Many of our clients at OneAscent come to us with a dilemma: they’re not sure whether they’re in the right position to start investing. Many are trying to decide how much money to put in low-risk and easy-to-access savings accounts compared to long-term investments to help prepare for the future. As trusted financial advisors, we try to help people individually balance investing and saving.
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When it comes to these decisions, you’re pitting risk against reward and stability vs. short-term thinking. While investing puts your money at risk, it can provide long-term financial gains that aren’t possible with a savings account. On the other hand, money in your savings isn’t going anywhere. It will always be available to you and is more stable than it would be in an investment vehicle.
This is why there is no right or wrong answer to this question, just an individual preference. Below we discuss some of the different pros and cons of each option to help you better ascertain which is right for you based on your current financial needs, income, and stage in life planning.
Pros of Having a Savings Account
- Money is more easily accessed for emergencies
- Money in your savings isn’t subject to market volatility – it isn’t going anywhere, especially if your funds are at an FDIC-insured institution.
- Savings accounts are ideal for goals that can be reached within five years, such as vacations, car purchases, mortgage down payments, and luxury purchases
Cons of Having a Savings Account
- Your money gains very little interest over time, which means you’re not earning much while you’re saving
- It is more difficult to reach long-term financial goals such as retirement or children’s college tuition planning with savings alone
Pros of Having an Investment Account
- If you are patient with your investments, they will compound and earn greater returns for you than a savings account
- Investing can help you reach long-term financial goals such as children’s college or retirement goals
- Investing offers you an opportunity to support businesses and causes that impact your community
Cons of Having an Investment Account
- Investing is inherently more risky than putting your money into savings
- You often cannot withdraw funds early from an investment account without penalties
At OneAscent, we often recommend our clients ask themselves these questions before choosing where to put their ancillary income:
- Do you have ample savings to cover unexpected expenses as well as potential income loss for the next three to six months? If not, you may need to prioritize savings over investing for now.
- Do you have enough travel/disposable income savings to enjoy your lifestyle? If so, investing can become a bigger priority in your life for now.
- Are you willing to take some risks with your money to receive higher dividends in the future? If so, now is the perfect time to start investing.
- Will these risks compromise your family stability or access to cash for retirement? If so, you likely need more savings to feel comfortable investing.
Types of Investing Accounts
How much you save and invest is a personal choice. We recommend a balanced approach that allocates money towards both goals to create a secure financial future. There is a continuum of savings and investing options that balance access to funds and a return on our capital. Some of the most common in an individual’s savings and investment portfolio include:
- Mutual Funds
- Real Assets
- Savings Accounts
- Money Market Accounts
Each of these options has unique advantages that you should discuss with your OneAscent financial advisor. We can help you determine which is right for your next stage in life. Contact us today to learn more about your options.