Many investors forget a key planning step: you should have at least three to six months of emergency cash reserves. Maybe you've heard this before, but are your reserves adequate? This is a crucial step. Think about it: if your muffler falls off the car or the washing machine breaks down, where do you go for money if you don't have reserves? If you are like many people, you'd use a credit card or maybe worse, borrow from your long-term savings. Here are three ways to build your emergency fund:
Use direct deposit. Many people tell me they don't have the discipline to save. Most millionaires I know didn't rely on discipline to become wealthy. They build systems and make savings automatic. By using direct deposit you'll take money out of your hands and direct it safely to your reserve.
Review your paycheck deductions. Do you know how much is taken out of your check and where it goes? If not, examine your pay stub. If you received a huge tax refund ask your tax preparer about reducing your federal withholding. Sure, you'll receive a lower tax refund next year, but you'll have the funds now to direct deposit into savings.
Don't make your money too easy to access! Deposit into a savings account without ATM privileges rather than your checking account. Nothing stops a great savings plan more quickly than having money and an ATM card available.
By making your funds harder to access, it should still be there when you need the money most.