Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Build Your Emergency Fund

I love money – yep, I said it.

The thing is, even if you’re fortunate enough to make a lot of moola, there’s still one key element necessary to actually having it: saving. Over the years I’ve explored a lot of methods to amass the money I’ve earned. I’ve kept it in piggy banks. I’ve stashed it in socks in my dressers. I’ve given it to banks. However, my favorite means of holding on to my hard earned cash is Susus.

When I was a kid I’d hear my grandmother, aunts and their friends talk about all the things they planned to do once they got their Susu hand and instantly I wanted into this magical pot. Eventually, I learned there was no trick to getting your hand; you had to work for it. Still, the lure of communal savings had me sprung for several reasons.

First, it created a sense of accountability. Every week I knew I was saving for myself – and for others.

Second, there was no backing out. Whether I saw the perfect pair of shoes or wanted to spend extra cash on my girls’ night out, I knew certain money was off limits because I had to save.

Third, I loved getting my hand. Having a lump sum of money at my disposal was worth all of the hard work it took to save it.

With that in mind I’m launching this Susu. The goal is simply to amass a few extra dollars to start out – or build up – the highly coveted EMERGENCY FUND. You know, that untouchable stash of money all the savvy financial experts say we should have in case the worst happens (I.e.…job loss, illness, or unforeseen expenses). Like many of you I have already been the victim of every adult’s worst monetary fear: a layoff. I can say with the utmost honesty that my emergency fund – which included money I saved due to my participation in two Susus – helped shield me from too lean of times.

Many of you may already have an EF – kudos. But unless you’re a cash/money multimillionaire (which means rich in cash, not assets such as real estate and stocks) you still need to save. Experts suggest each person strive to save 6 to 8 months of expenses. Saving that much money may sound daunting, but it’s easier when we’re going to do it together.

I’m starting my EF Susu with friends and family. Everyone in the Susu is going to put in $50 per week for a minimum of 12 weeks. Most importantly, we’ll use this blog to share our thoughts, dreams and the sacrifices that surround this investment in our future. Our start date is February 12. I implore you to begin your own EF Susu on that same day. It’s too late to prepare for an emergency once it has already occurred. Get your money together, tell a few friends to join you and get ready to save.

S. Tia Brown
Lifestyle and Life Skills Expert

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