• Discounts and special offers
  • Subscriber-only articles and interviews
  • Breaking news and trending topics

Already a subscriber?

By signing up, you accept Moneywise's Terms of Use, Subscription Agreement, and Privacy Policy.

Not interested ?

Everything is far more expensive

A recent report from SecureSave revealed the alarming impact high inflation and rising costs are having on Americans’ savings, with a staggering 67% of Americans unable to cover an unexpected $400 expense.

“Inflation makes everything far more expensive,” says Orman. “It’s not just the eggs or the chicken [...] but your car insurance premiums, your home insurance premiums, property taxes, everything.”

Covering an unexpected expense on top of that is just too much for many American households — especially for the 74% who claim to be living paycheck to paycheck, according to the SecureSave survey.

“You don't have any money saved,” says Orman. “You have nothing, and then something hits you — and what do you do? You put it on your credit card, you can't pay it in full.”

It’s the “worst time right now” to wrack up a lot of credit card debt because of how far the Feds have hiked interest rates in the past year, according to Orman.

Instead, she encourages people to take advantage of an employer-sponsored emergency savings account, or ESA — a workplace plan that deducts a small amount of money from your monthly paycheck to create an emergency fund. Often employers will incentivize uptake by matching your contributions.

Watch Now: Full interview: Suze Orman and Devin Miller delve into why so many Americans aren't prepared for their next financial emergency — and how to change that

Discover banking made refreshingly simple with Chime

Say goodbye to hidden fees and hello to no overdraft, no minimum balance, and no monthly fees. Get paid up to two days early with direct deposit. Join millions who trust Chime for easy, fee-free banking

Sign up today and start saving

Emergency saving accounts

Orman — who co-founded SecureSave to help individuals build emergency savings through an employer benefits platform — says having money in an ESA can help you to keep up your mortgage and auto loan payments — and it can stop you running up “crushing” high-interest credit card debt.

“This is the starter block,” she says. “Obviously, we don't expect that you have eight to 12 months of an emergency fund. This is where you start to learn how to save.”

Orman’s hope is to “change the saving habits of everybody in this world.”

She says that once people learn what it feels like to be financially secure — and they enjoy that feeling — they will apply that learning to other areas of saving or retirement planning, such as signing up for a Roth IRA or 401(k) plan.

“The place to start is with an emergency savings account, especially with your employer matching it, [so] that you can take care of the little things that totally put you out of sync with everything else,” she says.

The results speak for themselves, according to SecureSave CEO and co-founder Devin Miller, who joined Orman in speaking to Moneywise on May 16.

The average SecureSave user saves an average of $103 a month toward an ESA, reaching $400 after four months of saving.

“That doesn't sound like a lot, but the average emergency … is maybe only a couple hundred dollars,” says Miller. “Very small things will trigger this big negative snowball in people's financial lives — and so creating that starting point of saving is so critical.”

‘Ripple effects across the economy’

“When families’ emergency savings are depleted, it has ripple effects across our economy,” warns Orman.

This is especially true if Americans feel the need to raid their retirement savings to cover an emergency expense — something personal finance experts have deemed one of the worst financial fumbles.

The SecureSave survey found that 61% of Americans either stopped contributing to their retirement savings , or never had retirement savings at all, as a result of their financial situation. Of those that did have a retirement fund, 47% have stopped contributing amid spikes in inflation and interest rates.

“If you want to help people be better prepared for retirement, they need to have more liquid savings that they can go to,” says Miller. “We need to get people better involved in retirement accounts at work, keep money in those accounts … and the best way to do that is to get that extra separate bucket of dollars for emergencies.”

Getting Americans engaged with ESAs is “probably the biggest bang for the buck” that employers can do to both improve long-term retirement readiness but also improve people's day-to-day ability to withstand financial shocks, according to Miller.

“That's going to create a tremendous positive domino effect for our society,” he adds.


This 2 Minute Move Could Knock $500/Year off Your Car Insurance in 2024

Saving money on car insurance with BestMoney is a simple way to reduce your expenses. You’ll often get the same, or even better, insurance for less than what you’re paying right now.

There’s no reason not to at least try this free service. Check out BestMoney today, and take a turn in the right direction.

Bethan Moorcraft is a reporter for Moneywise with experience in news editing and business reporting across international markets.

Explore the latest articles

10 best banks of 2023

The best banks offer competitive yields on deposits, low fees, excellent customer service and more.

Casey Bond Freelance Contributor


The content provided on Moneywise is information to help users become financially literate. It is neither tax nor legal advice, is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. Tax, investment and all other decisions should be made, as appropriate, only with guidance from a qualified professional. We make no representation or warranty of any kind, either express or implied, with respect to the data provided, the timeliness thereof, the results to be obtained by the use thereof or any other matter.