According to research by Edward Jones, only 26% of Canadians have savings in an emergency fund. That means a lot of people will be in trouble if a financial burden hits them. What does the Scripture have to say about saving? Let’s take a look.
Proverbs 6:6-8 (ESV) “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.”
Proverbs 21:20 (NIV) “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.”
Saving takes action
We see these two key verbs: gathers and stores. They are action words. It requires doing something. Saving for unexpected expenses is critical to being financially healthy.
Let’s face, most people will face a financial struggle at some point in their lives. It’s never convenient but if there is an emergency fund available then disaster can be avoided.
A personal example
I learned this lesson the hard way. After moving to a new area of Ontario with a new job and a new (to us) house we had spent our savings on a down payment. We still had some debt (a topic for another time) but things were looking pretty good. Until I lost my job.
This sent in a financial spiral. Because we had no emergency fund it didn’t take long until we were spending more than we were able to take in. It would take a few years to get out of this slump and I can tell you it wasn’t a pleasant time.
How much should you set aside for an emergency fund?
A good rule of thumb is 10% giving to the Lord, 10% saving/investing and 80% regular expenses. Of course none of these are set in stone and each situation is different but it’s a good general principle.
Giving to the Lord is the top priority (the first fruits of Proverbs 3:9). There’s no specific percentage required but 10% is a good start. Giving even more is ideal. Then put money aside for your emergency fund.
I personally would build enough of an emergency fund to cover 6-12 months of expenses. That way you are covered if anything major happens. Once that is done, use the fund to build a retirement fund so you don’t have to worry about finances when you are in your last years.
The rest is yours. Well, not really. The rest can be used for reasonable living costs and a mindset to give to the Lord even more as He leads. In reality everything you own belongs to the Lord (Psalm 80:11).
If you haven’t started an emergency fund I highly recommend starting one now. Put aside what you can to get it going and then keep adding to it at a rate of 10% per month. Don’t be tempted to spend it all on things that are not necessary.
Give to the Lord first. Give to the emergency fund second and the rest use on a reasonable lifestyle. And when all is said and done, give more. You will be blessed in return for it.