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Should you put your emergency fund toward your debt?

You have been saving up an emergency fund. It's taken you a few years, but you've slowly put money away and now you have $10,000 in the bank.

However, you also have $10,000 on your credit cards. You're wondering if it's better to have that emergency fund and your debt, or if you should just pay off everything that you owe on the cards. Then you wouldn't have any money in a jam, but you'd also be debt-free.

Naturally, every situation is different. You know your financial situation, your income and the amount of expenses you can handle.

That being said, while paying off what you owe is wise and can be helpful, most experts suggest finding a balance. Maybe pay off some of the debt, keep some in the fund and then look into other options to get rid of the rest of the debt.

It may also be a good time to think about your own spending habits. You feel good that you've been able to put aside $10,000, but are you actually living within your means if you've just been accumulating that same amount of debt on your cards?

You may be wondering what you should do if an emergency strikes. You have to use your $10,000 on medical bills. Now you have debt and no emergency fund.

When debt gets to be too much, it may be time to look into the other options you have, including bankruptcy. While it may not be right for everyone, it absolutely pays to know where you stand and what potential options are out there.

Source: CNN Money, "Should I use my savings to pay off my credit card debt?," Shannon Gupta, April 07, 2017

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At the law offices of William H. Oliver, Jr. & Associates in Toms River and Lakewood, New Jersey, we represent clients in Toms River, Neptune, Trenton, Middletown, Red Bank, Wall, Lakewood, Lakehurst, Manchester, Asbury Park, Old Bridge, Jamesburg, Barnegat, Forked River, Manahawkin, Ocean Township, Brick, Manasquan, Howell, Freehold, Hazlet, Bradley Beach, Brown Mills, Long Branch, Keansburg, Marlboro, Bayville, Beachwood, Whiting, Sayreville, South River, East Brunswick, Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County, Burlington County and Mercer County.