The importance of having money set aside is undeniable. In this article, I am not talking about a savings account per se, but instead, and emergency, or better yet, an "Adventure Fund." You can easily combine this adventure fund with your regular saving account, or keep it separate, depending on which method works for you and your family.
Establishing an adventure fund is easier than you might think. So often, clients are overwhelmed with the idea of setting aside money in addition to their savings, but once you’ve got it set up, you’ll be surprised at how simple the process is and so happy you did it.
How Much to Set Aside for Your Adventure Fund?
One of the trickiest aspects of an adventure fund is figuring out how much money you should put in. Most people have varying financial situations, so the amount that you’ll need to add to your adventure fund will differ from others.
A good rule for adding money to your adventure fund is to first consider the number of people that will be contributing. For example, if you’re single, you’ll want to add a minimum of three months' salary to your adventure fund. This rule would also apply to those that are married but only have one income.
If you’re married and you both work, then you’ll want to add a minimum of six months' salary to your adventure fund. Of course, feel free to keep the contributions going once you’ve reached your goal if it makes sense for you financially. After all, you can’t ever have too much in your adventure fund!
Calculating Your Donations
There is a simple calculation that I use to figure out how much of each paycheck should go into your adventure fund. Ideally, I like to see my clients put 10% of their net checks into their adventure fund. If you already have regular transfers set up, great, you’re off to a great start. Look at it like this, if your paycheck is for $2,482, then you’ll put $248 into your fund. Remember, you can keep adding once you reach the minimum amount.
Making Transfers to Your Fund
We live in a world of instant gratification. This can be both good and bad, but in the case of bank transfers, it’s a good thing. Whether you choose to set up your transfer to deposit into your savings automatically, or you do it yourself, it can take place in seconds.
There are some people that prefer to do the transfers themselves, but there is no harm in setting it up for an auto transfer, and your bank should make it easy for you to get started. If 10% of your paycheck is too much for you to give up at the moment, then start with what you can afford and build from there.
You can choose how often you transfer money to your emergency fund and you’ll also have complete control over the amount. If you have an investment account, you can choose to have your deposit made to that instead of your savings.
How the money gets into your adventure fund is completely up to you, and it doesn’t matter too much as long as it gets there, but an automatic bank transfer is the easiest way. Not only can you set it up and then forget about it, but auto transfers also ensure that you’ll make the deposit.
The Benefits of Having an Adventure Fund
There are always plenty of advantages to having an emergency, or adventure, fund. The money will be there for you when you need it most, regardless of what you need it for. Your adventure fund will provide a nice cushion if you come across unexpected expenses.
For example, we recently had a plumbing leak, complete with water dripping from the ceiling and onto our kitchen floor. The only way for them to locate the leak was to tear up the ceiling. Our homeowners’ insurance covers the cost to repair the ceiling, minus our deductible, but not the cost of repairing the leak. All in, we’re looking at about $5,000 out of pocket. Our adventure fund is the perfect resource for this unforeseen expense. While you can utilize it to have fun and make memories, it’s also there for emergencies like a leaky bathtub.
Spending Your Adventure Fund
It’s time! Your adventure fund is well over your target minimum! Good for you! This is an amazing accomplishment, and I hope you’re very proud of yourself! Now what to do with the “extra” money?
I recommend spending the overflow in your adventure fund on something memorable or unique, whether that be an extended vacation or a day trip experience. Take plenty of videos and pictures so you can take those memories with you forever. Get excited and let yourself look forward to this event! You could plan:
- A big family vacation to an exotic location
- A fun experience (horseback riding or cooking classes)
- Quick weekend trip to a see a special friend
- A special evening to the theatre or museum
- Donating time to a local charitable organization you support
It’s up to you where your adventure fund takes you, but the options are endless! The picture above is Derek and I in London for our 30th wedding anniversary, we travelled to Wales, Scotland & France and had the most amazing time!
A Tip from My Family to Yours
Finally, I’ll leave you with a tip that my mom gave me when I was little that has served me well over the years. Whatever amount you spend from your adventure fund, consider putting that same amount into a long-term savings account, such as a retirement or investment account.
For example, if your target adventure fund is $30,000 and it’s grown to $40,000 through your regular transfers to your savings account, you can begin to plan an adventure that costs $5,000. Next, you’ll match that $5,000 and put it into a savings account that you don’t touch.
This move will help you set goals, build savings, and have a ton of fun on this amazing journey of life!