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Do You Know the Difference Between Savings and Investment?

Savings involve setting aside money for short-term goals and emergencies, while investment entails deploying funds with the expectation of generating returns and long-term growth.

  • 6,569 Views | Updated on: Mar 22, 2024

Saving and investing are two crucial financial concepts that often get confusing. While investing plans in the financial market has both benefits and drawbacks, one must face the risk of investing money in various ways to protect their future.

We often hear people talking about savings and investments, their benefits, and how much funds we should put into these. For example, some say they plan to go on a vacation soon with the amount they have “saved” while some talk about their money making more money for them, which they “invested” somewhere.

What is Savings?

Savings refer to the portion of income that individuals or households set aside for future use rather than spending it immediately. This accumulated amount serves as a financial cushion, providing a safety net for unexpected expenses, facilitating long-term investments, and helping individuals achieve their financial objectives.

What is Investment?

Investment is putting your money into an asset to gain good returns on that money, ultimately adding to your wealth. Numerous investment tools are available in the financial market, such as Stocks, Bonds, Fixed Deposits, Mutual Funds, Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs), etc.

American Businessman and the author of many successful business books, Robert T Kiyosaki, says, “Often, the more money you make, the more money you spend; that is why more money does not make you rich – assets make you rich.”

The main objective of investing is to put your money to work and fulfill your short-term and long-term financial goals. In earlier times, investing needed a large amount of money to start with, such as real estate or gold, but nowadays, many new investment plans have come up where one can begin to invest with a mere amount in the hundreds.

Before starting to invest, one must consult a financial advisor to help them decide where and how much to invest. In addition, you must consider vital factors before choosing the right investment tool, such as your budget, financial goals, risk-taking appetite, income tax aspect, etc.

Savings Vs Investment Overview

Savings and investment are two financial concepts that are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Savings refer to money set aside for a future purpose, while investment involves putting money into assets to generate income or profits. Let us take a quick look at this table to know the difference between savings and investment:





Short-term financial goals and emergencies.

Long-term wealth accumulation and growth.

Time Horizon

Typically short-term, with easy accessibility.

Longer-term, often involving a lock-in period.

Risk Level

Low risk.

Varies; can range from low to high risk.

Return on Investment

Generally lower compared to investments.

Potential for higher returns, but not guaranteed.


Highly liquid, easy to access.

Less liquid may involve penalties for early withdrawal.

Purpose of Returns

Preserving capital and earning modest interest.

Capital appreciation and generating returns.


Relatively secure, especially in insured accounts.

Subject to market fluctuations; and varying levels of risk.

Tax Considerations

Interest earned may be subject to tax.

Tax implications vary based on the investment type and jurisdiction.

Emergency Fund Role

An essential part of building an emergency fund.

Not typically used for short-term emergencies; the focus is on long-term growth.

Advantages of Savings

Whether you are just starting on your financial journey or have been managing your money for a while, saving has numerous advantages that can help you achieve your long-term financial goals. From building an emergency fund to achieving financial freedom, saving money is an essential tool that can provide you with financial stability, security, and freedom. In this era of economic uncertainty, knowing the advantages of saving can give you a competitive edge and help you make informed financial decisions.

Earn Interest

Banks now offer better interest rates and numerous other perks, including lower rent for lockers, unlimited ATM withdrawals, and more, to entice new customers. Additionally, some banks offer a variety of savings account types to meet the needs of their clients.

Minimum Investment Amount

By comparing the various options, you can see that a savings account is also the most affordable investment alternative. To continue collecting interest, ensure your account has the required minimum balance.

Key Characteristics of Savings

Savings play a fundamental role in personal and financial well-being, serving as a cornerstone for financial stability and future planning. Understanding the key characteristics of savings is essential for individuals aiming to build a secure financial foundation and achieve their long-term goals.

Safety and Liquidity

Savings instruments, like traditional savings accounts or certificates of deposit, are considered safe and easily accessible. This ensures that your money is readily available in case of unexpected expenses.

Low Returns

While savings provide a secure place for your money, the returns are generally low. Interest rates on savings accounts are often modest, designed to preserve capital rather than generate significant gains.

Short-term Focus

Savings are typically geared towards short-term financial goals, such as creating an emergency fund, covering unexpected expenses, or saving for upcoming purchases like a vacation or a down payment on a home.

Stability and Predictability

Savings offer stability and predictability, making them an ideal choice for individuals who prioritize the security of their funds over the potential for higher returns.

Advantages of Investment

Investment can be defined as the act of committing money or capital to an endeavour with the expectation of obtaining an additional income or profit. In today’s world, investment has become an essential aspect of financial planning, and it offers numerous benefits to individuals, businesses, and the economy at large.

A Savings Plan That Grows

Saving money is similar to investing, but with investing, money can rise considerably faster than it does in most savings accounts. Most investors choose to preserve money for retirement or potential future expenses. While it is possible to keep some emergency funds in a savings account, many investors choose to invest a sizable amount of their savings in assets that yield a higher rate of return.

Regular Income

Whether now or in the future, investments can generate consistent income from stock dividends or interest (bonds). When you purchase a bond or stock that pays dividends, you will receive a predetermined monthly amount. This income stream may be put to other uses or reinvested to benefit from compounding returns.

Key Characteristics of Investment

Whether venturing into stocks, bonds, real estate, or other assets, understanding the key characteristics of investment is crucial for making informed decisions and maximizing returns.

Risk and Return

Investments come with varying degrees of risk, and the potential returns are often higher than those from savings. Different asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, and real estate, offer different risk and return profiles.

Long-term Growth

Investments are designed for long-term growth. They allow your money to grow over time, taking advantage of compounding returns to build wealth for future financial goals.


A key strategy in investing is diversification – spreading your money across different assets to reduce risk. Diversification helps mitigate the impact of poor performance in one investment on your overall portfolio.

Market Exposure

Investments expose your money to market fluctuations. While this can result in higher returns, it also means that the value of your investments can go up or down based on market conditions.

Example of Savings

Whether you are saving for a down payment on a house, an emergency fund, or a dream vacation, the benefits of saving are undeniable. Saving can be challenging, but it is crucial to establish good habits early on. From creating a budget to automating your savings, we will share tips and tricks to help you make the most of your hard-earned money.

The 52-Week Money Challenge

This is a popular savings challenge where you save a certain amount of money each week for 52 weeks. For example, you could start with ₹1 in the first week, ₹2 in the second week, and so on, until you save ₹52 in the last week. By the end of the year, you saved ₹1,378.

The 24-Hour Rule

This is a savings technique that helps you avoid impulse buying. When you see something you want to buy, wait 24 hours before making the purchase. This gives you time to think about whether you need the item and if you can afford it.

The No-spend Challenge

This is a savings challenge where you commit to not spending any money for a certain period, such as a week or a month. During this time, you focus on using what you already have and finding free or low-cost activities to do. This can help you break bad spending habits and save money in the long run.

Example of Investing

Investing can seem intimidating, but it is one of the most powerful ways to build wealth and secure your financial future. Whether you are a seasoned investor or just starting, there are countless opportunities to put your money to work and potentially earn significant returns. From stocks and bonds to real estate and alternative investments, the possibilities are endless. To understand the power of investing, let us take a look at a real-life example of how one individual turned a small initial investment into a massive fortune.

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

REITs are companies that own or operate income-producing real estate properties, such as office buildings, shopping centers, and apartment buildings. By investing in REITs, investors can enjoy regular dividend payments and potential capital appreciation.

When to Invest and When to Save?

While saving your hard-earned money can provide a sense of security, investing your money can help grow your wealth and create a better financial future. But, when it comes to deciding between investing and saving, it can be confusing and overwhelming.

Let us now see when to invest and when to save based on your financial goals, risk tolerance, and current financial situation.

When to Save?

Saving money is crucial for achieving short-term and long-term financial goals. Here are some situations when saving should be a priority:

Emergency Fund

Building an emergency fund is the first step toward financial security. Aim to save at least three to six months of your living expenses in a separate account, which you can use in case of unexpected events such as a job loss, medical emergency, or any other financial crisis.

Large Purchases

If you are planning to buy a car, a house, or any other expensive item, saving for a down payment can help you secure better interest rates and lower monthly payments.

Short-term Goals

If you have any short-term goals, such as saving for a vacation or a wedding, saving money in a high-yield savings account can help you achieve your goals faster.

Low-risk Tolerance

If you have a low-risk tolerance, saving your money in a low-risk savings account or CD can help you avoid any potential losses.

When to Invest?

Investing your money can help you achieve long-term financial goals, such as retirement or wealth creation. Here are some situations when investing should be a priority:


If you want to retire comfortably, you need to start investing early. Investing in a retirement account can help you save for retirement and take advantage of compound interest.

Long-term Goals

If you have long-term financial goals, such as buying a second home or starting a business, investing in stocks, mutual funds, or real estate can help you achieve your goals.

High-Risk Tolerance

If you have a high-risk tolerance, investing in high-risk assets such as stocks or cryptocurrency can help you earn higher returns.


Saving money alone may not be enough to keep up with inflation. Investing your money can help you keep up with inflation and protect your purchasing power.

Wrapping Up

While both savings and investments play essential roles in financial planning, understanding their distinctions is paramount for individuals navigating the complex landscape of personal finance. Savings offer security and liquidity for short-term needs, while investments are geared towards long-term wealth creation with associated risks and potentially higher returns. Striking the right balance between savings and investments is key to achieving financial security and meeting future financial goals. It is a personalized journey that requires a clear understanding of one’s financial objectives, risk tolerance, and time horizon.

Key Takeaways

  • Savings are intended for emergencies and usually considered for short-term needs.
  • Investments are a long-term strategy aimed at wealth accumulation and growth over an extended period.
  • Savings are low-risk, providing a secure place for funds, whereas investments inherently involve varying degrees of risk, offering the potential for higher returns.
  • Investments can generate income through dividends, interest, or capital gains, contributing to overall returns.
  • Savings, while secure, may offer limited income-generating potential.

- A Consumer Education Initiative series by Kotak Life

Amit Raje
Written By :
Amit Raje

Amit Raje is an experienced marketer who has worked in various Fintechs and leading Financial companies in India. With focused experience in Digital, Amit has pioneered multiple digital commerce in India. Now, close to two decades later, he is the vice president and head of the D2C business department. He masters the skill of strategic management, also being certified in it from IIMA. He has challenged his challenges and contributed his efforts in this journey of digital transformation.

Amit Raje
Reviewed By :
Prasad Pimple

Prasad Pimple has a decade-long experience in the Life insurance sector and as EVP, Kotak Life heads Digital Business. He is responsible for developing user friendly product journeys, creating consumer awareness and helping consumers in identifying need for life insurance solutions. He has 20+ years of experience in creating and building business verticals across Insurance, Telecom and Banking sectors

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