Do invest your money
If you are going to need your money in the short term you should keep it in cash. If you are planning to fund your kid’s college education a year from now or you are looking to move out of your rented place and make the down payment of your new home in the near future, keep thosefunds in a savings account or in a money market fund. Stock markets are not the place for you.
If you will be needing money over the next five years you should consider secure, income-generating investments, such as bonds, certificates of deposits (CDs), and Treasuries. Treasury notes and bills are the safest, while CDs are very safe too provided they are insured by the FDIC. (Most are.)
Corporate bonds are relatively risky compared to bank deposits but will provide a better yield. If you are going to invest less than $30,000, a prudent way could be to own a bond mutual fund as an individual investor. Carefully consider your risk-reward profile while choosing between these investment options.
If you are not going to need your money for a period of at least five or more years, invest in the stock market. From 1926 to 2007 the average annual return on investments in large-cap stocks has been 10.4%. You cannot expect to earn anywhere near this kind of return from Treasury bills, government bonds or high quality corporate bonds. And you’ll need a higher return to stave off the effects of inflation on your cash.