Tag Archives: emergency fund


Think & Grow RichIn the first post of this two-part series, I wrote about the influence of Suze Orman’s The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke in helping me build an emergency fund. After reading this book as well as Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, I took aggressive actions to increase my savings so that I could meet my eight month emergency fund goals.

As I wrote this post, I reached out to a few of my financially savvy peers who all have at least  a twelve month emergency fund so that readers can have a diverse view point on creating the right foundation for your financial life. 

  1. Get an Advisor/Mentor

A common theme emerged from the multiple interviews I conducted. Seek outside counsel. A few of my peers reached out to financial advisors to help with their financial plans, while others sought advice on how to reach their financial goals from mentors. One of my interviewees specifically said, “I try to listen more than I try to advise.” Why commit the same financial suicide as those that came before you? For example, one of the main investment tools that my mentor encouraged me to do was to own Real Estate. Not just to own a piece of property, but allow it to become passive income. So, with the guidance of my mentor I was able to purchase at a low cost, a REO (Real Estate Owned) property. Out of this passive income I was able to save up to 40% of my earnings.”

  1. Monitor your Large Expenses

One of the biggest expenses items in your budget is typically housing. I remember getting a lot of slack from my peers when I decided to rent out my home and rent a house in downtown Cincinnati with two friends. During this time I was able to reduce my housing expenses by half while leveraging the tax advantages of being a landlord. I’ve also heard of people renting out rooms in their home or their entire house with companies such as airbnb.com.

The second largest expense is typically transportation. I haven’t had a car payment in almost ten years. Upon graduation from college, I bought a 10-year old car for $3,500. That car “lived” for five great no-car payment years and when it was time purchase my next car I had enough liquid cash to buy the car with cash. Avoid car payments and reinvest the cash in paying down debts i.e. mortgage, unsecured loans i.e. credit card, and increasing your savings. 



Throughout the year there will be different opportunities where additional income, unexpected or expected, may present itself. For instance, income tax refund, bonuses, inheritance, and/or salary increases. In these instances, use the funds to help accelerate your emergency fund growth and pay down debt. Think of your savings plan as a way to pay yourself first and a requirement similar to a monthly bill used to help meet your goal of increasing your emergency fund. Adding yourself as a line item to your budget sends a message that

1. You are important enough to invest in yourself

2. If it’s in your budget month after month you can track how much of your money is going to you vs. things.



Cash is KING….5 ways to build your emergency fund: Part 1

 Suze Orman’s The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke is one of the most impactful books I’ve read to date.  A few days after graduating from Florida A & M University (go Rattlers), I ordered my credit report, realized it was below 500 and quickly grabbed a copy of the book. For nearly a decade, Suze’s advice guided me along my financial journey. I can now proudly say that now my credit score is over 800. Suze advises everyone to have an emergency fund. An emergency fund allows you to maintain your current way of life even in the event of a financial catastrophe.

But how do you build your emergency fund? I’ve drawn on my own experiences and reached out to a few colleagues with varying salary ranges to help provide insight on the subject. Here are five ways to build your emergency fund.

  1. Develop a New Year & Mid Year Financial Resolution

Every New Year, many people are reflecting on their financial goals. Think of yourself as a company. Use these tips to create the financial strategy for YOU, LLC:

Write down your current cash liquidity at the beginning of the year

  • Write down the cash amount you would like to have by the end of the year. Remember to be reasonable and realistic. For example, you can’t have a goal of saving $50,000 when you only bring in 40K each year.
  • Create an action plan, which includes goal setting and budgeting. We will cover more on this in point #2.
  • Perform a mid-year status check to course correct any issues and update your action plan if your strategy and/or tactics are not working
  • Once you reach your goal, celebrate with a small reward i.e. small purchase, mini-vacation, etc. For me it was my first Luis Vuitton bag.



Once you are clear on your desired yearly savings goal set a monthly savings target. Leverage budgeting tools to help you track and trace how you are performing versus the goal. For example, at the beginning of each pay cycle I know exactly where I want my money to go. I know what my savings target is for every pay period. And, I give myself a grade on how well I saved versus the expectations I set. Through this tactic I learned that you can’t measure what you don’t track. For an example of a budget template please subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

You can look forward to the next three tips on Monday August 4.