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Dave Says: Don't Deplete Your Emergency Savings

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Dear Dave,

Is there ever a time you should dip into emergency fund savings in order to pay off your home early?

Eric

Dear Eric,

The only time I would advise this is when your emergency fund is too big, and you have a very small amount left to pay on the house. Keep in mind that your emergency fund should be three to six months of expenses, not three to six months of income. Besides, paying off the house doesn’t fall into the category of an emergency. The fact that you have to pay for your house doesn’t catch anyone by surprise.

I understand it can be very tempting to throw a bunch of money at your house, get rid of the mortgage payments, and own it outright. But I wouldn’t drain my emergency fund to make it happen—even if it meant being completely debt-free sooner. Life happens, and the moment you write that big check and weaken your emergency fund, the central unit will go out, the roof will spring a leak, or you’ll have major repair issues with a vehicle.

When you do things like that, you’re just begging for Murphy to come visit. And that’s not my definition of financial peace!
 
—Dave

* Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 6 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.

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