The Complete Guide to Saving and Investing

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You know saving and investing are important, and to be honest, you could be doing better. April is Financial Literacy Month, making now a great time to get on track.

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One of the five key principles of financial literacy, according to the Financial Literacy and Education Commission — along with earning, spending, borrowing and protecting — saving and investing is a process that takes time. A must to reach both your short- and long-term financial goals, there are several components to these key activities.

In the short term, you need to put money aside in an emergency fund. This can literally save your finances if you’re hit with an unexpected major expense or suddenly lose your job.

Knowing you want to make a big purchase in the future — either in a few months or a few years — is another important reason to save. Whether you’re planning to buy a house, go on vacation or head back to school, putting a little cash aside at a time can make a lofty financial goal become attainable.

Additionally, even if retirement is decades away, it’s important to start saving now to enjoy financial stability in your golden years. If you’re like many people, you’ll invest a certain percentage of your monthly income in a 401(k) or an IRA, and take pride in watching it grow.

Feeling a little overwhelmed by all of your saving and investing options. Don’t worry, we have you covered.

Take a look at GOBankingRates’ guide to get you started with saving and investing.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The Complete Guide to Saving and Investing