DEAR HARRIETTE: I am about to reach five-figure savings. I've worked toward this goal for years through frugality and postponing pursuing my master's degree. I do not have a financial adviser of any kind, and I have just been letting the savings sit in a savings account. I look at online blogs about investing, and I feel like I would jeopardize my savings by trying to make more money investing in something I don't know much about. -- Sitting Duck Savings, Raleigh, North Carolina
DEAR SITTING DUCK SAVINGS: It is worth it for you to seek some financial advice for how to best leverage your savings. Financial professionals have been trained in low-risk to high-risk options for what to do with extra money. Since you are young, it is likely that you will be advised to put a certain amount of money in a higher-risk financial instrument because you can keep it there for some time. Some money will need to stay liquid, or immediately available to you, and other funds may go into an instrument that will yield a better return on investment than a savings account without creating the headache that you are looking to avoid. If you have a job where you are offered a 401(k) plan, for example, I'm sure you will be advised to match whatever your employer is putting in at the top level possible.
But that's just me, a layperson talking. Find a professional that you like. Start with your bank. Ask for a consultation, and listen to the options you are presented. Resist the urge to make a decision until you have heard several different companies' pitches. You can talk to insurance companies that also do investing, like Prudential or State Farm. You can go to strictly investment companies like Morgan Stanley or use a bank, any one from Chase to Citi to TD. Compare their suggestions, and select what makes you feel comfortable.