Saving Vs. Investing

Traditionally, saving has been viewed as quite different from investing. In most savings alternatives, the initial amount of capital or cash remains constant, earning guaranteed rates of interest.

The capital value of investments can go up or down. Returns are not guaranteed. However, creation of money market funds and deregulation of the banking industry have resulted in a variety of savings options that earn variable rates of return.

Savings provide funds for emergencies and for making specific purchases in the relatively near future (generally within two years). The primary goal is to store funds and keep them safe. This is why savings are generally placed in interest-bearing accounts that are safe (such as those insured or guaranteed by the federal government) and liquid (those in the form of cash or easily changed into cash on short notice with minimal or no loss). However, these generally have low yields. Because of the opportunities for earning a higher return with a relatively small pool of funds, some financial experts suggest that savers consider slightly higher risk (but liquid) alternatives for at least part of their savings.

Saved money is insurance. It is insurance against risk, against losing your job, against having a major unexpected repair bill or medical expense in the family. It is the backbone of you and your family’s financial well-being. Saved money grants you financial security. And the more you save, the more financial secure and independent you will be.

The goal of investing is generally to increase net worth and work toward long-term goals. Investing involves risk. Risk of your stocks losing money, or even going bankrupt (Enron, MCI, the airlines, etc. etc.). Risk of interest rates rising, and bond prices falling. Risks of your broker swindled you, or coerced you though his sales pitch to buy speculative investments. Risks of the economy. Risks of a particular industry. Risk of losing your principal. Risk of losing it all, and then some (such as with margin calls).

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