I think one of the reasons DR has set the BEF so low

is that when folks are getting started, it’s a smaller number for them to wrap their brains around. I know when I went through FPU, the thought of arbitrarily setting aside $1000 was huge; at the very edges of what I thought was possible. It was a struggle to do so with the money I had available at the time. Later on as our understanding of the DR methods increased and matured, and our commitment to following those methods strengthened, then we had the tools to go make that amount bigger. It was, in every sense of the word, a set of baby steps. Had we been told up front that we’d need several thousand in savings for Murphy, and we had to have that step done before we could progress further, we would have stopped right there and written off the whole thing as “can’t be done.” So I think it’s deliberately small to start with. As folks come along in their “working the method”, they’ll figure out how big it really needs to be for their own circumstances, and act accordingly.