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How Much Do Emergencies Cost?

Can You Come Up With $2,000 in 30 Days?

Do you think you're financially ready enough to suddenly face a $2,000 bill? According to research by the National Bureau of Economic Research, almost half of the people polled say they can't come up with funds to pay off an unexpected $2,000 expense. The amount is an estimate of real-life emergencies like "an unanticipated major car repair, a large copayment on a medical expense, legal expenses, or a home repair." These are all emergencies that can actually happen, so it's always good to have financial padding to get us through the unexpected expenses.

People in the study who say they will be able to come up with the money use various methods such as taking money from their savings, borrowing from friends and family, selling stuff they own, or taking out loans and charging it on credit cards. Do you think you'll be able to come up with the cash?

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brilliance13 brilliance13 5 years
I think Suzie O says 8 months of living expenses saved up... but yes I'd probably need to dig into that
lilkimbo lilkimbo 5 years
This is a good question. I, too, have over that in savings. I sometimes feel like I live paycheck-to-paycheck because I put too much in savings and retirement and don't allot myself a ton of extra "spending money." But, the money's always there and easy to access (at least the money in savings, it's obviously more difficult to access the money in retirement) if I really need it!
limelindsey limelindsey 5 years
I could do it. I've got over that in my savings, but I wouldn't empty it out (that would just make me too nervous!). I'd sell things as well, and maybe charge some of it. I've got a few cards that have high credit limits and low balances that could handle a larger charge if necessary. Good question!
RoaringSilence RoaringSilence 5 years
Absolutely. I always always always have a lot of money set aside that I don't touch. I think the general recommendation is two months' worth of living expenses, right? I know so many people living paycheck to paycheck, and they're all completely ridiculous. I feel horrible telling them that every time, especially when they're super generous the day they get paid and buy stuff for their friends and so on. And then a week later they can't even have a beer somewhere because "they haven't gotten paid yet." UGH. Grow up! You don't need to constantly upgrade everything you own. I'm not surprised the readers of this page are more savvy than that, though.
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