These are my personal views
Do note at present few banks offer Interest rate as high as 6% on SB account. Hence it is ok to park the money in SB account as well. Open a separate bank account for this purpose and do not mix your normal banking transactions through this in case you opt for this option. The entire money will be in SB account and you could use it as and when an emergency occur.
However, I will keep the entire money in Bank FD as Interest rate are locked for longer period. Any bank which offers the highest rate will be ok as the deposit is covered by Insurance upto 5 lacks. This does not mean that I will put it in a unknown or very little known bank irrespective of the deposit cover.
Once the FD is placed, I will ask the bank to grant me an Overdraft against the deposit. This will ensure that liquidity issue is covered. Do check that the bank offers online banking etc…
It is pointless to close the deposit and lose accrued interest on deposit in case of emergency wherein the money can be replenished within one or max two months. Hence the OD facility will be of help. No interest will be charged as long as you do not take the money and there will be no processing fees as well. Interest is calcuated on the daily balance. However do note that the FD will be under lien.
If I want to be extremely conservative, I will do the following:-
Open FD of 250,000
Open FD of 100,000
Open FD of 150,000
Against the FD of 250,000 I will ask for the OD. The remaining FD will be without any OD. In case of an emergency and if you think you will not be able to replenish the money, then better to close these 100,000 FD and use it instead of paying Interest on OD.
In case of an emergency, the first choice of payment will be using your credit card if the specific emergency can be met by credit card. This will give you 45 days of free credit based on the date of the emergency (Again I am assuming that you are disciplined and settling the entire debt on due date, if not do not even think of this option).
Few points to note when you place funds in FD.
- You should be able to open FD online and close FD online. In few banks if you ask the bank to open the FD, you will have to visit the branch to close the FD.
- The account should be in a single name. FD can be opened online but if the account and FD is in joint names you cannot close the FD online. It is critical that you should be able to close the FD online as emergency can happen anytime.
- In case you are asking for OD against FD, try to negotiate for 1% over FD rate as interest. The standard is to charge you 2% over FD rate. The rational, zero risk for the bank as it is fully cash covered. Most banks do oblige.
- If the bank gives the OD on your regular savings account, it is fine, few banks will open a separate OD account. In such case ask if they can give you an ATM as well. Most of the banks will grant the OD on your normal savings account.
In my view, people do not take emergencies very seriously and hence it is critical that if you do place the deposit, you should not use it for any other purpose other than emergency. I have seen people dipping into this pool when there is massive correction in stock market or for trading.
Also remember, the emergency fund which you have created is for YOU and your family ONLY. Again seen people giving out money from this emergency fund to friends and relatives and then running after them to repay the same. The core purpose of creating this fund is lost. It is perfectly ok to be selfish in this front.
Disclaimer: These are my personal views and fully believe that I will not go after incremental returns by investing in bonds, etc. I will choose FD. I am ok even to pay taxes. After all you pay taxes on the interest earned.