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Emergency Fund

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When to Use Your Emergency Fund

You never know when an unplanned financially disaster may strike. Having money set aside for the hard times means you can worry less during the good times. What’s an Emergency Fund? An emergency fund is a savings account set aside to cover your expenses in the event of a personal financial dilemma. Your emergency fund offers a safety net and helps reduce the need to accrue interest debt through credit cards or loans. How Much Should You Have in Your Emergency Fund? Financial experts have varying views on how much you should squirrel away in case of an emergency. Some financial experts suggest three to six months. Suze Orman recommends eight to 12 months of living expenses to feel truly secure. The long and short, save as much as you can. Even a $1,000 can go a long way in bailing you out during a financial crisis. What Counts as…

Money Moves to Help Millennials Save

A 2016 survey of 7,000 Americans found that 34 percent have nothing saved. When it comes to money and millennials in particular, though, things get a little confusing. While one study found a small percentage of millennials have already stashed away $100,000, another found 46 percent of young millennials have nothing saved. If you’re in the “no savings” camp, how do you get started when it feels like you don’t have a penny to spare? Set a Small Goal First things first. All savers have to start somewhere and sometime. It is all too easy to quit before you even start. If you are asking yourself how to start saving, congratulate yourself for taking the first step. Then create a small goal that will set you up for early success. If you saved no money last week, set a goal to put aside $5 or $10 this week. Set up…

10 Money Tips for New Grads

If you’re a new grad who’s feeling a little exhilarated, a little worn out and a little terrified about finding a job that pays the bills … take a deep breath. The great thing about this stage of your life is that while you have room to take your time, make mistakes and figure out what you want, you are also young enough to do a few key things right that will set you ahead of the crowd for years to come. Especially when it comes to money. Looking for financial advice after graduation? Here are ten tips to keep in mind: Follow Your Dreams … but Don’t Wait Around for Your Dream Job You’re smart, enthusiastic and ready to change the world – surely an employer will see that and offer you a job that pays well, has lots of vacation time and lets you make big decisions. Right?…

6 Things That Can Derail Your Savings and How to Get Back on Track

Finding extra money to save at the end of each month can be difficult. Mortgage, car payments, insurance, school loans and groceries, the list of budgeted expenses goes on. Add in unexpected expenses that are bound to pop-up and, at the end of the month, your paycheck is spoken for. While many of us have good intentions when it comes to saving, roadblocks often impede the way to savings success. Here are six things that can derail your savings and tips to get back on track and achieve your savings goals. Not Having a Clear Savings Plan and Budget Without a clear vision of your financial goals and a roadmap for achieving them, it’s easy to slip and let spending take the place of saving. Knowing what your saving for, whether it be retirement or a vacation, and how much you’ll need, helps you keep your eye on the prize.…

What Should You Do With an Extra $1,000?

So you find yourself with an unexpected, unbudgeted $1,000 sitting in your checking account. You don’t have to think about how that nice sum got there, but you do need to figure out what to do with it. It might be tempting to use the money on a series of small luxuries, but it wouldn’t be smart. And beyond fleeting glimpses of instant gratification, it wouldn’t be very satisfying. Make the most of your windfall by planning for it immediately. Assess your current financial and material needs, your goals for the immediate and far future, and decide where your $1,000 could best be spent or saved. Not sure where to start? Here are some smart ways to spend an extra $1,000: Begin or Bulk Up an Emergency Savings Fund While most experts recommend you keep around six months’ worth of living expenses in an easily-accessible savings account for emergencies, surveys…

Real-World Options to Pay Down Debt

Debt—it seems to sink its claws into just about everyone at some point. From student loans and credit cards to car loans and mortgages, eight out of ten Americans have debt of some sort according to a July 2015 study from The Pew Charitable Trusts. Still, becoming debt free isn’t impossible. In fantasy land, you might inherit a cool million from a long lost aunt thrice removed and voila, you have the windfall you need to eliminate your debts. But for those of us facing reality, fear not. These real-world steps will work for anyone who is on a journey to pay down outstanding balances. Understand Your Numbers Total up your debt Before you can begin to slay your debt, it is essential to know exactly where you stand. While you are running the numbers, make sure you are clear on what debt actually is. Anything you don’t own outright…

Personal Finance Quiz: 9 Questions to Ask Yourself

How well do you know your money? Odds are you are more familiar with your finances than anyone else in the world. If that isn’t the case, it’s time to make a change. Find out if you know enough about your money with this quick personal finance quiz. Are You Saving Enough for Retirement? How much do you need save for retirement? Are you on track to reach that target? Many Americans never calculate how much they need for retirement. The average baby boomer is destined to see a dramatic lifestyle change after paychecks stop in retirement. Even with social security and the increasingly rare pension, most Americans are far from saving what they need for retirement. SmartAsset suggests the average retiree should have between nine and 11 times their annual salary saved for retirement. It doesn’t matter if you are five years from retirement or 50, make sure you are…

6 Tips for Building an Emergency Fund

Like it or not, emergency expenses happen. Your home might need an unexpected repair. You, a family member or a pet could be the victim of an accident or suddenly develop a chronic medical condition. And don’t forget about “happy accidents” like an unexpected pregnancy. If you found yourself face-to-face with any of these emergency expenses, would you be able to cover them? Alarmingly, the majority of US households would likely come up short. According to Bankrate.com’s latest Money Pulse survey, 63 percent of Americans say they may not have enough money to cover an unexpected expense like $500 car repair or a thousand-dollar hospital bill. That’s why creating – and maintaining – an emergency fund is so crucial. In addition to providing you with a financial safety net in the event of a major unexpected expense, an emergency fund prevents you from having to rely on credit cards and…

5 Ways to Prepare Financially for a New Baby

If you’re an expecting parent, you’ve probably done your homework. Between Lamaze classes, parenting blogs and the latest edition of Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care, chances are you know enough about childbirth to get a job in a hospital. But there’s another type of preparation that’s equally important: prepare financially for a new baby. When you consider the US Department of Agriculture’s statistic that a child will cost more than $245,000 by the time he or she is ready to go to college, it’s easy to panic. But first things first. Here are five sensible ways to prepare your finances for the stork comes. Get a Handle on Your Health Insurance Even with health insurance, having a baby is expensive. That’s why it pays to find out now what is and isn’t covered by your insurance provider when it comes to prenatal care as well as labor and delivery.…