There are basically two ways to make money.
1. You work for money. Someone pays you to work for them or you have your own business.
2. Your money works for you. You take your money and you save or invest it.
YOUR MONEY CAN WORK FOR YOU IN TWO WAYS
Your money earns money. When your money goes to work, it may earn a steady paycheck. Someone pays you to use your money for a period of time. When you get your money back, you get it back plus “interest.” Or, if you buy stock in a company that pays “dividends” to shareholders, the company may pay you a portion of its earnings on a regular basis. Your money can make an “income,” just like you. You can make more money when you and your money work.
You buy something with your money that could increase in value. You become an owner of something that you hope increases in value over time. When you need your money back, you sell it, hoping someone else will pay you more for it. For instance, you buy a piece of land thinking it will increase in value as more businesses or people move into your town. You expect to sell the land in five, ten, or twenty years when someone will buy it from you for a lot more money than you paid.
And sometimes, your money can do both at the same time—earn a steady paycheck and increase in value.
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SAVING AND INVESTING
Your “savings” are usually put into the safest places, or products, that allow you access to your money at any time. Savings products include savings accounts, checking accounts, and certificates of deposit. Some deposits in these products may be insured by the government agency. But there’s a tradeoff for security and ready availability. Your money is paid a low wage as it works for you.
After paying off credit cards or other high interest debt, most smart investors put enough money in a savings product to cover an emergency, like sudden unemployment. Some make sure they have up to six months of their income in savings so that they know it will absolutely be there for them when they need it.
But how “safe” is a savings account if you leave all of your money there for a long time, and the interest it earns doesn’t keep up with inflation? What if you save a dollar when it can buy a loaf of bread. But years later when you withdraw that dollar plus the interest you earned on it, it can only buy half a loaf? This is why many people put some of their money in savings, but look to investing so they can earn more over long periods of time, say three years or longer.
When you “invest,” you have a greater chance of losing your money than when you “save.” The money you invest in securities, mutual funds, and other similar investments typically is not federally insured. You could lose your “principal”—the amount you’ve invested. But you also have the opportunity to earn more money.
What about risk?
All investments involve taking on risk. It’s important that you go into any investment in stocks, bonds or mutual funds with a full understanding that you could lose some or all of your money in any one investment. While over the long term the stock market has historically provided around 10% annual returns (closer to 6% or 7% “real” returns when you subtract for the effects of inflation), the long term does sometimes take a rather long, long time to play out. Those who invested all of their money in the stock market at its peak in 1929 (before the stock market crash) would wait over 20 years to see the stock market return to the same level.
However, those that kept adding money to the market throughout that time would have done very well for themselves, as the lower cost of stocks in the 1930s made for some hefty gains for those who bought and held over the course of the next twenty years or more.
It is often said that the greater the risk, the greater the potential reward in investing, but taking on unnecessary risk is often avoidable. Investors best protect themselves against risk by spreading their money among various investments, hoping that if one investment loses money, the other investments will more than make up for those losses. This strategy, called “diversification,” can be neatly summed up as, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Investors also protect themselves from the risk of investing all their money at the wrong time by following a consistent pattern of adding new money to their investments over long periods of time.
Once you’ve saved money for investing, consider carefully all your options and think about what diversification strategy makes sense for you. While the yourfinancial recommend any particular investment product, you should know that a vast array of investment products exists—including stocks and stock mutual funds, corporate and municipal bonds, bond mutual funds, certificates of deposit, money market funds, and government securities.
Diversification can’t guarantee that your investments won’t suffer if the market drops. But it can improve the chances that you won’t lose money, or that if you do, it won’t be as much as if you weren’t diversified.
What are the best investments for me?
The answer depends on when you will need the money, your goals, and if you will be able to sleep at night if you purchase a risky investment where you could lose your principal.
For instance, if you are saving for retirement, and you have 35 years before you retire, you may want to consider riskier investment products, knowing that if you stick to only the “savings” products or to less risky investment products, your money will grow too slowly—or, given inflation and taxes, you may lose the purchasing power of your money. A frequent mistake people make is putting money they will not need for a very long time in investments that pay a low amount of interest.
On the other hand, if you are saving for a short-term goal, five years or less, you don’t want to choose risky investments, because when it’s time to sell, you may have to take a loss. Since investments often move up and down in value rapidly, you want to make sure that you can wait and sell at the best possible time.
What are investments all about?
When you make an investment, you are giving your money to a company or enterprise, hoping that it will be successful and pay you back with even more money.
Stocks and Bonds
Many companies offer investors the opportunity to buy either stocks or bonds. The example below shows you how stocks and bonds differ.
Let’s say you believe that a company that makes automobiles may be a good investment. Everyone you know is buying one of its cars, and your friends report that the company’s cars rarely break down and run well for years. You either have an investment professional investigate the company and read as much as possible about it, or you do it yourself.
After your research, you’re convinced it’s a solid company that will sell many more cars in the years ahead.
The automobile company offers both stocks and bonds. With the bonds, the company agrees to pay you back your initial investment in ten years, plus pay you interest twice a year at the rate of 8% a year.
If you buy the stock, you take on the risk of potentially losing a portion or all of your initial investment if the company does poorly or the stock market drops in value. But you also may see the stock increase in value beyond what you could earn from the bonds. If you buy the stock, you become an “owner” of the company.
You wrestle with the decision. If you buy the bonds, you will get your money back plus the 8% interest a year. And you think the company will be able to honor its promise to you on the bonds because it has been in business for many years and doesn’t look like it could go bankrupt. The company has a long history of making cars and you know that its stock has gone up in price by an average of 9% a year, plus it has typically paid stockholders a dividend of 3% from its profits each year.
WHY SOME INVESTMENTS MAKE MONEY AND OTHERS DON’T
You can potentially make money in an investment if:
• The company performs better than its competitors.
• Other investors recognize it’s a good company, so that when it comes time to sell your investment, others want to buy it.
• The company makes profits, meaning they make enough money to pay you interest for your bond, or maybe dividends on your stock.
You can lose money if:
• The company’s competitors are better than it is.
• Consumers don’t want to buy the company’s products or services.
• The company’s officers fail at managing the business well, they spend too much money, and their expenses are larger than their profits.
SAVING AND INVESTING
• Other investors that you would need to sell to think the company’s stock is too expensive given its performance and future outlook.
• The people running the company are dishonest. They use your money to buy homes, clothes, and vacations, instead of using your money on the business.
• They lie about any aspect of the business: claim past or future profits that do not exist, claim it has contracts to sell its products when it doesn’t, or make up fake numbers on their finances to dupe investors.
• The brokers who sell the company’s stock manipulate the price so that it doesn’t reflect the true value of the company. After they pump up the price, these brokers dump the stock, the price falls, and investors lose their money.
• For whatever reason, you have to sell your investment when the market is down.
Source :-Saving and Investing -A Roadmap To Your Financial Security Through Saving and Investing