Prepare for the unexpected

4 steps to manage unexpected expenses

Emergencies happen

These four steps can help you weather the financial impacts

Step 1: Find ways to stretch your budget

With certain expenses, you may be able to request a payment plan.

Payment plans divide the total cost into smaller payments over time — sometimes with additional interest. Many different service providers offer such plans, so be sure to ask.

If a temporary boost to your spending power would help, you might also:

Step 2: Consider new borrowing options if necessary

In some cases, you may wish to apply for a new credit card or personal loan.

For credit cards, look for options that offer a 0% introductory APR and a competitive ongoing interest rate.

The Personal Loan Rate Checker tool for new personal loans can show Wells Fargo customers personalized rate and payment terms without affecting your credit score.

Credit cards may be a better option for smaller expenses that can be quickly repaid, while personal loans are generally better for larger expenses with a longer repayment period.

Borrowing can be a big undertaking, so remember to consider the decision carefully and make sure you can safely manage your new monthly payments.

Step 3: Be cautious about liquidating investments

Proceed with caution if you are considering liquidating or borrowing against investments, stocks, educational accounts, or retirement plans like a 401(k) or a 403(b).

Remember that it takes years for these investments to grow, and it may not be easy to rebuild these accounts if funds are withdrawn early.

Also, know that some types of investment accounts may have early-withdrawal penalties and unexpected taxes.

For any investment account, consult with a financial advisor or tax professional about any other impacts of removing your money early.

Step 4: Get your emergency savings ready for next time

Unexpected expenses could happen again, but you can prepare.

As a rule, you should aim to have six weeks of income saved for emergencies.

These savings can be used whenever you have an unexpected expense. Just be sure to replenish those savings anytime they’re used.

It’s okay if you haven’t started saving yet. Get started by slowly saving a paycheck’s worth of income and keep going.

My Money Map is a financial tool that can help you track spending, savings, and budgets in one convenient location.

View My Money Map

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You’re on your way to managing unexpected expenses. Up next:

Where to go for emergency funds

Explore tips for gaining access to funds when you need it the most.

Learn more >

Overcoming difficulty making payments

Discover how to get back on track if you’re struggling to make loan or credit card payments.

Learn more >

Saving for an emergency

While emergencies can’t always be avoided, having emergency savings can take some of the financial sting out of dealing with unexpected events.

Learn more >

We’re here for you

If you’re looking for options, a local banker could help.

1. Requires a Wells Fargo savings account.

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