A robust emergency fund is the most critical component for your investment portfolio, according to Suze Orman.

The personal finance guru, appearing Monday on CNBC’s “The Exchange,” said the coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the need to have money saved in the bank for unforeseen challenges. She experienced it recently in her own life, after having emergency surgery this summer to remove a tumor on her spinal cord.

“The most important thing in anybody’s personal financial portfolio — more than all the stocks and everything — is at least an eight-month emergency [fund], maybe even a year emergency fund,” Orman said.

“If you haven’t learned that after this past year of what we’ve been through, I don’t know. You have to be on another planet,” added The New York Times bestselling author.

In late March, three days after the S&P 500 hit its intraday low of the coronavirus era, Orman told CNBC that she saw a perfect buying opportunity. “There couldn’t be a better time to start investing [than] right now,” she said after the bell on March 26. “Fortunes are going to be made out of this time.”

The benchmark U.S. stock index has risen nearly 35% since its March 26 close.

While equity investors may have seen strong gains in recent months, Orman emphasized the need to be clear-eyed about the possibility of financial hardships springing up that require people to rely on their savings. It may be a health scare or the loss of a job. Indeed, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought significant economic and health challenges for millions of Americans.

The personal savings rate has climbed during the pandemic, reaching an all-time high of 33% in April. It has declined since, however, and was at about 14% in August. That is still higher than the 7.6%

Welcome to Thursday’s Overnight Health Care.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Overnight Health Care: Regeneron asks for emergency authorization of coronavirus treatment Trump received | McConnell says he hasn't visited White House in two months due to coronavirus | Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums rise 4 percent

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Overnight Health Care: Regeneron asks for emergency authorization of coronavirus treatment Trump received | McConnell says he hasn’t visited White House in two months due to coronavirus | Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums rise 4 percent

Regeneron filed for emergency authorization of its antibody COVID-19 treatment drug, just hours after President Trump claimed it basically cured him. Mitch McConnell hasn’t been to the White House in months, and a new analysis shows Americans’ job-based health care is continually getting more expensive.

We’ll start with Regeneron:

Regeneron asks for emergency authorization of coronavirus treatment Trump received

Biotech company Regeneron late Wednesday applied for emergency authorization for an experimental antibody treatment praised by President Trump.

“Subsequent to our discussions with regulatory authorities, we have submitted a request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for our REGN-COV2 investigational antibody combination for COVID-19,” the company said in a news release.

The move came just hours after the president praised the efficacy of the treatment in a short video message posted on Twitter.

“They gave me Regeneron, it’s called Regeneron,” Trump said in the five-minute video Wednesday afternoon. “It was unbelievable. I felt good immediately. I felt as good three days ago as I do now.”

Why it matters: Trump was taking several drugs for his illness, so it’s not clear which helped him feel better. He claimed he has the “emergency use authorization all set,” but the FDA is supposed to make decisions based on science and not demands from the president. Regeneron’s drug is still undergoing clinical trials, and while early results seem promising, the company has not released data to back up its claims.

Read more here.

McConnell says he hasn’t visited White

By Jamie McGeever

BRASILIA, Sept 29 (Reuters)Brazil’s government posted a primary budget deficit of 96.1 billion reais ($17 billion) in August, the Treasury said on Monday, as the coronavirus crisis continued to necessitate huge emergency spending.

The deficit, excluding interest payments, was slightly less than the 98.7 billion reais deficit economists in a Reuters poll had predicted. The shortfall, excluding interest payments, expanded in the first eight months of the year to 601.3 billion reais.

That compares with an accumulated deficit of 52.1 billion reais in the same period last year, Treasury said.

In the 12 months to August, the deficit totaled 647.8 billion reais, or 9% of gross domestic product, Treasury said. The government’s 2020 forecast is for a record-busting primary deficit of 871 billion reais, or 12.1% of GDP, assuming the economy shrinks this year by 4.7%.

Net revenues in August rose nearly 6% in real terms from the same month last year to 102.1 billion reais, mainly due to the partial reversal of certain tax deferrals, Treasury said.

Spending in August was 74% higher at 198.1 billion reais, Treasury said. This included 93 billion reais on crisis-fighting measures, including 45.3 billion on emergency transfers to millions of Brazil’s poorest people and 15 billion reais support for local governments.

Gross government debt may reach 94% of GDP this year, well above the average across emerging countries of 62% of GDP projected for this year, Treasury said.

“The crisis facing the country could turn into a promising moment for advancing reforms, focusing on fiscal consolidation and productivity in the economy,” Treasury said in a statement.

“Only the continuity of the reform agenda can maintain an economic environment that will attract investment, with low interest rates and inflation under control, allowing sustainable growth, which is fundamental ….

When you’re hit by a surprise expense or you lose your job, you can only stretch your emergency fund so far. The reality is that in a true crisis, your options are often less than ideal. That may mean you have to turn to your Roth IRA for non-retirement reasons.

A Roth IRA is an individual retirement account that you fund with after-tax dollars. You can then withdraw the money 100% tax-free once you’re age 59 1/2 and you’ve had the account for at least five years.

No matter how old you are or how recently you opened your Roth IRA, you can withdraw your contributions any time without paying taxes or penalties. But the withdrawal rules for your earnings are different. Tap them early, and you’ll owe income taxes plus a 10% penalty.

If you’re thinking of withdrawing money from your Roth IRA to survive an emergency, here are three ways to mitigate the damage.

A mature man sits in front of his computer, appearing frustrated.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Only withdraw your contributions

This is the easiest (and the most obvious) solution: Limit your withdrawal to the amount you’ve contributed, and you won’t pay taxes or a penalty. When you take money out of your Roth IRA, the IRS automatically considers it to be a withdrawal of your contributions. Only when you withdraw more than you’ve contributed do you have to worry about the taxes and penalty.

But that doesn’t mean you should take your contributions without seriously considering the alternatives. That’s money that won’t have time to compound and be a source of income for you in your retirement years.

If you’ve only had your Roth IRA for a couple of years, your account probably still consists mostly of your contributions. Limiting your withdrawal to your contributions could still drain most of your retirement savings.

2. Use