How much in cash or emergency savings do you really need?! Find out with this simple 5 questions quiz.

General Recommendations

Cash and emergency savings guidelines generally recommend 6 – 12 months equivalents of expenses. Variations of this advice would be to use 6 – 12 months equivalent of income, or some may advocate as low as 3 months equivalent.

Life isn’t as straightforward as a text-book though. How much in cash and emergency savings you should hold is different for each individual’s needs. Below, we look at 5 important questions that will help you to make this important decision.


Quiz Instructions: For each question, select the closest answer and sum up your total score.


Q1: What stage in life are you in?

  • Dependent on parents/others: 1
  • Working part-time: 5
  • Working full-time: 10
  • Retired: 50

Extra Question: Do you have dependents (a.k.a. little monsters dependent children)?

  • Yes: 20
  • No: 10


Q2: Is your career and income stable?

  • Yes, I am a superstar!: 8
  • Mostly yes. I’m doing ok: 10
  • No, I live in fear of retrenchments, recessions, and evil bosses: 20


Q3: Do you have alternate cash sources?

Alternate cash sources: cash out from your home loan equity, insurance policies, FAMA bank, etc

  • Yes: 10
  • No: 15


Q4: How important is holding cash for you?

  • YES!! It is very important to hold cash [hokkien: ta-po gina bei sai bo lui]: 20
  • Yes it is important: 10
  • Who needs cash?! YOLO!!: 5


Q5: Are you waiting for investment opportunities?

  • Yes (playing with fingers intertwined), I am the type who likes to hold cash, ready to invest when markets collapse and there are bargains: 20
  • No, I invest regularly with the funds that I have: 10
  • No, I don’t invest because investing is dangerous: 20


How did you score?

The amount of cash that you need very much depends on a mixture of your stage in life, financial dependencies, the stability and availability of your income/cash sources, and your perceptions on holding cash whether it is to feel safe or to take advantage of future investment opportunities. Your total score will give you a general indicative level of emergency savings in terms of monthly expenses equivalent. This will allow you to take action to increase (or decrease) your cash and emergency savings.

Total ScoreCash/Emergency Savings
49 & below0.5 months
50 – 541 month
55 – 591.5 months