Build Your Emergency Fund: How to Start and Why a Money Market Account Makes Sense

Emergency FundRegardless of age, economic status or geography, there’s one thing every household should have: an emergency fund. Even the sunniest days can turn stormy at a moment’s notice. Being prepared with an emergency fund is the best way to avoid debt, stress and even bankruptcy.

Some experts recommend that you save a full six months’ worth of expenses for your emergency fund, but if you’re like most people, that sounds like an awful lofty goal. Instead, the most important thing to do is to just start saving. Even if current savings account rates are low, don’t wait. The sooner you get started saving, the more prepared you’ll be if an emergency strikes.

High-yield savings account options vary, but a money market account may be the best choice for your emergency fund.

Although you may already have a high-yield savings account, it’s a good idea to open a separate account to start your emergency fund. Just as its name says, an emergency fund is for emergencies only – not because the newest smart phone is calling your name or there’s a great sale at the local department store – and keeping that money separate from your everyday accounts is critical.

A money market account is a smart place to keep your emergency fund. The money market will be separate from your regular checking and savings accounts but can be quickly accessed in case of an emergency. You can meet your savings goals faster by automatically scheduling deposits. Having a money market savings account  means the rates you will earn interest at should be a competitive rate. Here are other top reasons to stash your emergency fund in a money market account:

  • Compared to stocks, bonds or CDs, money market accounts can be accessed relatively easily if you need to dip into them.
  • FDIC insurance means your money is protected.
  • Money market rates and balances can be quickly monitored online.

You may be wondering why a credit card, retirement account or home equity loan isn’t enough to cover your emergency fund needs. These don’t tend to be the best choices for a couple of reasons:

  • You’ll pay interest and penalties on a credit card if you’re unable to pay it off.
  • Withdrawing retirement funds early carries stiff penalties.
  • Falling home prices might mean that home equity loan isn’t worth as much as you once thought it was.

By having a true emergency fund in a high-yield savings account like a money market account, you’ll avoid debt and frustration.

Find the right money market account for your emergency fund

Don’t be misled into thinking you’re immune from catastrophes. A job loss, significant medical expense, or need for major home repairs can happen at any time. Even if you’re trying to reduce your spending, setting aside money for an emergency fund is something you simply can’t afford not to do. Start building your emergency savings account today before it’s too late.

Sponsored content was created and provided by Citizens Financial Group.

photo by: 401(K) 2013

#LifeComesNext with John Hancock

The following was made possible by John Hancock.

John Hancock has put together a pretty neat video series focusing around the phrase “Life Comes Next”. The four videos below are all teasers that show the beginning of a situation. After the teaser, they ask you to visit to figure out what happens next in the videos.

The fun part is each video has three separate endings. It really makes you think about what could come next in your life tomorrow. You think you know what is coming, but in reality, anything could happen. Will you be prepared?

John Hancock also shares some interesting insights in each of the three endings to the four videos below. Some are statistics that make you think while others are just statements about situations that are involved in the videos. I think this was a great series that made me really think about what’s coming next in my life.

Below is a video widget that will show four different videos each time you reload the page. If you don’t see the widget, please refresh the page and it should appear. If you can’t watch the video this instant, I have a recap below.

In the first video. named“The Call”, a woman answers her cell phone and waits while she listens to the person who called her. She then says “Wait… What?!” and then the video ends.

The second video, called “The Ride”, shows a lady sitting in the front passenger seat of a car while her husband drives her somewhere. As the car comes to a stop she turns around and says to the person in the back seat “You ready?” as the video ends.

The third video, titled “The Knock”, a middle aged man walks up to a door and knocks. He states “We still need to talk about this”, opens the door and asks if he can come in as the video comes to an end.

In the last video, called “The Meeting”, a worker tells his colleague that he’ll be right back as he walks to a meeting. As he approaches a door, he knocks and asks “You wanted to see me?” and then the video ends.

What do you think is coming next in your life? Would you have predicted any of the endings to these videos? I had a couple figured out, but a couple threw me for a loop. It really makes you sit back and wonder if you’re really as prepared as you think you are for what’s coming next in your life!

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