Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
site header image

Financial Literacy: Investing

This guide discusses topics related to financial literacy

Investing

Stock Prices

Investing is a way you can make money, in addition to earning a salary. Through investment vehicles (things you invest in) like bonds, stocks, and mutual funds you can increase your net worth. Some investments are riskier than others, so make sure you understand how various investment vehicles work, the risks involved, and which vehicle best fits your personality. Some people are inherently risk-takers, while others or not. This may affect how you invest. There is no one right way, so do what works best for you. Do be aware that risk and financial return are linked; the riskier the investment, the greater the potential return.

If you start investing early in life, you will once again discover how powerful compound interest is. Visit the Compound Interest tab to read more.

Use the database Value Line Investment Survey to start analyzing company stocks and mutual funds!

Bonds

Some people invest in bonds, a type of fixed-income security. When you purchase a bond you are lending a company or the government money with the expectation that they will pay back the full loan amount with interest. Payments are made regularly according to a schedule, which is why bonds are classified as fixed-income securities. Bonds are relatively safe investments; therefore, they have a lower expected return than stocks or mutual funds. Here’s how Investopedia explains bonds:

“Say you buy a bond with a face value of $1,000, a coupon of 8%, and a maturity of 10 years. This means you’ll receive a total of $80 ($1,000*8%) of interest per year for the next 10 years. Actually, because most bonds pay interest semi-annually, you’ll receive two payments of $40 a year for 10 years. When the bond matures after a decade, you’ll get your $1,000 back.”

This means that over 10 years, you will receive $800 in interest. That’s almost the full amount of your original investment!

Stocks

Stocks are another common investment vehicle. You’re probably at least vaguely familiar with the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ, both of which are large stock exchanges in the United States. When you invest in the stock market, you become a shareholder, or part-owner, of a company. Stocks are riskier than bonds because their value changes daily and there is no schedule of payment. However, you have greater potential to profit from your investment. Some companies give shareholders some of their profits, called dividends. Other times shareholders make money only if the stock price goes up.

Mutual Funds

Another type of investment are mutual funds. One well known mutual fund is the S&P 500 index fund, though many funds exist. To invest in mutual funds, you pool your money with other investors and then have a professional financial advisor invest that money in a variety of stocks and bonds. One advantage to mutual funds is that you save yourself time because you do not have to determine which investments to pursue; you let a professional do the work. Mutual funds do have extra costs, however, such as paying the professional who invests your money.

Books on Investing