What is the minimum you could live on?

Determining the minimum amount of money you could live on is important for determining your emergency fund and other financial goals. … Read More

What to do after an emergency has passed

Dealing with an emergency is challenging, but there is also an important process for getting back to normal after an emergency has passed. Mostly everyone has some experience of what it’s like to deal with an emergency. The pandemic has … Read MoreRead More

If you’re thinking about taking an early withdrawal from your 401(k)

New legislation eliminates penalties for some early withdrawals from your 401(k). However, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. UPDATE: This legislation has expired as of the end of 2020. Penalties will apply again for early 401k withdrawals. These … Read MoreRead More


What to do when an emergency isn’t unexpected

I’ve long said that you can gauge whether something is an emergency if the following three “U” words describe the situation: Unexpected Urgent Unavoidable I use this metric to be able to distinguish between actual emergencies and things that feel like … Read MoreRead More

Street collapse

Pay less now, or pay more later, your choice

There are lots of ways to spend more money than you have to. One of the easiest ways to do that is to buy something before you have the money for it. And there are oodles of ways to do … Read MoreRead More


Emergencies are the worst time for using debt

Not long after I got my drivers license, my mom gave me an Exxon card to carry around with me. “For emergencies, in case you run out of gas and are stranded.” I never used it. It’s not that I … Read MoreRead More

Bucket being filled

How to pay for non-emergencies

We know what an emergency is. It’s an incident that is both unexpected, urgent, and unavoidable (and unfortunate). When you have an emergency, you use money from your emergency fund. (And if you have debt, here’s how you can still … Read MoreRead More

U Boat

How to know when something is really an emergency

I’ve talked a lot about emergencies, those unfortunate aspects of life that you have to deal with sometimes, ones that often require a monetary outlay (dipping into your emergency fund, if you have one). I’ve made comments as to things … Read MoreRead More


What to do when you have an emergency

Emergencies happen. We can minimize our exposure to incidents as best we can, but there are some things that we can’t control. That’s why they’re emergencies. We can debate what counts as an emergency. For example, I don’t believe wear-and-tear … Read MoreRead More

Can you use your retirement account as your emergency fund?

  My high school algebra teacher always had some sagacious advice for our class. “Open the door before you walk through it.” That sort of thing. This always elicited a laugh from us, which I suppose was the point. Though … Read MoreRead More