How Does Investing Work? | Tim Stobierski | Dec 19, 2022 | Investing | Shield Business Insurance | Start a quote today!


  • Investing is when you purchase assets you expect to earn a profit from in the future.
  • Compounding (aka when the returns on your money generate their own returns) the longer your money is in the market, the longer it has to grow.
  • Investing small amounts regularly over time is a habit that will help you build wealth throughout your life called dollar-cost averaging.

You may have heard that investing is the best way to grow your money and reach your biggest financial goals. But what is investing, exactly? How does investing work? And how can you get started? Find the answers to those and other investing questions below.

What is investing?

At its simplest, investing is when you purchase assets you expect to earn a profit from in the future. That could refer to buying a home (or other property) you believe will rise in value, though it commonly refers to buying stocks and bonds.

How is it different from saving?

Saving and investing both involve setting aside money for future use, but there are a lot of differences, too. Check out this chart:

Always involves risk. Even the safest investments involve some risk that could cause you to lose money.Rarely involves risk. If your cash sits in an FDIC-insured savings account (which protects up to $250,000), you typically don’t need to worry about losing any.
Higher potential for growth. Depending on how much risk you’ll accept, it’s possible to earn a large return on your investments. With stocks, for example, the long-term average is nearly 10 percent per year.Lower potential for growth. Virtually all savings accounts will pay you interest for keeping money in your account. But it probably won’t be much and often fails to keep up with inflation (the rate at which prices are rising).
Usually best for mid or long-term goals. Generally, it’s best to only invest money you won’t need for a little while, as the stock market fluctuates and you don’t want to be forced to sell stocks that are down because you need the money.Good for short-term goals. A savings account, being essentially risk-free, is ideal for immediate purchases as well as any money that you can’t afford to lose in the short term (such as an emergency fund).
May be difficult to access quickly. Before you can spend any of the money you’ve built up through investments, you’ll have to sell them. With stocks, it could take days before the proceeds are settled in your bank account, and selling property can take months (or longer).Readily accessible. Generally speaking, you can access money in your savings account anytime.

What’s the difference between investing and trading?

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How Does Investing Work?