How to Invest Money: Smart Ways to Get Started
While investing anything from small amounts of money, to very large amounts of money, can reap big rewards, all investing should be thoroughly thought out. Regardless of the price tag on your investment, you need to ensure that you’ve done enough research to invest safely.
A lot of people who are new to investing think it’s only fit for the business executives and the ultra-wealthy. This is a massive misconception. People from all different socioeconomic backgrounds and walks of life invest every day, helping them to build a more stable financial future.
It’s all about building wealth, and committing to smart habits. If you’re not making millions, you can start by switching out your $5 weekly coffee, for a $5 weekly investment. Sure, home-brewed might not taste as great as your local coffee house, but watching your money grow over time sure does.
There are many ways to invest, and we’re going to give an overview of four smart ways that you can start investing today.
The Cookie Jar
The cookie jar approach is not a return on investment, it’s an exercise for you to get used to making smart and healthy habits with your money. Before you can make an investment, you first have to have savings. These savings should not be linked to any ‘emergency funds’, it should be a separate amount, which will not harm your livelihood if you lose it.
Depending on your income, you can start by putting money into your ‘cookie jar’ every week. If you’re on a lower income, maybe $5, or $10 is all you can currently afford. While this doesn’t seem like much, over the course of one year, it can amount to $250, or $500.
Now, if you’re more of a visual learner, and you need to see progress more literally, then perhaps a literal cookie jar might be good for you. This way you can watch the money pile up, encouraging you to be thriftier.
For those who do not need that immediate visual cue, you can opt for a typical online savings account. This will be separate from all of your other accounts (like your checking account), and allow you to begin saving for an actual investment.
Get a robo-advisor to invest your money
Another common step is to get a robo-advisor. They’ve been around for over a decade, and they make investing simple and accessible. They’re great for those who do not have any prior experience with investing because they take away much of the guesswork.
A robo-advisor will ask you a few questions to gauge your goal determination and your risk tolerance, and then they will invest your money for you. This is usually done in the form of a highly diverse low-cost portfolio of bonds, and stocks. To ensure that your portfolio is continually rebalanced, and optimized for taxes, robo-advisors use algorithms. It’s one of the simplest ways to invest because you’re using a professional to do the grunt work for you. It’s also a safe way to ‘learn on the job’.
The kicker is that robo-advisors are not free. Usually, they require around $500 to start the investment process. But this isn’t always the case, and some robo-advisors charge as little as $100.
However, there’s also the annual fee to consider. This is often equal to a small percentage of your balance. The good news is, that it isn’t a crazy amount. The average is 0.25%.
Let’s say you make a $10,000 investment. The annual fee you would be paying is $25. It’s often pretty affordable. However, if you plan on making much larger investments, then the numbers start ticking up. So, there are pros and cons.
Invest in the stock market
Another smart way to begin investing your money is to invest in the stock market.
Traditionally, it was thought that investing in the stock market was an opportunity fit for only the wealthiest of the population. And while many wealthy people do invest in the stock market, it is no longer limited to this select few.
Why is that?
Well, you have the internet to thank. Now it’s not only easier to learn about the stock market, but it’s also way easier to buy and sell shares. Consumers can get started with only a small amount of upfront money. Which means you don’t have to make large, lump-sum investments. You can start with very small investments and learn about the stock market, without having to take crazy risks.
It used to be that stockbrokers charged commissions every time you bought or sold any stock. It was cost-prohibitive to invest in stock with less than hundreds, or even thousands of dollars. Now, you could invest as little as $1 in stock, without being charged for trade commissions. This means it’s more accessible to invest in the stock market, and you can do so with very low risk.
What’s more, you no longer have to invest a full share of a single company. Instead, you can invest in fractional shares or partial shares. If you invest in a fractional share, you can diversify your portfolio for a very low cost, often helping you save money. So, if you wanted to invest in Apple or Samsung, it’s easy to get a fractional share for a few dollars, instead of the hundreds, or possibly thousands, that a full share might cost.
Invest in low-initial-investment mutual funds
Another smart option for investing your money is to invest in mutual funds. These are investment securities that let you buy shares or partial shares in many different kinds of stocks and bonds, in just a single transaction.
The only issue with mutual fund investments is that the companies require an initial minimum investment. In many cases, this can be between $500 and $5,000. There is a loophole, however, if you don’t have that much in savings.
Certain mutual fund companies allow you to make automatic monthly investments, and by committing to these monthly investments, they will waive the minimum account fee. This is a great option if you don’t have the minimum account, but you’re certain that you have enough income to make monthly investments. Generally speaking, this could be from $50 to $100, so this can be a more accessible option for many.
While automatic investing is common with mutual fund companies and ETF IRA accounts, you’re unlikely to see it being offered on taxable accounts. It is, however, a very convenient method of investing your money. You can even do it through your payroll savings if you prefer.
Investing your money does not have to be difficult, nor does it have to be dangerous.
Often, playing it safe can really just mean that you’re comfortable and confident with the decisions you’re making. You understand how it works, and you’re not putting yourself in financial trouble. If investing comes at the expense of regular bills or your overall financial stability, now is maybe not the best time to invest. It could be the time to take a look at cookie jar saving and get accustomed to the process of saving before you invest.
Whatever you choose, we hope that you’ve found our article helpful. We have plenty of articles on investing in art, so be sure to check those out.