How much should we put in emergency fund?
I know you talk about having an emergency fund of three to six months of expenses set aside. My husband and I are having a difficult time agreeing on exactly how much we should set aside for emergencies. How do you determine the exact amount?
The exact you amount you have in your emergency fund — whether it's three, four, five, or six months of expenses — is really more about peace of mind than anything else. Still, there are a few practical things to consider.
If you both have very stable jobs, you'd probably be okay saving three or four months of expenses. But if one of you is self-employed, makes most of their money through commissions, or only one of you works outside the home, it would make more sense to have five or six months of expenses set aside.
Of course, you can always compromise while leaving room for growth. There's nothing wrong starting out with three months of expenses saved, then adding more as time goes by. The main thing is that you're both in agreement, and you both feel safe with the amount of money in your emergency fund!
I'm new to investing, and recently I began putting money into growth stock mutual funds. On my last statement, it said that my investment had grown. Can you explain how it grew?
In most cases, you'll have anywhere from 90 to 200 different companies' stocks in a growth stock mutual fund. Over a period of time, some of them will go up and some will go down. If the overall effect is that the group is worth more now than it was before, you made money. The value of that overall group of stocks went up, in other words.
Okay, now pay close attention to what I'm about to say next. I love the fact that you're investing and thinking about the future. It shows wisdom and maturity to be able to grasp the need for a good financial plan now and in the years ahead. However, I'd advise you to not put any more money into that investment until you understand exactly what it is and how it works.
Talk to your financial adviser immediately, and let him or her know you're not clear on things. A quality investing professional has the heart of a teacher. Someone like this will take as much time as necessary to better explain your investment, your options, and answer other questions so you can become an informed investor and, over time, make your own wise investing decisions.
Never put money into something you don't fully understand!
• Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven bestselling books, including The Total Money Makeover. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 16 million listeners each week on 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.