Emergency Funds and the Bible

The Parable of the Ten Virgins
25 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

1 in 5 Americans do not have an emergency savings fund. Only 44% of Americans can pay an emergency expense of $1,000 or more from their savings. Only 63% would cover a $400 expense completely using cash or its equivalent. High Inflation and rising interest rates are the main reason people are not saving. The standard for having an emergency fund is equivalent to 3-6 months of expenses, but this can vary based on the person. However, 2 in 3 Americans would be skeptical that they could cover a single month of immediate living expenses if they were to lose their primary source of income.

47% of Baby Boomers say they have enough emergency savings for 6 months of expenses or more, 26% of Gen X, 21% of Millennials, and 13% of Gen Z said the same. More than half of Americans are uncomfortable with their emergency savings. This too differs by generation. An emergency fund is important for your financial health because it releases some of the stress and burden if something were to happen. Job loss, medical or dental bills, unexpected home repairs or auto are all feasible. This fund should be easily accessible. Personal savings account is one option, money markets, or high yield savings accounts are other options on where to store this money. Keeping it safe, secure, and liquid.

In the parable of the ten virgins, or commonly referred to as bridesmaids, a traditional ceremony is taking place where the ten women in the bridal party would wait with lamps for the groom. As they wait, they fall asleep. They are not banned from the party because of their sleep. The foolish are excluded because they were not prepared. The foolish ones of them ask the others to borrow some oil, but the wise ones know that there is only enough for themselves. The five without oil go to the market, and as a result of their unpreparedness, they are not allowed into the wedding. “Keep watch because you never know the day or the hour.” While this is an analogy for the coming of Christ, it can also apply to our everyday lives. Keeping their wick trimmed and oil full equates to their spiritual health. We are responsible for our own lamps.

Gillespie, Lane. “Bankrate’s Annual Emergency Fund Report.” Bankrate, www.bankrate.com/banking/savings/emergency-savings-report/#pay-for-sudden. Accessed 9 Feb. 2024.

“Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2022 – May 2023.” The Fed – Expenses, www.federalreserve.gov/publications/2023-economic-well-being-of-us-households-in-2022-expenses.htm. Accessed 9 Feb. 2024.

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