10 commandments of retirement planning

II. You shall have an emergency reserve
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II. You shall have an emergency reserve

Getting out of debt and saving for retirement will be tough if you have to whip out a credit card to cover every crisis. That's why an emergency fund is the cornerstone of every financial plan. The general rule of thumb is to save three to six months' worth of living expenses, but that target can be hard to nail down, says Kuhn.

"We aim for a fixed dollar amount. The fixed dollar amount is whatever number you decide makes you comfortable, like $10,000 cash in the bank," he says.

Pick an amount, save it up and then don't touch it -- until, of course, the inevitable emergency arises.




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