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When we think about the people who are likely to be stressed out financially, we might imagine minimum wage workers or those with fairly low incomes. After all, it’s hard to pay bills when you don’t earn a lot of money.

But a recent SecureSave survey found that 64% of employees earning over $100,000 a year are experiencing so much financial stress that it’s affecting their productivity at work. And 35% of those earning more than $100,000 are living paycheck-to-paycheck with no money in savings to fall back on.

If you’re someone who doesn’t have an emergency fund, you’re putting yourself at risk of landing in serious debt, so it’s important to do what you can to break that cycle. And if you earn more than $100,000, you may find that with one easy tweak, your savings are able to grow pretty nicely.

Don’t let the financial struggles continue

It’s not always the case that a higher income leads to more savings opportunities. Many people who are in a position to earn more than $100,000 a year have expensive educational debt to pay off and large rent or mortgage payments if they live in big cities where expenses are higher.

Plus, even if your salary is pretty generous, you might have a gaggle of young kids at home who need full-time childcare. The cost there can be huge.

That’s why salaries can be misleading in the context of financial security. In some parts of the country, an income of over $100,000 is quite generous. In other parts, you might struggle on an income of $150,000 if you have numerous debts, kids, and expenses that are unavoidable.

But still, building some emergency savings could help you break the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. And the mere knowledge of having a bit of money in the bank could greatly improve your outlook — and help you avoid getting distracted by stress in the workplace.

An easy way to grow savings

Suze Orman, who co-founded SecureSave, understands the importance of building savings. But she also recognizes that it’s not an easy thing to do. That’s why she has this easy-to-follow advice to anyone looking to build savings, no matter their income — start somewhere, and put the process on autopilot.

If you set up an automatic transfer so money gets moved into your savings account each month after your paycheck hits, you’ll make the process of building a financial safety net much easier on yourself. And Orman insists that those automatic savings transfers can be small initially. Ideally, you’ll then increase them as you’re able to, such as if your income rises.

So you might, for example, start with an automatic transfer of $50 a month into savings. If you earn $100,000 a year, that’s not even 0.1% of your income, so hopefully that’s pretty doable.

Meanwhile, after a year, you’ll have $600. That’s not necessarily a life-changing sum, especially if you earn a six-figure income. But if you have no savings now, that $600 gives you something to work with. It gives you the ability to avoid a credit card charge if you need to cover a $300 car repair. And it gives you some breathing room in general.

If you’re earning over $100,000, chances are, you work hard at what you do. And you don’t want ongoing financial stress to impact your productivity, thereby compromising your job and earnings potential.

To bust out of your current rut, get on the path to building an emergency fund by automating your savings. You may find that your overall mood improves once your bank account balance starts to grow.

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The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.Citigroup is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Maurie Backman has positions in Citigroup. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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