Emergency savings: We all need it. How to build it starting now

Saving up for a vacation is one thing, but for a new muffler or a broken elbow? That’s no fun.

Maybe that’s why Americans just aren’t doing it. In fact, one in three American families don’t have any savings, including 10% of those who earn more than $100,000 a year, according to a survey of 7,845 people by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

A medical emergency or a job loss could push many households to the financial brink. When faced with financial shock, including car bills, home repairs or medical emergencies, 41% said they don’t have enough saved to pay a $2,000 bill.

Without a fund that they can immediately tap, half of households said they would use credit cards and more than a third would borrow money to bail themselves out. But that comes at a cost.

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