Whether you’ve suddenly come into some extra cash or have been steadily saving up for months, you may be wondering what it takes to start investing. The good news is that you, like millions of Americans hoping to start their investment journey, have a wide variety of options to explore. In fact, there are dozens of ways to start investing with just a little bit of seed money, with many of them requiring little effort on your part.
If you’re hoping to start investing, it’s important that you look toward the future. You’ll want to think carefully about your long-term financial goals, not just what will serve you now. You’ll also want to evaluate how much of your money you can afford to confidently invest. This mindset will ensure that you approach your investments strategically. And while you’re sure to run into some highs and lows during your investment journey, over the years you’ll learn more about risk and strategy, giving you the tools you need to move forward confidently in your investments. The chances of seeing a solid return on your investment are higher the earlier you begin.
Determining the best path toward investing can be difficult without first clarifying your goals. What is your end game when it comes to investing? What do you expect your wealth to be like in 10 years? How about 30 years? How much work are you willing to put into growing the wealth you envision for yourself? It is helpful to remember that wise investing doesn’t happen overnight. Every investor has to start somewhere.
Here are the best ways you can get started on your investing with just a little money to your name.
Investors have long sought the assistance of financial advisors to do their bidding. Not everyone is savvy when it comes to things like stocks and ETFs, which can make the entire process of investing a complicated one from the get-go. What’s more, over time, the costs associated with advisors and financial firms can really add up. Robo-advisors, on the other hand, do much of the same work for a fraction of the cost, making them one of the latest crazes in the world of finance. Robo-advisors can provide financial advice with little to no human intervention, instead relying on algorithms to guide users toward wise investment strategies. What’s more, investors don’t need much to get started. Between the guidance, low cost, and low barrier to entry, robo-advisors are a wonderful way to start building wealth, and one you should consider if minimal effort is what you’re striving for.
If you haven’t considered peer-to-peer lending (P2P) as a legitimate form of investing, you should. This type of lending is beneficial to both lender and borrower in more ways than one. How does it work? Investors lend money to qualified P2P borrowers, which can expect to pay a lower interest rate than they’d find through a bank or other lender. This offers investors a greater return on their money than they’d get by simply allowing it to sit in a regular savings account. There are a growing number of websites that connect borrowers to lenders, making peer-to-peer lending an increasingly accessible option.
Real Estate Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding is one way to get the money you need in the day and age of the Internet. Whether fundraising for charity or to help jumpstart an exciting, new business venture, crowdfunding is a popular way to get it done. This is true for investments, too. Real estate crowdfunding is becoming an increasingly popular method for investors to claim their stake without putting too much up front. With crowdfunding, real estate investors can put, say, $500 toward a property, joining other like-minded investors to share the profits later down the line.
There are several reasons why small investors often choose to start with mutual funds. For one, mutual funds allow investors to spread their money across a combination of stocks and bonds. Typically, investors are required to invest a larger sum of money to get started, which can be somewhere between $500 to $5,000 for some accounts. There are, however, some free options on the market, making mutual funds more accessible than ever before.
There was once a time when only the wealthy could afford to invest. That’s not true today. In fact, millions of small investors are now in the game thanks to an ever-growing amount of investment apps readily available for download. The best part is that there’s a different app for every type of investor, from beginners to crypto investors and those already well versed in stocks. Many apps even allow you to simply round up your spare change to be forwarded to an investment account. No matter your experience level, there’s an app out there for you. If you’re cautious about this type of investing, take comfort in the fact that there are many free options available to try out before committing. Many even have tools and resources to educate users before they begin.
High Yield Savings Account
While there is a significant difference between investing and saving, the two worlds converge when talking high yield savings accounts. A high yield savings account is a special kind of account that has the potential to yield as many as 20 to 25 times the national average of typical savings accounts. Although the highest rates can be found through online banks, you may be able to secure a solid high yield savings account through your current bank, making this one of the easiest and most convenient ways to invest.
Certificates of Deposit
Some people enjoy playing the market and taking some risk with their investing. However, there are also investors who prefer a safe bet. Certificates of Deposit, or CDs, remain one of the oldest and most sensible ways to invest, and they haven’t lost their luster over the years. For most investors, they yield predictable returns, which in and of itself is a big benefit. CDs work because they are offered through banks at a fixed rate. Once you agree to terms, the bank will lend out your money while your CD matures. While CDs yield lower returns than other forms of investing, it is low-risk and thus, a relatively safe option for careful investors.
Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plan
Saving for retirement can be a source of stress for many Americans, especially those with little idea of where to begin. Many people look to their employers to help them invest, which can be done through a 401(k) or Roth 401(k). These plans allow employees to automatically save for their retirement while enjoying benefits like matching contributions and tax breaks. A big perk of these employee-sponsored plans is that they can begin at an early age for a low amount, allowing young adults to begin investing for the future, as soon as they secure reliable employment. The sooner you become familiarized with your company’s 401(k) policy, the sooner you can begin strategically investing for your senior years. If you have trouble coming up with a reliable retirement plan, don’t be afraid to consider an advisor who can help you sort things out.
Gold & Other Precious Metals
While the fluctuating cost of gold might be a deterrent to some investors, there are those that find this ages-old symbol of wealth still appealing. There are different ways to invest in gold and precious metals. The first step is to evaluate your reasoning for investing in these in the first place. Whether it’s for return potential or to diversify your portfolio, your intent is key in how to proceed. From the purchase of physical gold bars and coins to investing in gold mining companies and gold-backed cryptocurrencies, you have several options when dealing in precious metals, some of which may yield significant returns. While gold can sometimes be a gamble, history tells us it can very well be a wise investment.
U.S. Treasury Securities
Investors don’t typically look to the Treasury for big returns on their investments, but savings bonds are another suitable option for those hoping for a relatively safe bet. Why? Because money put into a savings bond will earn some interest rather than just sit idly in an account gathering dust. You can start with as little as $100, and purchase at fixed rates with maturity periods ranging from 30 days to 30 years. These savings bonds can be purchased online through the U.S. Treasury’s savings bond portal, making the process convenient enough to appeal to a wide range of investors.
Stock options allow owners the right to buy or sell securities at a particular price, reducing risk exposure. These options yield real power in the financial realm, allowing investors to increase their net worth if done right. Offering stock options is becoming an increasingly common method of compensation for employees, too. While trading stock options is not a risk-proof practice, you can improve your chances of high returns if you do your research and buy and sell using strategy.
A solid alternative to stocks and bonds, commodities are another way investors are jumping in the game. Given that the price of commodities is dictated by supply and demand, this type of investment requires a greater amount of research. There are several ways to invest in commodities, including through the purchase of raw materials, or the more practical way – buying stocks and bonds of commodity producers. Whichever method you choose, commodities can be risky but may be a good option for your unique position.
There are many ways to begin investing. Which one is best for you will depend on your goals and your unique financial standing, as well as how much work you are willing to put into crafting your financial wealth. And while there are many routes you can take to begin building your investment portfolio, it’s important to approach the situation carefully. Determining which path is best for you will take a bit of research, confidence, and an open mind, but by approaching your investments with these three, you’ll have a decent shot at making wise choices that will positively impact your family’s future.