How and why you should start an emergency fund

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Most personal finance experts agree: The first thing you should do — after meeting basic needs — is to establish an emergency fund. Life is full of unexpected surprises, many of which cost money — a thief smashes the windshield of your car, your son gets sick, your water heater overflows. When people live paycheck to paycheck without any savings, they’re at the mercy of these small crises. Sometimes a tiny problem becomes a huge one because the victim wasn't prepared for possible trouble.

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