This Needs to Be the Top Financial Goal for Young Adults

A comprehensive guide to building financial stability

Ben Le Fort
13 min readJan 16, 2024


Photo by Mubariz Mehdizadeh on Unsplash

Before you remodel your kitchen, you must ensure your house is on a sound foundation.

The same is true with your finances; you need to do the tedious work of building a strong foundation before moving on to financial goals you’re likely more excited about, like paying down debt or investing.

In this edition of Dollars & Decades, I will provide a comprehensive overview of the importance of building an emergency fund and how to do it as quickly as possible — even if money is tight.

Your emergency fund is the foundation you build your financial house upon

First, let’s discuss why an emergency fund should be prioritized over debt repayment and investing.

Paying off debt — especially toxic consumer debt like credit cards — will probably feel more urgent to young adults than having a bit of cash set aside in an emergency fund.

But remember, the goal is not just to pay off your debt as quickly as possible — It’s to pay off your debt and ensure you never fall back into debt again.

That’s why building at least a modest emergency fund usually comes before throwing every penny you have into paying down debt.

Imagine you are in your 20s and have about $10,000 in credit card debt.

If you decide to skip building emergency savings and put all your focus into paying off that $10,000, paying off that much debt will likely take a long time, especially at a high interest rate.

The longer it takes to pay off debt, the more likely you will experience a financial emergency.

Maybe after 8-months of using all your disposable income to pay down half the debt, leaving you with $5,000.

Then, your car breaks down, and the mechanic tells you it will cost $2,500 to repair. You need your car for work and to make money, so you have to fix it. But, since you have no cash savings, you are forced to put that $2,500 back on your credit card, instantly undoing half of the work you’ve been doing for 8-straight months.



Ben Le Fort

I write about behavioral finance & evidence based investing. Want to work with me? e: Here's my Substack: