Should You Ever Invest Your Emergency Fund?

By Pam O’Brien · August 29, 2023 · 6 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

Should You Ever Invest Your Emergency Fund?

An emergency fund can help you cover sudden and unexpected expenses. If your company downsizes, or you get in a car accident that isn’t covered by insurance, having money set aside to help pay the bills could keep costs from spiraling out of control.

But how big of an emergency fund do you need and does it need to be in liquid assets like cash, or should you invest your emergency fund?

Read on to learn more about whether investing an emergency fund is a smart idea.

Should You Invest Your Emergency Fund?

The default answer, historically, has been no when it comes to investing an emergency fund, because of the potential risk and the likelihood that you won’t be able to access it when you need it. But, increasingly, investing your emergency fund is becoming a viable option — particularly if your situation makes you less reliant on cash at hand.

So, should you invest your emergency fund? There are a number of reasons you might want to consider doing so. For instance, the returns can add up and if you wait, you could be leaving money on the table.

Here are some of the pros and cons to investing an emergency fund:

The Pros of Investing an Emergency Fund

You Could Make a Higher Return on Your Money

The number-one reason to park your emergency fund in an investment account is the potential for a higher return on your money than in a savings account.

For instance, you could put your emergency fund into a money market account or high-yield bank account that will earn you a higher rate of interest (currently more than 4% APY) than a standard bank account.

You Can Still Access Your Funds Easily

There are a number of investment options, such as a money market account, or high-yield bank account ,or even a Roth IRA, that allow you to withdraw your money if you need it.

For instance, with a Roth IRA, you can withdraw contributions at any time without paying a penalty, unlike a traditional IRA that may impose a 10% penalty on early withdrawals.

The Cons of Investing an Emergency Fund

It Might Take You Longer to Get Your Money

You might have to go through extra steps to get your money. Even if you temporarily put an emergency expense on a credit card and then pull money out of a money market account to pay off the credit card when it’s due, that’s still less accessible than simply having the money in your bank account.

You Could Risk Losing Money

If you invest your money — whether it’s in a mutual fund or pick and choose your own stocks — it always carries some risk. The market can dip at any given point, which can be a problem if your investments dip at the same time you need to tap into them.

If you’re considering investing your emergency fund, then it can be helpful to understand your options and the basics of investing.

This chart gives you a side-by-side comparison of the pros and cons of investing an emergency fund.



You could earn a higher return of your money by investing it. You risk losing your money if the stock market drops.
The money can be easily accessible if you invest in a money market account or high-yield savings account. It can take you longer to get your money and may involve an extra step or two.

💡 Quick Tip: All investments come with some degree of risk — and some are riskier than others. Before investing online, decide on your investment goals and how much risk you want to take.

3 Options for Investing An Emergency Fund

Should I invest my emergency fund? This is a question you’ll need to consider carefully. Be sure to weigh the benefits and drawbacks.

Part of the decision to invest your emergency fund will be finding an appropriate account. There are a few options that could work, depending on your financial situation.

High-yield savings account

These accounts come with a higher APY — generally, more than 4% right now — than traditional bank accounts. You can easily access your money from an online high-yield savings account, just as with any other bank account.

Money Market Account

Money market accounts earn interest and are essentially a combination of a savings account and a checking account. They tend to be low risk and may allow you to access your money by writing a check or using a debit card.

Roth IRA

With a Roth IRA, you can contribute money (up to $6,500 in 2023) and withdraw your contributions (but not your earnings) without penalty. The contributions you make to an IRA are taxable.

And remember, the general rule of thumb when it comes to investing is, the higher the investment risk, the higher the potential for return — but a risky investment could be even riskier if you intend to use the money as an emergency fund.

💡 Quick Tip: Did you know that you must choose the investments in your IRA? Once you open a new IRA and start saving, you get to decide which mutual funds, ETFs, or other investments you want — it’s totally up to you.

Investing With SoFi

If you don’t want to invest your entire emergency fund, you could consider saving a portion in a traditional savings account and investing another allotted amount. That way, you could rely on cash for immediate emergencies and have a backup of invested funds you can rely on in the event that something major, and more expensive, happens.

What’s most important is that you have a plan to deal with emergencies — because like it or not, eventually, you’ll likely have some unexpected event or cost that you need to cover.

Ready to invest in your goals? It’s easy to get started when you open an investment account with SoFi Invest. You can invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, alternative funds, and more. SoFi doesn’t charge commissions, but other fees apply (full fee disclosure here).

Invest with as little as $5 with a SoFi Active Investing account.

Choose how you want to invest.

Ready to

Learn more →

Want to take a
hands-off role?

Learn more →


Is it wise to invest your emergency fund?

Whether to invest your emergency fund or not is a personal decision that you should consider carefully, since investments can be risky. One thing to keep in mind: Your funds should be easily accessible so that you can tap into them quickly if an emergency happens. Think about possible investments that offer liquidity, such as high-yield bank accounts and money market funds.

How much of my emergency fund should I invest?

Experts advise having at least three to six months’ worth of expenses on hand where you can access them easily, such as in a bank account. Anything more than that you may want to consider investing. But investing is a personal choice and one you should consider carefully, and it will also depend on your specific financial situation.

What should an emergency fund not be used for?

It’s best to use an emergency fund for urgent or sudden expenses that are necessary, such as emergency car or home repairs. You should not use an emergency fund for frivolous expenses or things you simply want, like a fancy vacation or new clothes.

SoFi Invest®
SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA ( Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.


TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender