Bad things happen; it's not if, it's when

A report says only 41% of Americans have enough savings to cover a thousand dollar emergency. The rest will use credit cards or borrow from family and friends.'s Greg McBride says you can't wait until the end of the month to save.

"Pay yourself first. Have that savings happen automatically; set up a direct deposit from your paycheck into a dedicated savings account."

McBride says saving has to be a habit.

"$20 a week will still get you to the $1,000 mark by the end of the year but you've got to start now; establishing that habit is the critical first step."

McBride says there will be emergencies and they're often more than a thousand dollars. He says don't use credit cards; the interest rates are too high.

"Savings is your buffer from high-interest rate debt when those unplanned expenses arise -- and they will arise. When people don't have savings the most common source they're turning to is a credit card and the average credit card rate right now is over 17%."

In the past 12 months 28% of U.S. adults have had a major unexpected expense for themselves or their immediate family. The average amount is over $3,500.

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