49% Spend less than they earn 19% Spend more than they earn 32% Break even (earnings/ spending) The Bottom Line Percentage of Americans who Source: Federal Reserve, 2023 (2022 data, most current available) Be Prepared for Life’s Surprises A sudden job loss — even unexpected expenses like a major car repair and medical bill — could be devastating if you don’t have an adequate cash cushion. To avoid racking up debt during tough times, youmay want to keep a cash reserve fund that is large enough to cover living expenses for at least three to six months. Emergency funds typically should be held in a bank money market or savings account where the cash would be readily accessible when needed. A review of your spending habits may reveal some relatively painless ways to cut back, leaving a little more to sock away eachmonth. Here are two more ways to build up your emergency fund. • Divert a portion of salary. Determine howmuch income you can afford to set aside and transfer that amount automatically from your paycheck to a separate account. • Make themost of a windfall. Resolve to save your tax refund, annual bonus check, monetary gifts, and other unplanned income.