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How to invest

Make a plan to reach your goal

6 minute read

Studies show that people are more successful when they set goals for themselves. Making a plan is as easy as asking yourself 4 questions.

Common goals & their average costs

  • 5% down payment on a home: $10,475.
  • Wedding: $29,858.
  • New car: $34,367.

Sources: National Association of Realtors as of December 2014 (median existing-home price), theknot.com as of 2013 (average wedding cost), and Kelley Blue Book as of December 2014 (average new car price).

How much do I need?

You'll want to have an amount to work toward, so do some research to figure out what your goal will cost.

When do I need it?

Most savings goals will have some flexibility, but it's still a good idea to have a target date in mind. This will hold you accountable—and give you the motivation to stay on track.

How should I invest my money?

You can earn money on your savings while they're invested, which will help you reach your goal amount even faster. But which investments you choose depends on your particular situation.

Get help finding investments for your goal

What will it take to meet my deadline?

It's easy to estimate how much you'll have to put away in order to reach your goal by your target date. Just take the total amount you need to save and divide it by the number of months (or weeks, or years—however often you plan to contribute money) between now and your deadline.

If you have an idea of the types of investments you'll choose, you can get a more exact number by using the calculator below.

See what it will take to meet your goal


All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.

Ready to start saving?

New to Vanguard?


We're here to help

Talk with one of our investment specialists

Call 800-891-5355

Monday through Friday

Ready to start saving?

New to Vanguard?


We're here to help

Talk with one of our investment specialists

Call 800-891-5355

Monday through Friday