How to Identify Whether to Spend Your Emergency Fund

One of the first steps towards financial responsibility is establishing an emergency fund. Many financial advisers suggest putting aside a percentage of your monthly income until you’ve accrued an amount that matches three to six months of income for you. Once you have a fully-funded emergency account, you can continue contributing a much smaller monthly deduction from your paycheck if you’d like that number to grow. When you’ve established an emergency fund, you may be curious about the circumstances in which you’d use that fund. We’ve compiled just a few situations to help you identify when you may need to use some of your emergency fund. 

Use Your Emergency Fund for Unexpected Illnesses

Illness is one of the unplanned events that can be most devastating to people. In addition to the huge emotional burden of sickness, the financial concerns can also be overwhelming. While you’re still in good health, establish an emergency fund that can provide coverage for medical expenses. The U.S. carries 140 billion dollars in medical debt, and unpaid medical bills are the largest source of debt sent to collections agencies. Over half of all Americans carry medical debt. Among those in debt, 57% have over $1,000 in medical expenses. When illness hits your family, even a few thousand dollars can help to offset the initial costs that follow an unexpected diagnosis. Receiving unwanted medical news is difficult enough. Building up an emergency fund can help to give yourself financial confidence.

Use Your Emergency Fund if You Or a Family Member is Laid Off 

Being laid off from a job is something you can’t always control, but you can control how you plan for it. Your emergency fund should definitely be used in the event of a job loss. While you or your family member is looking for work, you’ll still need to pay rent or mortgage, purchase food, and pay for transportation, medicines, and other necessities. On average, the duration of unemployment lasts for 26 weeks. Being able to cover six months of expenses can provide confidence during an incredibly stressful time. An emergency fund can help preserve your assets as you or your family member finds employment elsewhere.

Use Your Emergency Fund on Unexpected Home or Vehicle Repairs 

When a house or vehicle needs repairing, the cost can stretch into thousands of dollars. Often, an emergency fund is the only way to cover these unexpected expenses. While it’s not the most fun way to spend money, necessary repairs can help preserve the structural integrity of a house or the reliability of a vehicle. Repair or replacement also may be needed in the case of catastrophic events such as weather emergencies or vehicle crashes. 

Use Your Emergency Fund on Necessary Travel Expenses 

Emergencies don’t just happen in your household. There’s also a chance that your extended family may need your help and support in case of unexpected difficulties. If your family lives out of town, you may need to line up transportation and lodging to stay near them if they experience an unexpected setback.

Let SageSpring Wealth Partners Help You Prepare for the Future 

While emergencies are always never welcome, there are concrete steps you can take today to prepare for them. Once you have a certain amount sequestered away in your emergency fund, it can remain there until you most need it. If you do not use the funds for everyday expenses, your emergency fund can help to serve as a necessary safety net in uncertain times. If you have questions about other ways to financially prepare for the future, reach out to SageSpring financial advisor to set up a consultation.

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Jeffrey T. Dobyns


President, SageSpring | Financial Advisor, RJFS 

Jeffrey T. Dobyns

President, SageSpring | Financial Advisor, RJFS

Beyond crunching numbers and investment strategies, at SageSpring, we’re about building relationships. When you encounter Founder & President of SageSpring, Jeff Dobyns, it’s easy to understand why this is at the very heart of who we are as a firm. You won’t find stuffy formalities with Jeff; instead, you can expect to find him sharing a warm smile, communicating a compelling vision, or patiently untangling life’s complex challenges with clients. He believes in truly getting to know clients, understanding their aspirations and priorities, and navigating their financial plans with a tailored, comprehensive approach. Our team members have often been caught taking notes on Jeff’s effortless relationship skills from a distance, and we admire them for striving to learn from one of the best. 

Jeff’s financial expertise and wisdom are the perfect match to his innate people skills. Jeff holds the prestigious CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification, Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®), and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChLU®) designations, and has held executive positions with financial planning firms for more than two decades. 

His dedication extends beyond the office to the boardroom and the local community, where Jeff is passionate about giving back. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Men of Valor, a prison ministry and mentoring program. Jeff also serves on the board of Send Musicians to Prison, which shares hope, healing and restoration with the imprisoned through musicians & artists. Jeff actively supports other initiatives in the community by sitting on the board of The Signatry of Middle Tennessee and the Halftime Institute of Nashville. 

Witnessing his four children, Gracyn, Hunter, Tanner, and Logan, excel on the field is almost just as rewarding, if not more, than celebrating the victories of seeing his clients overcome obstacles and build wealth. Spending weekends boating on the lake, hiking mountain trails, and fishing with his family are the moments Jeff cherishes most. It’s this grounded perspective that reveals the true meaning of wealth for Jeff: not just numbers on a page, but the freedom to create experiences that enrich your life and the lives of those you love. When you choose the Dobyns McMillin Wealth Team, you choose more than financial expertise. You choose a partner who champions your dreams, celebrates your victories, and walks besides you on the path to achieving your unique goals.

**Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.