Likewise it's important to feel comfortable knowing that you should be investing in the markets for the medium to long term. That's generally regarded as 5 years plus. If you need ready access to your money then go for something which won't be as easily affected by outside events. While markets fluctuate and at times quite wildly they do tend to rise over time but that won't help you if you need to get your hands on your cash the day after tomorrow and the market's in freefall. That's simply because you're far less likely to panic if you see the price of your stocks fluctuate dramatically. Another basic is something you no doubt heard as a child - "never put all you eggs in one basket". It's as true today as it ever was and will be forever no doubt. Of course we all want to be in at the bottom of the latest, greatest stellar investment but to put all your cash into that one stock isn't investing its gambling. There are conflicting reports that Muslim and Jewish merchants in Cairo were the first to establish a stock market while the traditionalists maintain the oldest ones were actually in Italy and these are usually the starting point when considering a brief history of stock market trading. The 13th Century Italians almost certainly had the closest share trading markets to what we would recognize today. It's your cash that we are talking about here and no one will take care of it better than you. Another thing for you to keep in mind is that you should shop around for the best deal. And don't hesitate to haggle a bit with the banks and loan companies. Play them off against each other. No matter how good their offer sounds always tell them that you will need to think about it. While in college funds may be tight but the self discipline of providing for yourself in the future will be great way to learn the skills that you will also need in building your career. In fact investing money while in college has so many benefits that it should probably be included on the curriculum. So you can see that just like an auction where there are a lot of people who want what is on offer the price will increase to reflect that demand. Once you have grasped the concept of how the stock market works you can then begin to look at how to spot in advance whether there will be a rise or fall in demand for those stocks and shares that you are interested in.