As financial professionals, we know that it is extremely important to protect yourself, save money and build for the future. Unfortunately, this is not the reality for many Americans. Here’s some surprising news. According to a survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Board, when Americans were asked how they would pay for $400 in an emergency, 47% of respondents said that they would cover the expense by borrowing or selling something, or they would not be able to come up with the $400 at all. This is not just affecting the poorest among us. It’s happening to those in the middle class, those in the upper class, those who are soon to be retired, recent college graduates and high school dropouts. Bottom line, all types of American’s cannot come up with $400 in an emergency. So how do we solve this scary problem? Before you even start really planning for your financial future, you need to make the decision to have your own back. Having your own back begins with taking personal responsibility with where you are today and where you want to be moving forward. The first step to doing this is to make sure you are protecting your most valuable asset, which is your ability to earn an income. In addition to protection, you should work towards savings 15%, and building liquidity. Once you’ve done this you can look into saving money for retirement and growing your assets by investing in bonds, stocks, real estate and business interest. If you are having trouble saving enough consider fine tuning your budget. Now as much as we all hate the word budget, this is the starting point to growing that emergency savings fund. Once you map out your expenses, you may be surprised to see where all your money is going. Did you forget that you pay $20 a month for some online service that you never use? Did you even know that you’re paying $35 a month just buying coffee from your favorite coffee shop? When was someone going to tell you that your free trial of Amazon Prime has ended and now you’re paying for it?! These are the places where you can start making cuts. A big issue for many is credit card debt. Credit card debt stood at about $5,700 per household in 2015. Having a credit card is almost a catch 22, you should have one in order to build credit, but it can easily get you in trouble. Get a card with a low credit limit that you know you’ll be able to pay off every month. Remember, available credit is not savings. If you don’t have the money to pay off your card, that becomes a debt. It’s unsettling to think that if your car breaks down or you find yourself with a broken bone that you may not be able to come up with the money to pay for it. Even if you need to start with just saving an extra $20 a paycheck and move up from there, every penny counts. Once you perfect your budget, then you can start saving a little bit more out of each paycheck. When it comes to having emergency savings, be responsible. Talk to your Leap Professional to help you get started. You’ll be surprised at how easy it can be.