Oprah is counting down her last days on the Oprah Winfrey show.  At the time I am writing this she is at show 18, I guess I waited kind of late to watch her since there aren’t many left.  There is good news for me however because I understand she is going to a new network!  There will be more Oprah!  I guess I am in luck.  This may sound cynical because, well, it is.

It is obvious that she is doing her big count down so she can bring the viewers with her to her next venture, “Oprah’s Next Chapter” on her OWN network.  Though I am jaded in my outlook on her teary eyed ending of the Oprah Winfrey show, I do have to admire that the lady is prepared.  She is not only ready for the transition; she is the mastermind.

We need to be prepared too.  I am not talking about setting up the DVR to record the new Oprah shows on her new network.  I am talking about preparing for change.  If you think about it, all we can really count on is change.  What would happen to you if your job changed or you were laid off tomorrow?  A very good friend of mine is the medical field and has never been concerned about finding a job in the past.  He has always been regularly hounded by recruiters.  Last year when he lost his job, it took him six months to find another one.  He and his wife were prepared and had a solid emergency fund which they drew down on and they cut their budget back and lived on less.  He is in a new position now that he likes very much and they are rebuilding that emergency fund.

Consider your situation and if you were hit with a job loss or series of high expenses.  Our latest research shows that only 55% of employees have an adequate emergency fund to soften the blow of the inevitable.  They say that bad things happen in threes and I remember one month when I had an expensive car repair and my refrigerator and washer broke down on me – that hurt.  Are you prepared for a trifecta of unexpected expenses?  With a job loss there are often unemployment benefits or a severance package to soften the blow but it is prudent to consider just how long you could survive with a layoff.  Even though the recession is technically over, the unemployment rate is still at 9.2% which is unfortunately still at a 20 year high.  So to be prepared in case there is a change in the future that you weren’t anticipating, take a look at your monthly expenses (not your income – your expenses) and add up your savings to determine how many months you could go without an income.  If you can make it for three months, you have the minimum emergency fund.  If you have six months, you are in good shape.

The following resources can help you determine your monthly expenses and how much you need to save to build the emergency fund:

Expense Tracker

Saving for Goals Calculator

If you have millions of dollars, well then you are Oprah Winfrey and good for you.