Unfortunately, most Americans did not listen to their parents at a young age when they were told to start saving their pennies. As a result, many Americans live in debt or are dependant on the next paycheck to come to pay the rent. Not very comforting, and certianly not a good way to plan in our current economy! If you are one of these people, rest assured - it is never too late to start saving. If you've already begin saving, congratulations, you are ahead of the game!
Savings means something different to everyone. To many, it means a stash of money they are putting aside for a particular investment, such as a car, a home or an education. It could even just be savings put away to buy the new sleigh bed or Polo suit you've been eyeing that could not be bought at the time. In these cases, you know exactly how much you need to save and when you need to have saved it by. To others, it is a stash of money being put aside for a particular date or event. Most commonly this event is retirement. In this case, you should have a target date and amount you'd like saved, but in general this type of savings is listed as "the more the merrier" kind. There are also people who save just to know that they have a pile of money that they can depend on in the case of a job loss, death or other unforeseen circumstances. And then there's just the rainy day fund - money put aside for special events or items that you hadn't planned on but find you'd like to have.
In any case, it is clear that most all of us should have atleast one savings account that we are tucking away for a later date. There are many types of ways to save which are outlined in this section, and they all require an initial investment, with many requiring continual investments to acheive your goals. While a simple bank savings account will indeed pay interest, investments such as mutual funds, bonds, stocks or cds are usually the best way to increase the value of your investment at a higher rate of return. Read on to find out which investment vehicle is right for you.