For many young professionals, the idea of investing money can seem very intimidating. Many people believe you need large sums of money to start investing, but this simply isn’t true – you can start with as little as $100 and take steps to grow your wealth.
Investment is an opportunity that everyone can and should take advantage of. When you don’t invest your money, you’re missing out on the chance to secure your financial future. The beauty of investing is that there are so many different ways to do it. With a little bit of creativity and savviness, you can start making money quickly with just $100.
1. Micro-Investment Apps
One of the best ways to start investing your money is by using apps. In recent years, several different apps have hit the market that are designed to streamline the investment process and make it more accessible for the average consumer. These micro-investment apps have changed the way people think about investing, particularly for millennials and even Gen Z.
With these apps, you’ll create an account and decide how much you want to invest – many of these apps will let you start with far less than $100. Then, the app will walk you through the process of investing your money, helping you build a portfolio based on your interests and your risk tolerance. Depending on the app, you may have to readjust your investments every so often, but in many cases, the app will handle it for you. You don’t have to be a financial expert to use these apps – they generally provide the tools and information to get started as a complete beginner.
There are plenty of micro-investment apps to choose from, each with their own unique features. Here are some of the most popular and what to expect from them.
This was one of the earliest micro-investment apps to hit the market, and it’s still one of the most popular. Acorns rounds up the money you spend on daily purchases and puts that extra change towards your investment account. You’ll only need $5 to start investing. The Acorns app manages your entire portfolio for you, so it’s a low-stress experience.
If you’re looking for an app that’s slightly more advanced than Acorns, Robinhood could be the right fit for you. Robinhood lets you trade both fractional and full shares of stocks and ETFs, but there’s still no minimum investment amount. They also offer free trades, so it’s a good option for active traders who want to be more involved with their investments. While Robinhood is slightly more complex than other micro-investment apps, they still offer plenty of educational content to help you learn more about good investing practices.
This is another investment app that is great for beginners, as there are no account minimums. With Stash, you can purchase fractional shares of ETFs and stocks, so you can invest in high-profile companies without a huge amount of capital. While they don’t manage your profile for you, they do provide extensive educational content to help you select your investments, so it’s still accessible for beginners. Stash also has savings and budgeting features to help you manage every aspect of your finances.
This is a good option for those who want to put their investments in the hands of experts. Betterment’s lower tier has no account minimums, although they do have a yearly management fee of 0.25%. They have a wide range of investment options available, including the option to invest in fractional shares. When you sign up, you’ll provide Betterment with information about your goals, risk tolerance, and other investment preferences. Then, Betterment’s robo-advisor service will manage your investments automatically, rebalancing your portfolio as needed to ensure that it is diversified.
These are just a few of the most popular micro-investing apps that have hit the market in recent years. New investment apps are released frequently, so it’s worth researching each one on your own to see who can offer you the best value.
2. Buying Fractional Shares of Stocks
Full shares of popular stocks can be incredibly expensive, with prices hitting hundreds or even thousands of dollars. This turns many people off of investing, but the truth is that you don’t need to buy a full share to invest in a company.
You can purchase fractional shares of these stocks instead, which means that you’ll purchase a percentage of a full share at a lower price. Not every company offers fractional shares of their stocks, but many do as a result of mergers, acquisitions, or stock splits. You cannot trade fractional shares on the open market – you’ll need to go through a brokerage service that offers them. Luckily, there are plenty of services available today that will let you invest in fractional shares right from your phone.
We’ve already mentioned that Robinhood, Stash, and Betterment give you the option to trade fractional shares. Other popular apps that will let you trade fractional shares include M1 Finance, Public, and Stockpile. Not only do these services make it easy for you to invest fractional shares, but they also provide plenty of guidance to help you build a diverse portfolio.
3. Opening A High Yield Savings Account Online
A savings account may not be the most glamorous way to invest your money, but it’s one of the easiest and most reliable for those who are starting small. While all savings accounts will yield a small return over time, there are some banks that stand out because of the high interest rates they offer for a savings account. These banks are online, so it’s easy to create an account and get started.
There are several online banks that offer these high interest rates, so it’s hard to go wrong. Here are some of the top online high yield savings accounts.
This online bank is known for their Savings Builder account, which offers 0.55% APY and no maintenance fees. They have an opening deposit requirement of $100, and you’ll need to continue making deposits to get the highest possible interest rate.
MINIMUM DEPOSIT TO OPEN AN ACCOUNT
Axos Bank is known for having one of the highest interest rates for an online savings account, at 0.90% APY. They have no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements to maintain this rate either. However, they do have a slightly higher opening balance requirement of $250.
MINIMUM DEPOSIT TO OPEN AN ACCOUNT
Discover offers excellent rates of 0.60% for both their online savings account and their certificate of deposits. They have a very sophisticated mobile app that you can use to manage your account on the go. They also don’t have any minimum balance requirements, and they don’t charge monthly fees.
This high interest savings account has a rate of 0.75% APY with no maintenance fees. You’ll only need $10 to open an account, although you’ll need at least $100 to start earning interest. You can manage your account entirely online, but they pride themselves on offering the standout customer service that you would expect from a bank in person.
MINIMUM DEPOSIT TO OPEN AN ACCOUNT
INTEREST RATE ON BALANCE
Up to 2.8% APY when you make at least five debit card purchases and receive at least $1,000 in direct deposits during the month if you have at least $10,000 in your savings account. All other Varo Bank Account holders receive 1.21% APY on their checking account balance.
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Varo is an online bank that offers huge potential for savings. Their high yield accounts have no minimum balance and offer a 0.81% APY interest rate. However, if you meet certain qualifying criteria, you can earn as much as 2.80% APY, which can result in significant gains. They don’t charge any monthly fees, and their app has savings and budgeting tools to help you do more with your money.
While high-yield savings accounts don’t generate the same large returns that you would get from investing in stocks, they are a very low risk way to boost your savings. If you don’t currently have any savings, putting your money into one of these accounts is a great way to get started. Once you have a robust amount of savings built up, you can broaden your horizons with other investments.
4. Use Robo-Advisors To Build A Portfolio
If you’d like to have a full, diverse portfolio of investments, but don’t have the time or knowledge to build it yourself, consider using a robo-advisor. Robo-advisors are digital tools that are designed to replace the services of a financial advisor. They use complex algorithms to select the right investment options for you and maintain your portfolio. Some robo-advisors also give you the option to connect with a professional financial advisor, but most are entirely digital.
Robo-advisors are great because they minimize your risk while still offering plenty of opportunity for growth. You’ll tell the robo-advisor what your financial goals are and how much money you can contribute, and they’ll use that information combined with the latest market knowledge to select your investments, which you can then adjust if needed. The best thing about robo-advisors is that they’ll monitor your investments for you and adjust them to fit the current market and maximize your portfolio’s growth. This means you won’t have to worry about constantly checking your investments on your own. You’ll be able to connect the robo-advisor to your bank account and contribute a designated amount each month to your portfolio.
Many of today’s most popular robo-investors have initial investment minimums of $100 or less, making it easy to start building a portfolio without much money. We’ve already mentioned Betterment, which is a great robo-advisor for beginners. Here are some of our other favorite robo-advisors that will allow you to start with less than $100.
M1 Finance is a robo-advisor that provides excellent educational tools for new investors. When you start, you’ll create a ‘pie’ to represent the different types of investments you would like in your portfolio. They have several pre-made pies to choose from, or you can create your own based on the investment options they have. They offer both ETFs and stocks as investment options.
Wealthsimple’s entry-level plan is a great option for beginning investors, with no minimum investment requirements. They’ll automatically rebalance your portfolio and reinvest your dividends for you, and they even offer tax loss harvesting to maximize your growth. Wealthsimple also stands out because they offer socially responsible investment opportunities, so you can choose a portfolio that aligns with your values. Wealthsimple does have slightly higher management fees than some other robo-investors, but they do provide excellent long-term value.
Ally is a bank with a nationwide presence, and they offer a wide variety of financial services – including their robo-advisor. They have an investment minimum of $100 and offer professionally designed and managed portfolios. They’ll take into account your risk tolerance and overall investment goals.
5. Peer-to-Peer Lending Platforms
Peer-to-peer lending platforms allow consumers to obtain loans directly from other individuals, instead of going through a bank or other financial institutions. Many people choose to borrow from P2P lending platforms because they can have lower interest rates and more flexible payment plans than other lenders.
As an investor, you can actually contribute to these loans and reap the financial benefits in the form of interest. You don’t have to fund an entire loan – instead, you’ll fund part of a loan, sometimes in increments as low as $25. You’ll earn returns when borrowers pay back the loan. While the returns may not be as high as investing in the stock market, it’s less of a financial risk, and you’ll get higher returns than you would with a savings account.
Peer-to-peer lending platforms have become increasingly popular over the last several years, and there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are a few of the top P2P lending sites for new investors.
LendingClub is one of the most established peer-to-peer lending programs in the US. You can invest in increments as low as $25, and you can spread your investment across multiple loans to reduce your risk. Returns typically range between 4 and 7 percent.
Prosper is very similar to LendingClub. They both over investments as low as $25 and you can spread them across multiple loans. When you first create your account, you’ll be able to create a fully diversified portfolio of loans you would like to invest in, and then you can set up monthly contributions to your account. Prosper advertises returns as high as 5.2 percent.
Upstart is a lender that uses AI technology to find reliable borrowers, and they pride themselves on having a large percentage of loans that are current or fully paid. Upstart requires a minimum deposit of $100 to start investing, and their returns range from approximately 3 to 10 percent, depending on the terms of the loan you contribute to.
6. Open An IRA
If you don’t already have an IRA account set up, you can use your $100 to open one and start investing. There are many banks and financial institutions that offer IRAs, so you won’t have to go far to find plenty of options. These accounts will help you save for retirement by investing your money in a portfolio of your choice. Typically, you’ll be able to choose from a wide variety of options, including stocks, ETFs, bonds, CDs, and more, and you’ll be able to choose your investments based on your personal risk tolerance. Most financial institutions offer professional guidance to help new investors select the right option for their needs.
There are a few different types of IRAs available, and what differentiates them is the way they are taxed. With a traditional IRA, your earnings will grow tax-deferred until you start withdrawing them in retirement, at which point they will be taxed. With a Roth IRA, you’ll pay taxes on the money when you contribute it, but then you will be able to withdraw it tax free later in life. You’ll want to set up monthly contributions to your IRA, and aim to contribute the maximum amount that is legally allowed. This will set you up well for retirement in the future.
7. Contribute to your 401(k)
If your employer has a 401(k) plan option, you can also opt to contribute to your money to that savings account instead of an IRA. Typically, you would contribute to your 401(k) plan with money automatically withheld from your paycheck. However, you can make contributions at any time to meet your retirement goals more quickly. Many employers also opt to match 401(k) contributions as well up to a certain limit.
401(k) contributions are not taxed until they are later withdrawn in retirement. Just as with an IRA, you can choose between a traditional or Roth 401(k) plan. With a Roth 401(k), you’ll pay taxes on initial contributions, but you won’t be taxed in retirement. There are more restrictions surrounding a 401(k) than there are for an IRA. For example, 401(k) plans usually have restrictions on when you can withdraw money, and you may not have as many investment options as you would with an IRA. However, it’s still a great place to invest any extra money you may have.
8. Invest In Your Business
If you have your own business, consider investing your $100 to help grow your career and increase your income. Investing in your business is always a great decision, because it can help you grow your income in the future. There are so many ways that you can invest in your business, whether that’s through advertising, new technology, new talent, or something else entirely.
If you don’t currently have a business, consider using your $100 to boost your career in some way. One of the best ways to do this is through education. Consider spending the money on a course or a conference where you can learn new skills and meet other professionals that may help you grow in your career.
For many people, investment seems like a daunting challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. Don’t let a lack of capital hold you back from investing your money and growing your wealth in the future. There are so many investment opportunities that you can take advantage of with just $100 or less. That $100 could be the first step towards meeting your financial goals.