Being prepared is a smart way to stay on top of any situation, and this is especially true when it comes to your finances. It’s important to have a plan but equally important to realize that things won’t always go according to your plan. When an unexpected expense pops up – a burst pipe, a major medical bill – if you don’t have anything saved to pay for it, you’ll be forced to withdraw from your savings or turn to a credit card. Neither is a great option for your financial future.

That’s why building an emergency fund into your monthly savings strategy will help ensure the security of your long-range goals. Add a budget category for unforeseen costs that puts aside a set amount to go into an emergency fund account, like a MAX Club Account. When and if there are no surprises, you can view that money as bonus savings.

If you go years without an issue, it can be tempting to turn your emergency fund into a dream vacation, but try to resist. If you empty that account and disaster does strike, there won’t be easily available money to keep you from having to borrow to deal with whatever happens.

And if you have had to withdraw from your emergency fund in the past, make sure you build it back up and keep it going by always depositing the portion set in your budget into the fund account as soon as you get your paycheck.