You know stuff happens, but are you ready for it?
According to a new Bankrate.com report, fewer people are prepared. The percentage of those without an emergency fund is at a six-year low. Twenty four percent of the more than 1,000 people, polled by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, said they had no money set aside for emergencies, which is down from 28 percent last year.
“Whether it be an emergency room trip, a home repair or a layoff, these unplanned events can wreak havoc on your bank account,” says Leslie Tayne, founder of the Tayne Law Group in Melville. “You want to be able to handle the unexpected efficiently. This is why emergency funds are essential.”
The dilemma is how to come up with an emergency fund of at least 3-6 months of living expenses. Here’s how.
- Start small
“Set small goals, a few dollars a day, or the equivalent of a cup of coffee. A client started with the spare change they had and threw it into jar when they came home. The dollars added up quickly, encouraging greater savings. The secret is to just start,” says Peter Creedon, a certified financial planner and CEO of Crystal Brook Advisors in Mt. Sinai.
- Make it simple
Include emergency savings in your budget: consider it a bill. “Set up an exclusive account with automatic contributions from payroll or from your checking account,” says Barbara Delaney, founder of StoneStreet Advisor Group in Pearl River, New York.
Discipline is key. Don’t view saving as optional, says Kurt Rossi, president of Independent Wealth Management in Wall, New Jersey. “This is a priority.”