The thought of investing can be intimidating, even downright scary if you’ve never done it. Add to that the fact that there’s rarely any money left at the end of the month and it’s no wonder why people put it off for so long.
The truth is, investing isn’t hard or complicated and you don’t need a lot of money to start. You can open an account with as little as $500, $50, even $0!
Something as important as saving for the future shouldn’t be ignored and thanks to technology there are plenty of easy and affordable ways you can start doing it today.
1. Micro-Investing Apps
If money’s tight or you’re not ready to commit to saving every month, micro-investment apps are a great way to try out investing without much risk.
Those thinking about stock picking should try the Stash app. With as little as $5 you can start buying fractional shares of stock in a variety of companies you’re probably familiar with. The monthly management fee is $1-$2 and you can buy as often as you like.
If you’re saving for a short term goal, the Acorns app can help reach it faster. Just connect your debit card to the app and Acorns will invest your spare change to a custom portfolio built just for you. There’s no minimum to get started and only costs $1 per month.
Robinhood is another app that gives you the opportunity to branch outside of simple stock investing and try options and crypto investing. There are no minimums or management fees making it a great app for the cautiously adventurous.
2. Your 401k
The easiest place to start investing for retirement with no money upfront is your employer’s 401k plan.
A 401k is a retirement account that gets special tax treatment. When you save in a 401k, that money goes in before taxes are taken out which, depending on your tax bracket, means you save around 25% more of every dollar than you would in a simple savings account.
You contribute to your 401k straight from your paycheck so you never see the money.
The best part about investing in your 401k is the employer match. Most employers match 401k contributions around 4-5% of your annual salary. That’s an instant raise! So if your budget is tight, start by investing in your employer’s 401k plan up to the match.
When you’re saving for something big like the downpayment on a house or you’re ready to invest beyond your 401k match but don’t know where to invest, look to a robo-advisor.
Having access to a trustworthy financial advisor used to be expensive and hard to find. Robo-advisors are digital platforms that use technology to eliminate the high fees and commissions of traditional advisors while keeping the personalized advice they’re useful for.
Take M1 Finance as an example, it’s easy to navigate online platform asks you questions about your finances and goals and its algorithm builds a custom portfolio for you with no trading fees or commissions. And you can open an account with as little as $100 or an IRA with $500.
If you’re really short on cash, you can start investing with SoFi for just $1 with no management fees. SoFi lets you set up saving goals and customizes your portfolio to meet them.
Betterment is another robo-advisor that for a reasonable .25% annual fee will build you a portfolio based on your goals and recommend how much to save to meet them. You can open an account with $0 and set up automatic investments or invest flexibly on your own schedule.
Start Investing With (Almost) No Money
Now that you know the possibilities there’s no excuse to not start saving for retirement.
Micro-investing apps are a great low-risk way to explore the stock market. Your 401k has an instant return with your employer’s match and robo-advisors offer guidance and customization beyond your 401k.
So get out of your comfort zone and begin investing with one of these easy methods. No matter how much or little you start with, your future self will thank you.