(NBC News) A busted water pipe, a car repair, losing a job...all are reasons to have a stash of emergency cash on hand, but few of us do.
A recent Bankrate.com survey found most Americans don't have enough savings to cover a $1,000 emergency. Experts recommend you keep much more on hand.
"You want to have enough to cover six months worth of expenses, ideally, in your emergency fund," says Bankrate.com senior financial analyst Greg McBride.
Another survey from SmartAboutMoney.org found nine out of ten will likely face what the National Endowment for Financial Education calls an "income shock" during their careers, a drop in income of ten percent or more.
Endowment President Ted Beck says that's another reason to have an emergency fund. That should be easier to start now, because take home pay increases due to tax cuts take effect next month.
"So suddenly you are looking at an increase of $1,000 or $2,000 over the course of a year, if you don't have the emergency account now is the time to start," Beck says.
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