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35 Ways to Jump-Start Your Emergency Savings

The Wall Street Journal asked the experts, including 2050 WPs' Lazetta Rainey Baxton, how to overcome the inability to build a rainy day fund.

The sad lack of emergency savings is a well-known and often-lamented condition for a huge number of people. And it’s never been more apparent—or more dangerous—than in our coronavirus-induced economic downturn.

According to a 2019 study by the Federal Reserve, roughly four in 10 Americans wouldn’t be able to come up with $400 in a financial emergency.

Part of the problem, of course, is on the income side: Too many people don’t make enough money to live on, let alone accumulate funds for a rainy day. But part of the problem is also that people don’t know how to save. They want to put aside money, but it just seems too daunting. They don’t even know where to start.

So we asked financial advisers, behavioral economists and other experts to help. We wanted to know some simple tactics—tricks, if you will—that people can use to jump-start their emergency-savings accounts.

It turns out, there are plenty, and we offer 35 of them here. Not every tactic will resonate with everybody. But we believe there are enough that even the most reluctant savers will find some approach that allows them to sleep better at night.

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