Facing possibility of losing work? Expert offers tips to be prepared

WICHITA, Kan. The impact on some furloughed employees impacted by the partial government shutdown raises a question for all of us: Are you prepared if you were out of your job for any extended stretch?

Wednesday Eyewitness News spoke with a financial expert about things you should know to avoid a financial emergency.

Having an emergency fund is key to surviving a financial hardship Chris Wolgamott with Meritrust Credit Union says most people don't even have $1,000 in savings.

He recommends a few ways to build your emergency fund.

"Anything is better than nothing in an emergency account," he says.

Wolgamott teaches people how to manage their finances. He says he hasn't heard from anyone affected by the partial government shutdown yet, but he's had clients who've fallen on hard times.

He says having that emergency account can help you get through it.

"A lot of people don't even have $1,000 in their savings accounts, so I think that's a really great first goal is to hit that $1,000 mark," Wolgamott says.

Some experts recommend having three to six months worth of expenses saved up.

"Whether you make a lot or a little, you can put something toward an emergency account," Wolgamott says. "It might take a little while to get that built up."

You may have heard the recommendation to put five or 10 percent of your paycheck toward a savings account, but not everyone can afford to do that each pay period.

Wolgamott recommends looking at your budget and figuring out the dollar amount you can set aside instead of focusing on a set percentage.

If you have trouble saving money, he advises to set a budget and stick to it. That could mean cutting out certain expenses altogether.

If you're looking to build your emergency account, Wolgamott says to focus on that specific goal and not to try to tackle too much.

If you find yourself in a financial emergency, he says it's important to be honest with creditors or any companies to which you owe money. Your should let them know what's going on as soon as possible as they may have programs for people going through financial hardships to help with payments.