If you’ve found your way here, chances are you’ve either got some money socked away or you’re planning to do so. But first things first. Why is investing a smart idea?Simply put, you want to invest in order to create wealth. It’s relatively painless, and the rewards are plentiful. By investing in the stock market, you’ll have a lot more money for things like retirement, education, recreation — or you could pass on your riches to the next generation so that you become your family’s Most Cherished Ancestor. Whether you’re starting from scratch or have a few thousand dollars saved, Investing Basics will help get you going on the road to financial (and Foolish!) well-being.Know your goalsWhat are you saving for? Retirement? College for the kids? A new speaker system complete with woofers and tweeters? An exotic animal menagerie complete with Chihuahuas (woofers) and canaries (tweeters)? A retirement villa in the sun-baked hills of Tuscany?Say you take $2,000 of your savings and put it into the stock market. If your money returned 10% a year (the S&P 500’s historical average), two grand would be worth $34,898.80 after 30 years. That might not get you the perfect retirement home, but it’ll at least give you a down payment.