Suze Orman Says This Is the No. 1 Benefit Workers Need

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  • Many companies offer workplace benefits like paid time off and health insurance.
  • Suze Orman says that workers need to have an emergency savings account.
  • You can set up automatic transfers to help build an emergency fund of up to 12 months' worth of essential expenses.

It's super important -- yet most workplaces don't offer it.

If you work for a company, you may be entitled to a host of benefits through your job. Those might include access to a 401(k) plan, paid vacation and sick leave, and employer-sponsored health insurance. And if your employer is more generous than most, you may even be eligible for things like free meals, all-day snacks, and discounted gym memberships.

Those are all nice perks to have. But if you ask financial expert Suze Orman, she'll tell you the most important benefit workers need is an emergency savings account. And unfortunately, it's a benefit most companies don't offer.

Workers need help in building savings

One of the great things about 401(k) plans is that you can sign up to have contributions deducted automatically from your paycheck every month. And once you sign up, you're likely to stay on track because you won't feel like you're missing that money. Rather, you'll get used to the amount your paycheck gives you after those 401(k) deductions.

If the same setup were available in the context of emergency savings, more workers would have an easier time socking money away for near-term expenses. But unfortunately, most employers don't offer an emergency savings account, even though there are companies like SecureSave they can partner with for that purpose.

Here's how many workers approach their emergency savings. They collect a paycheck, cover their bills, and then see how much money, if any, is left over at the end of the month. Funds that remain could then, conceivably, go into their savings accounts.

But a much better setup would be to have emergency fund contributions deducted automatically, just like 401(k) contributions. That way, workers would save that money from the start, and the temptation to spend it would go away.

A great way to fuel your savings

If you don't have a complete emergency fund, it's important to build one as quickly as possible, since you never know when life might throw you a curveball. Now, when we talk about having a "complete" emergency fund, the reality is that there's no single universal number that tells you you're done building savings.

Related: Emergency Fund Calculator

Many financial experts will say that having enough cash in the bank to cover three to six months of essential bills is enough. Orman, on the other hand, thinks you should have enough emergency cash to cover at least eight months' worth of expenses, and, ideally, more like 12 months' worth. But either way, if your savings could use work, here's a good way to boost them in the absence of having a workplace emergency savings account.

Many banks allow you to set up an automatic transfer from a checking account to a savings account. What it pays to do is arrange for part of your paycheck to move over to your savings automatically at the start of the month so you're not tempted to spend that portion of your earnings.

That amount could be $25, $50, $100, or a different number -- whatever you can afford. The point, however, is to put those contributions on autopilot so you don't stray from your savings efforts.

Right now, workplace emergency savings accounts are far from the norm, even though they're important. Until that changes, it's on you to build yourself a safety net.

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