your head, the second is the most important.

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Emma Patch
Staff Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Emma Patch joined Kiplinger in 2020. She previously interned for Kiplinger's Retirement Report and before that, for a boutique investment firm in New York City. She served as editor-at-large and features editor for Middlebury College's student newspaper, The Campus. She specializes in travel, student debt and a number of other personal finance topics. Born in London, Emma grew up in Connecticut and now lives in Washington, D.C.