No matter how you choose to save and invest, you are taking some type of risk. This is obvious if you are investing in stocks (including stock mutual funds), but it may be less obvious if you are simply keeping all of your money in a savings account. Stocks are clearly risky, since values can fluctuate dramatically. What you may need to think a bit more about is that if you keep all of your money in a savings account, you are taking the very real risk that after taxes and inflation, your savings will lose purchasing power over the years. One of the most important steps in developing an investment plan is to think clearly about risk, and decide what types of risks and how much of each type of risk it is appropriate for you to take.