57% of Americans do not have enough savings to cover a $500 unexpected expense. This stat comes from a survey conducted by Bankrate in 2017. While still bad, it is an improvement from 2016 when 63% of Americans said they would not be able to pay for a $500 unexpected expense.
These numbers are a reflection of our culture in the United States. Lots of people are always looking for the newest car, phone, clothes, etc… With these statistics we see that most Americans do not have their priorities straight.
So how can you set yourself apart from the majority? If you struggle to save money, the first step is tracking your spending to see exactly where your money is going. You can track your spending on your own or have free programs do it for you. Two reputable budget programs include Every Dollar and Mint. Once you know where your money is going you should then work to cut back your spending in unnecessary categories such as eating out too much or buying new clothes constantly.
It is indeed easier said than done, but if you educate yourself and create a good budget you will feel as though you have gotten richer. I am in no way saying you should never eat out or spoil yourself with some new clothes or tech but you must understand that you should have a solid emergency fund for when you need it. You do not want to find yourself in debt for a $500 emergency that you were not prepared for.
Good sources of financial education on YouTube include Graham Stephen, Dave Ramsey, and Minority Mindset. If you are interested in reading financial literature you should consider reading “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter, “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss, and “Principles” by Ray Dalio just to name a few.
I hope this piece helped you realize that if you do not have an emergency fund built up then you should heavily consider it and educate yourself financially so you can have a good relationship with money. I gave a few tips to help you start. It is up to you to take the advice. If you have an income no matter how old you are whether it be 16 or 46 it is your responsibility to educate yourself on money.