In building our money house, we have set a secure foundation by committing to living on less than we make. We have set up strong walls around to protect us from economic storms by ensuring our basic survival needs are taken care of. We almost have a complete money house!
One thing is missing though. Any building needs to have something that helps hold the walls together and protects against things falling down upon the house. Every building needs a roof.
In our money house, the roof is represented by what we call an Emergency Fund. An Emergency Fund is an amount of liquid cash, usually saved in a regular savings account, that is specifically set aside in case of a money emergency. Perhaps you lose your job, or the engine falls out of your car. If you are continuously living beyond your means, these will be scary prospects. Where will the money come from? How will you survive?
Having a strong Emergency Fund means you have plenty of money to see you through these rare, but difficult scenarios. To make a strong Emergency Fund, first calculate the amount of money you need to cover the expenses we discussed earlier this week. Then decide how many months of those expenses you need to have to say find a new job. A good rule of thumb is at least 3-6 months of these expenses.
Once you know how much you need to have saved, if you don't already have it, the next step is to start building that Emergency Fund. Set up a budget category specifically for putting money into an Emergency Fund. Start with what you can for now, even if it is only $50. It may take a very long time to build a strong roof over your money house though at that rate so I encourage you to make that contribution as large as you can to fully fund that Emergency Fund faster.
After you have your Emergency Fund, perhaps take a few steps back and look at your money house. Consider the foundation you set, walls you erected, and roof you have secured on top. I encourage you to admire the work you did to put it all together. Now, you can strike out to accomplish even greater financial goals, knowing you have a solid place to come home to.