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How to Build an Emergency Fund Fast

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A high-yield savings account can help you grow your emergency fund.

Wong Sze Fei/IEM

Just as steadfast in the current economic challenges and uncertainties Inflation, capital market Volatility, and having some high-profile companies lay off, you may be looking to shore up your finances. For many people, this includes building an emergency savings fund.

While it may take time to reach your emergency savings fund goal—often around 3-6 months of living expenses—that doesn’t mean you have to sit back and hope everything works out. There are some proactive steps you can take to accelerate your savings. A high-yield savings account is an option worth pursuing. You can now explore interest rates and local offers online

How to Build an Emergency Fund Fast

Here are two reliable ways to start building an emergency fund

Open a high-yield savings account

The money you save in an emergency account may not earn you much, but it can by design.

“Your emergency savings is not an investment account,” says Nicole Burdick, an LPL-affiliated financial advisor and founder of Money Maven Financial. “It’s a lot like an insurance policy — a safety net in case of an emergency. It should be easy to access, fully liquid and immune to stock market volatility.”

But it’s a way to build a liquid emergency fund while still earning relatively high interest Open a high-yield savings account.

A high yield can be subjective, but in general, This account Has a higher interest rate than the average savings account. yet High Yield Savings Account Still generally allows for the same flexibility, perhaps with minor differences such as being online only versus having a physical branch, although this depends on the financial institution.

Although you still want to compare things like minimum deposits, fees and how long it takes to withdraw money from one High-yield savings account vs. a more traditional savings accountA high-yield account can potentially be a good place to build your savings quickly.

Explore your high-yield savings account options online now to see how much more you can earn

Open a certificate of deposit (CD) account

Another way to earn more interest is to quickly build an emergency savings fund Open a CD.

A Traditional bank or credit union CDs Allows you to deposit money for a fixed period of time to earn a fixed interest rate.

Compared to high-yield savings accounts, CDs often have higher interest rates, especially for long-term CDs (although sometimes long-term CDs have lower rates than short-term CDs based on interest rate assumptions). Also, since the rates are fixed, you know how much you can earn Open a CDWhereas a high-yield savings rate can vary over time.

But because withdrawing money from a CD before maturity often carries a penalty, they may not be your preferred place to store your emergency savings, because you never know when an emergency will strike. However, you can use techniques like creating a CD ladder, where you have CDs of different maturities. By staggered maturity dates, you can have money coming in at different times.

For example, if you buy a 12-month CD each month, one year from that point, you will have a fixed amount maturing each month. This can help in situations like job loss, where CD income can help offset some of your lost employment income.

That said, this can be a more complicated approach, and you may want to keep some emergency savings in a high-yield savings account for more liquidity.

Check your local CD offerings online now to see if this is the right option for you.

Other considerations

In addition to earning more money through interest, another way to keep your emergency fund balanced is to address the issues that may have triggered the need for emergency savings in the first place.

“Instead of just saving and hoping for the best, address the risks,” says Burdick.

For example, he advises “diversify your income so you don’t have all your eggs in one basket” as well as “build your network now if you need a job later.”

Taking these steps can both reduce emergency risk and potentially increase your income so you can save more.

If you have one Side rush To go along with your main employment, you can earn extra money to set aside, and if you lose your job, you’ll have both those savings and an alternative income stream to help keep you afloat. Or, networking can lead to a better-paying job before you end up in a job-loss situation.

Burdick also recommends addressing the expense side of the equation. “Avoid unnecessary debt and keep your mortgage manageable, even if it means taking on an extra roommate,” she says.

That said, you don’t have to be super frugal if you don’t want to; But being aware of your overhead can make building an emergency fund more manageable.

Make it a contest

Saving more money and making more money can both help you build an emergency fund faster, but that’s often easier said than done.

“Financial experts tend to focus on supply for goals like building an emergency savings fund, but what about motivation?” Burdick said. “Forget cutting lattes and dining out every night. If you really want to fill that emergency fund fast, make the goal a competition between you and your partner or you and a friend.”

He suggests strategies like selling items you no longer use, taking on side gigs, and cutting subscription services. And you can add a prize to the contest, like the winner gets a pass to cook for the week.

You probably won’t be able to set up a fully funded emergency savings account overnight, but you can set yourself up for success by following these types of steps. You never know when an emergency will strike, so the sooner you can get started, the better. That said, you’ll likely need some patience and persistence to reach your emergency savings goals.

Consider high-yield savings accounts and/or CDs to determine if they can help build an emergency fund quickly.

MoneyWatch: Managing Your Money

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