Is Your Emergency Fund Big Enough?

The recent federal government shutdown has underscored the importance of a basic financial planning rule: You need a rainy day fund to cover emergency expenses, such as a major home repair, medical bills, or a job loss.

But many Americans lack even a small amount of savings to help them through an emergency. As a recent report by the Federal Reserve found, 4 in 10 adults said they wouldn’t be able to cover a $400 emergency expense without having to borrow the money or sell something.

Without cash on hand to cover unexpected bills, families often end up opting for costly strategies, such as running up credit card balances. Federal workers had to turn to food banks or tap their retirement accounts, resulting in tax penalties. Granted, setting aside those dollars in a rainy day fund is a challenge for many families. It can also be difficult to figure out how much you should to stash away.

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5 Affordable Fall Travel Destinations

Prime leaf-peeping season is fall-travelhere—and so are some great domestic fall travel deals. That should come as a relief to many consumers, given that Americans will spend an average of $2,836 per person to travel this fall—more than summer travel—according to travel insurance comparison site Squaremouth.

If you want to see the fall colors without spending a lot of money, plan a trip within driving distance of your home. The savings could be significant. According to financial research firm ValuePenguin, about 44 percent of travel costs for the typical U.S. family are for transportation.

Here are five fall travel destinations around the country that are affordable and offer some of the best fall foliage.

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A Rent-Back Agreement Can Protect Your New Home

After months of house hunting, rentbackyou’ve finally found your dream home and the seller has accepted your bid. But there’s one problem—the seller isn’t ready to move out.

In such a case, a seller might want to go ahead and close on the home in order to have enough money to buy a new home. But in the interim, the seller needs a place to live. Linda Sanderfoot, a real estate agent at Coldwell Banker in Neenah, Wisconsin says that if you decide to let the seller stay, a rent-back agreement can protect you.

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Make Your Home More Appealing to Young Buyers

Millennials are powering the housing Milsbuyinghomemarket. For the third year in a row, Generation Y (age 18 to 35) comprised the largest group of homebuyers, making up 35 percent of all buyers, according to a March report by the National Association of Realtors.

If you’re considering putting your home on the market, you may want to think about doing some renovation work so that your home has greater appeal to younger homebuyers. That way, you may be able to sell your home more quickly and at the price that you want.

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