Life is full of lots of surprises. Some are nice; like an unexpected, “just because” gift, an out-of-the-blue call from an old friend or a handwritten, kind note from a loved one. But some surprises are not so nice. Some of life’s surprises can be very expensive, and if you’re on a budget, could completely derail your progress towards a mortgage in Atlanta.

Many Americans do not have an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses, and would have to take out a loan, borrow money from friends or family, charge expenses to their credit card, take out a cash advance on a credit card, or find some other way to come up with cash in the event of an emergency.

One of the reasons many people do not make an emergency fund a priority is simply because they think an emergency wouldn’t happen to them. However, there are many unforeseen situations that could arise that could wipe out any savings you do have and force you into debt. Here are three:

  • You Lose Your Job: The economy has forced many Americans into unemployment in recent years. You likely know several people who have been laid off, so there is certainly a possibility it could happen to you. There are other reasons you could face income loss, such as needing to take time off for mental health or maternity leave. While you are not working, you’ll need another source of income.
  • You Become Sick:  Your health (and the health of your dependents) isn’t guaranteed. If you suffered a medical emergency, insurance will likely only cover so much. You’ll still be responsible for a certain amount of expenses out of pocket.
  • You’re Forced to Move: Say you find that dream job, or the best job you can find, but it is one thousand miles away and the new employer will not cover relocation expenses. What if your landlord tells you that he plans to sell your rental in two months? Or what if your roommate finds a better place and is moving out? Moving is expensive; not only will you have to pay for movers/truck rental, you’ll miss work, you’ll have to put down deposits on your new place and utilities there, you’ll likely have to buy new things for your new set up, etc.

Experts recommend an emergency savings fund of three to six months (or longer) to cover yourself in case any of the above situations arise.

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