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Think of the various types of investments as tools that can help you achieve your financial goals. Each broad investment typefrom bank products to stocks and bondshas its own general set of features, risk factors and ways in which they can be used by investors.

Learn more about the various types of investments below.

When you buy shares of a companys stock, you own a piece of that company. Stocks come in a wide variety, and they often are described based the companys size, type, performance during market cycles and potential for short- and long-term growth. Learn more about your choicesfrom penny-stocks to large caps and more.

A bond is a loan an investor makes to an organization in exchange for interest payments over a specified term plus repayment of principal at the bonds maturity date. Learn how corporate, muni, agency, Treasury and other types of bonds work.

Fundssuch as mutual funds, closed-end funds and exchange-traded fundspool money from many investors and invest it according to a specific investment strategy. Funds can offer diversification, professional management and a wide variety of investment strategies and styles. But not all funds are the same. Understand how they work, and research fund fees and expenses.

Banks and credit unions can provide a safe and convenient way to accumulate savingsand some banks offer services that can help you manage your money. Checking and savings accounts offer liquidity and flexibility. Find out more about these and other bank products.

Options are contracts that give the purchaser the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a security, such as a stock or exchange-traded fund, at a fixed price within a specific period of time. It pays to learn about different types of options, trading strategies and the risks involved.

An annuity is a contract between you and an insurance company, in which the company promises to make periodic payments, either starting immediatelycalled an immediate annuityor at some future timea deferred annuity. Learn about the different types of annuities.

Numerous types of investments come into play when saving for retirement and managing income once you retire. For saving, tax-advantaged retirement options such as a 401(k) or an IRA can be a smart choice. Managing retirement income may require moving out of certain investments and into ones that are better suited to a retirement lifestyle.

Funding education begins with savings. Learn smart ways to save, including 529 Education Savings Plans and Education Savings Accounts. Well help you navigate your savings options.

These products include notes with principal protection and high-yield bonds that have lower credit ratings and higher risk of default than traditional investments, but offer more attractive rates of return. Learn about their features, risks and potential advantages.

These are speculative investments that come with significant uncertainty and many risks. Before you consider an investment in ICOs or cryptocurrencies, learn more.

Commodity futures contracts are agreements to buy or sell a specific quantity of a commodity at a specified price on a particular date in the future. Commodities include metals, oil, grains and animal products, as well as financial instruments and currencies. With limited exceptions, trading in futures contracts must be executed on the floor of a commodity exchange.

Federal regulations permit trading in futures contracts on single stocks, also known as single stock futures, and certain security indices. Learn more about security futures, how they differ from stock options and the risks they can pose.

Life insurance products come in various forms, including term life, whole life and universal life policies. There also are variations on thesevariable life insurance and variable universal lifewhich are considered securities. See how insurance products may fit into an overall financial plan.

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