066 | The Emergency Fund…Is it a Bad Idea? | Big ERN The Reveal

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Big Ern reveals his identity, explains the different anxieties of retiring early and the opportunity costs of having an emergency fund.


What you’ll hear in today’s show:

  • Big Ern’s background story
  • Why he’s revealing his identity
  • Why he decided to be anonymous in the first place
  • How much his blog has to do with his job
  • The different anxieties he’s been through
  • The risk of retiring at the peak of the market
  • The idea of replacing fear with flexibility
  • The different retirement cohorts
  • Opportunity costs and emergency funds
  • Whether a home is a bad investment
  • How life is about nuance


Links from the show:


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4 thoughts on “066 | The Emergency Fund…Is it a Bad Idea? | Big ERN The Reveal

  1. Incredible episode!

    Two questions:

    1) Karsten/Big ERN, you said you were selling your condo, renting for a while, then planning to purchase home in a lower cost of living location in the future. Are you planning to pay the tax on the gains from the sale of your house and did you consider a 1031 exchange into a rental property investment in the meantime to avoid that tax?

    2) Related to the discussion on emergency funds, I wondered what your advice would be about the best place to store savings that will be used for the down payment on a house. Cash is one option, money market, bonds, or a bond-heavy bond/equity portfolio. Since the savings will be used in the next 1-2 years the upside of compounding is minimal but the downside risk of a correction seems significant. Your thoughts?

    Thank you!

    Mr. MEFL

    • Thanks, Mr. MEFL!
      1) We realized a capital gain of just under $500k, which is tax-free for a married couple filing jointly. So, no need for a 1031 exchange.
      2) That’s a tricky question and depends on your personal situation. If you know you need the money and you have zero flexibility about the specific amount at a specific time, no matter what, then using a CD or money market account might be all you can do. But if you’re more flexible, I list a few reasons and options for using more risky investment options in a home down payment fund: https://earlyretirementnow.com/2016/06/15/how-to-invest-a-house-down-payment-fund/

  2. Love your podcast. I did feel the Episode 47 with Kristy and Bryce from Millennial Revolution fell short of your standards in editorial rigor and intellectual honesty. I’m glad it’s being corrected here in this episode.

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