How much cash should you have in your emergency reserves?

Twenty-nine percent of Americans admit they keep no emergency savings and only 22 percent are prepared with at least six months of reserves, according to a new survey by Bankrate. However, a few simple steps could help you avoid severe financial risk.

According to CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger, reserves should total six to 12 months of one’s living expenses for those with jobs.

“I know that sounds higher than most people imagine, we used to say three to six months was the rule of thumb, but then this recession proved that it takes an awful long time to get a new job if you get laid off,” Schlesinger said Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.”

For retirees, Schlesinger said the equivalent of 12 to 24 months of living expenses in reserve is ideal to avoid dipping into savings.

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