Paying Penalties with Emergency Fund


Dear Dave,

Recently, I got a speeding ticket. I’m also following your plan, so I was wondering if a speeding ticket is a good reason to dip into my emergency fund. — Ariel


Dear Ariel,

Well, it depends. Certainly you have to pay the ticket. In most states you could lose your driver’s license for not paying a speeding ticket. You’d have a real emergency then, wouldn’t you?

I would advise looking at the situation this way: what is the amount of the ticket in relation to your income and overall financial health? If the ticket is $100 and you make $200,000 a year, then stop worrying and pay the ticket. But if you got slapped with a $300 ticket and you only make $20,000 a year, then that could be an emergency.

If you can cash flow it out of your budget, then leave the emergency fund alone. If not, then dip in for just enough to pay the fine and replace the amount as quickly as possible. I mean, you’ve got to get it paid, right?

That’s an interesting question, Ariel. I’m glad you’re working to get control of your money. Just remember to slow down a little when you’re behind the wheel! — Dave


About Author

Dave Ramsey

America's trusted voice on money and business, Dave Ramsey is a personal money-management expert and extremely popular national radio personality. His four New York Times best-selling books—Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover, and EntreLeadership—have sold more than 7 million copies combined. His latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches, debuted at number one on the New York Times best-selling list.

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