Saving and Investing

Find popular topics about saving and investing.

Manage Finances and Save Money

To help you manage your money and reach your saving goals:

Create a Budget

A budget is your plan for how you will spend money over a set period of time. It shows how much money you make and how you spend your money. Creating a budget can help you:

  • Pay your bills on time.
  • Save for unplanned expenses in the future.  
  • Prepare for retirement.

Download a budget spreadsheet that you can use to create your own to manage your monthly income and expenses. 

Consider Ways to Save

Saving money involves looking for deals and buying the quality items you need at the best price. You can save money by comparison shopping, comparing the prices and quality of products you plan to buy. offers ways to manage your spending and build your savings accounts to achieve your saving goals.

Invest in Long Term Goals

Investing is a way to make money grow, by buying shares of stocks, mutual funds, bonds, or real estate. When you invest, there is risk that you could lose the money you invest; in general the greater the earnings you can make, the greater the risk. You can save for long term goals, such as retirement and college education, by investing. Learn how to save for emergencies, short term and long term goals, and become an informed investor. 

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Video: Steps to Make a Budget

See this video to learn how to make a budget and plan your finances.

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Savings Bonds

U.S. savings bonds are one of the safest types of investments because they are endorsed by the federal government and, therefore, are virtually risk free.

Visit TreasuryDirect, a website from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, to learn about savings bonds, treasury bonds, and securities: how to buy and redeem your investments, what to do in the event of the death of an owner, and much more. TreasuryDirect is your one-stop shopping site for government securities where you can find information about the wide range of savings options, including series EE/E savings bonds, HH/H savings bonds, and series I savings bonds.

Manage and determine the value of savings bonds using these tools: 

You can give savings bonds for many occasions, such as birthdays, weddings, and graduations. Learn how to give savings bonds as gifts.

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Treasury Securities

Treasury securities are debts issued by the federal government's Bureau of Fiscal Service. When you buy a treasury security, you are lending money to the federal government for a set amount of time. In return the government promises to pay you back the entire amount, also known as the face value, when the security matures.

There are several types of treasury securities:

  • Treasury Bills—Short term securities that mature between a few days and 52 weeks.
  • Treasury Notes—Medium term securities that mature between one and 10 years.
  • Treasury Bonds—Long term securities, with a 30 year term that pays interest every six months, until the bond matures.
  • Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS)—Securities with principle values that adjust based on inflation, but with fixed interest rates for five, 10, or 30 year maturities.
  • Savings Bonds—Securities that offer a fixed interest rate over a fixed period of time.
  • Floating Rate Notes (FRNs)—Securities with variable interest rates, so that as bank interest rates increase or decrease, the interest rates on the FRNs change in the same direction.

You can purchase treasury securities for yourself or as gifts. You can purchase them in several ways:

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Things to Consider Before You Invest

Do you have a financial goal in mind, such as saving for retirement, paying for college, or buying a new house? If so, then you may decide to invest your money to earn enough to fund your goals. Before you invest, make sure you have answers to all of these questions:

  • How quickly can you get your money back? Stocks, bonds, and shares in mutual funds usually can be sold at any time, but there is no guarantee that you will get back all the money you invested. Other investments, such as limited partnerships, certificates of deposit (CDs), or IRAs, often restrict your ability to cash out your holdings.
  • What can you expect to earn on your money? While bonds generally promise a fixed return, earnings on most other securities go up and down with market changes. Keep in mind, just because an investment has done well in the past, there is no guarantee it will do well in the future.
  • What type of earnings can you expect? Will you get income in the form of interest, dividends, or rent? Some investments, such as stocks and real estate, have the potential for earnings and growth in value. What is the potential for earnings over time?
  • How much risk is involved? With any investment, there is always the risk that you will not get your money back or the earnings promised. There is usually a trade-off between risk and reward--the higher the potential return, the greater the risk. While the U.S. government backs U.S. Treasury securities, it does not protect against loss on any other investments. 
  • Are your investments diversified? Some investments perform better than others in certain situations. For example, when interest rates go up, bond prices tend to go down. One industry may struggle while another prospers. Putting your money in a variety of investment options can reduce your risk. 
  • Are there any tax advantages to a particular investment? U.S. savings bonds are exempt from state and local taxes. Municipal bonds are exempt from federal income tax and, sometimes, state income tax as well. Tax-deferred investments for special goals, such as paying for college and retirement, are available that let you postpone or even avoid paying income taxes.

More Information on Investing

To learn more about investing, refer to these resources:

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Tools to Research Investments

To help you make informed decisions when investing and avoid investment fraud, there are a variety of research tools available:

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Choose a Financial Professional

A financial professional can have multiple titles and be authorized to provide various services, including investment, financial planning, and insurance products.  When researching a financial professional, find out what the titles and licenses mean, as well as the educational, work experience, and ethical requirements. Keep in mind that a professional title is not the same as a license. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and state regulators do not grant or endorse any professional titles. 

When choosing a broker or investment adviser, research the person's education and professional history as well as the firm the person works for. Make sure you have answers to all of these questions:

  • Has the person worked with others who have circumstances similar to yours? 
  • Is the person licensed in your state? Your state securities regulator lists individuals and firms that are registered in your state. Ask whether the regulatory office has any other background information. To find out how to contact your state securities regulator, consult the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA).
  • Has the person had any run-ins with regulators or received serious complaints from investors? Contact your state securities regulator or the SEC. To review licensing, employment, and disciplinary information, use FINRA's BrokerCheck tool.
  • How is the person paid? Is it an hourly rate, a flat fee, or a commission that depends on the investments you make? Does the person get a bonus from their firm for selling you a particular product?
  • What are the fees for setting up and servicing your account? 

Resources to Help You Choose a Financial Professional

For more information on choosing a financial professional, refer to these resources:

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Last Updated: December 15, 2017