I’m 45, married, and we have a household income of around $85,000 a year. We have no debt, except for our home, and we owe about $70,000 on it. I recently stopped contributing to my 401(k) temporarily in an effort to help us build an emergency fund, but things are moving slowly. We also have $25,000 in stock. Should we cash out the stock, and use the money for an emergency fund?
Yes, that’s what I would do. Basically, your emergency fund is in stock right now. That’s not a good place to keep an emergency fund, because you never know when life will throw unexpected expenses your way or the stock market will go down.
I would cash out that stock as soon as possible. Put the money in a simple money market account—one with check writing privileges and no penalties for early withdrawals. You always want your emergency fund to be safe and easily accessible. Then, make sure you keep pushing forward and take care of Baby Step 4, investing for retirement; Baby Step 5, save money for college if you have young children; and Baby Step 6, pay off your home early.
Baby Step 7 means building wealth and giving like crazy. These things are easy once you have the other Baby Steps out of the way. Good question, Nate!
*Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books, including The Total Money Makeover. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 14 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.