Coming from a non-advertising perspective (marketing guy with an MBA), the one thing that is underemphasized here is bonds. Companies borrow money from investors by issuing bonds that pay interest, which is typically higher than what banks offer. You mention them briefly, but to some people may sound like stocks, and the stock market is not the same thing as the bond market. Bonds can be a nice complement to stocks, and there are ETFs and mutual funds that allow you to diversify your risk in the same way as stock ETFs and funds. Start saving, and see a financial advisor (who is not me).