So you’ve decided to put away some savings. Great choice. It’s never too soon to start.

A lot of Americans don’t have any savings, and many don’t have enough to last them through their retirement years, so you’re smart to make this decision.

But where should you put the money? Here’s how you can make good choices.

Remind yourself why you’re saving

There are lots of general reasons to save, of course, but look at your life and make a list of the specific reasons you’re saving money.

Perhaps it’s for medical costs you foresee, or home improvements you might like to make. Maybe you know you’ll need some cash to help take care of a loved one. Or maybe you’re just saving for an awesome around-the-world trip you want to take for your 50th birthday.

Divide your list into short-term and long-term savings goals, to help you decide what type of account to put the money in. Retirement, of course, would go in a long-term savings account with a flexible deadline for withdrawing the money.

Vacation money, though, might go in a short-term savings account with a hard deadline for liquidity.

These guidelines tell you which accounts provide a good return based on your needs. And if you need more encouragement, check out more reasons why it’s smart to save.

Do your research

Read up on the nitty-gritty of each type of savings account. Different kinds of accounts have different withdrawal requirements and timelines, and you don’t want to get stuck needing your savings but being unable to withdraw money from the bank.

Whether you choose a simple savings account, a money market account, the stock market, a certificate of deposit (CD), a treasury or a bond, you’ll need to look carefully and fully at how your savings needs match up with the individual parameters of each type of account.

Don’t make a split-second decision. Consult your spouse, or sit down with a financial advisor or a money-savvy friend if you have questions.

Watch and see what your money does

Once you’ve started putting some money away, watch it and see how your savings grow.

If it’s in the stock market, you’ll want to pay attention to the ups and downs there with these tips for tracking your stock portfolio.

Just because you’ve put the money into an account doesn’t mean you can turn your back and forget about it. Keep an eye on what it’s doing and make a change if necessary.

It’s your money. Take care of it and mind what it does.

The bottom line

Congratulations on your wise choice to save. Here are some bonus tips from Consumer Reports about where to put your money and why.

Happy saving!

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