Saving & Investing: Tools & Calculators Back »

Written by Carrie Johnson (former SDSU Extension Family Resource Management Specialist).


Both saving and investing are important parts of your financial life. While many people think that these are the same things, they are two completely different concepts. Here are a few things to consider about the difference between saving and investing.

Saving is what people usually do to meet short-term goals. Money is safe and typically earns a small amount of interest in a low risk account. It is easy to get to when you need it (liquid).

Investing helps you reach your long term financial goals. There are no guarantees it will grow as it rises and falls, but over the long run, can earn a lot more than a basic savings account. Investing is a different process that involves trying to grow your money. By investing, you put your money into a certain type of security so that it can be used. In return for your decision to invest, you are going to be provided with a greater return.

The following calculators will help you determine how fast your money will grow by choosing a specific type of account.

Savings Tools & Calculators

  • Saving for a Goal (VISA): Determine how much to set aside on an ongoing basis in order to meet your financial goal.
  • Simple Savings Calculator (Bankrate)
  • Savings Calculator (FINRA): shows you how a consistent approach to investing can make your money grow.
  • Emergency Fund (VISA): See how much you need to put aside for an emergency fund. Save three to six months of living expenses with easy access in the event of unemployment, illness or a major unplanned expense
  • How Much Will My Savings Grow? (VISA): Compound interest can have a dramatic effect on the growth of a series of regular savings and initial lump sum deposits. Determine the future value of your savings and lump sum.

Investment Tools & Calculators

  • Should I Pay Down Debt Or Invest My Monthly Surplus? (VISA): Need to analyze your current situation? When you have surplus cash on hand, determine whether to use it for investment purposes or pay down your debt.
  • Accrued Interest Calculator (FINRA): Interest on a bond accrues between regularly scheduled payments. To find out how much interest is owed on a given bond. Select the appropriate bond type to figure accrued interest for corporate and municipal bonds or government bonds. Interest for corporate and municipal bonds is calculated using a 360-day year. Interest for government bonds is calculated using a 365-day year.
  • Investment goals calculator (Bankrate): Calculate your investment earnings
  • CD Calculator (Bankrate): Helps you find out how much interest is earned on a certificate of deposit (CD).
  • CD & Investments Calculator (Bankrate): Use ‘CD Laddering’ to get high yields and sufficient access to your cash. CD laddering is a good option for a savings portfolio that will deliver both interest income and available cash.
  • Retirement Planner (Bankrate): is available to help you create your retirement plan. View your retirement savings balance and your withdrawals for each year until the end of your retirement.
  • 401(k) Save the Max Calculator (FINRA): Use this to determine if you are on track to ‘save the max’ in your 401(k) in 2013.
  • Inflation Calculator from the US Department of Labor helps you easily find out how the buying power of the dollar has changed over the years.
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