You don’t want to go to bed worried that a blown-out water heater could be your undoing. Yet only about 40 percent of Americans would be able to cover an unexpected $1,000 expense. “The point of money is to feel secure,” says Suze Orman, host of the podcast Women & Money. “The goal is to have eight months’ worth of living expenses in savings.” You can pace yourself, of course—Orman advises socking the money away over 12 to 64 months. “Stick to a plan that gets you to save a little more than what feels easy,” she says. Set up automatic deposits—right out of your paycheck—to an interest-yielding account. Name the account something like Save Yourself: Experts say personalizing an account with a name that calls out its purpose can motivate you to keep saving.
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