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*Believe it or not, some people are an emergency away from financial chaos. That’s why building an emergency fund is the first step on your journey to financial security.

 Why? Because, Americans go through an average of 12 emergencies per year. You know those surprises you have to pay for right away. Like the busted tire or auto part replacement.

An emergency fund is a liquid account with three to 12 months of important living expenses, i.e. utilities, housing, food and fuel. If in the event you have to tap your funds please rid yourself of needless bills like cell phone, high speed internet, cable etc.

You want your money to be there when you need it. So put this money in a liquid (savings or money market) account. Doing so gives you immediate access to your money. It also saves your money from the market’s ups-and-downs.

Having an emergency fund saves you from heartache and financial pressures. You can’t replace the peace of knowing that despite what happens you can survive financially for the next year. It also replaces income in the event of job loss/

Start your emergency fund today! Here’s how.

Start saving at least 10 percent of your income. Have your human resources department directly deposit it into a savings account. After one year, you will have saved two and a half paychecks. Have a garage sell. Cut back on dining out and entertainment. Your tax refund can be a down payment to your emergency fund. Brown bagging your lunch you will save at least $100 per month (assuming you pay $5 per workday).

Not having an emergency fund leaves you vulnerable to credit cards or payday lenders who charge exploitative interest rates. Protect your assets and your future by building an emergency fund.

Zach Rinkins

Zach Rinkins

Zach Rinkins is the Associated Press award-winning host/producer of the Rinkins Report. Find out more at www.RinkinsReport.com or on Twitter @RinkinsReport