Most Americans don’t have savings to cover a $1,000 emergency

“This reduces the likelihood that you’ll be tempted to move money, even just a little bit, to your checking account for today’s wants,” she said. Plus, it typically takes a few days for money to move between banks, and so you won’t be able to use the funds for an impulsive purchase.

Consider putting your savings in an online bank, which typically offer higher interest rates than brick-and-mortar ones.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the fact that you might not be able to save a lot, Lusardi said.

“One could put away a few dollars a day, or $10 a week, or an amount within reach,” she said, “that, done regularly, will bring in a small buffer that can prove very useful when things go sour.”

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