Everyone has to get started somewhere and even though most investment brokerage firms prefer large investors, there are ways that you can get started investing today with just $100– sometimes less.
If you are new to investing, the most important obstacle is just getting started. This is particularly difficult if you are young, or having difficulty saving up the many thousands of dollars that you think you’ll need to get started. But you can start investing now with what amounts to little more than pocket money.
Here are some ways that you can get started investing.
1. Start with the best retirement plans first.
If you have an employer-sponsored retirement plan at work – like a 401(k) or a 403(b) – this is an excellent way to begin your investing future since you don’t need any money upfront to get this rolling. Since employer retirement plans are funded out of payroll deductions, you can simply begin building up your account with small contributions.
If you don’t have an employer-sponsored plan, you could always start your own individual retirement arrangement (IRA), or it’s non-tax-deductible variant, the Roth IRA. Either will give you an opportunity to save as much as $6,000 ($7,000 if you are age 50 or older) per year (as of the time of this writing), and some investment brokers will allow you to open an IRA with no minimum upfront deposit.
2. Invest into mutual funds.
Though most mutual fund companies will require a minimum upfront investment of $500 or more, there are some that will allow you to start an account with no more than $100.
Schwab S&P 500 Index Fund (Symbol: SWPPX) through Charles Schwab requires an upfront minimum of just $100. However, after making the initial investment, you will be required to invest at least $100 each month thereafter. And again, you can accomplish this through payroll savings contributions.
If you want to invest in mutual funds, be sure to do research into funds that will allow you to invest with small minimums. The list changes periodically, as different funds become more aggressive in regard to attracting new business. The fund with a minimum upfront of $1,000 today could lower the requirement to $100 a month down the road.
3. Try direct stock purchase plans (DSPPs).
You may also have the option to invest directly in stocks themselves through a Direct Stock Purchase Plan, or DSPP. These are companies that allow you to purchase stock directly from them, without the need to buy them through – or hold them with – a third party brokerage firm.
You can get into a plan by buying a small number of shares in the company, and then setting up a contribution plan to purchase more stock in the future.
The fees to buy stock through DSPs are low, but they can be prohibitive if in the future you decide to sell the stock through the company. For this reason, any stock you buy through a DSPP should be one that you plan to hold for a very long period of time – say, at least 10 years.
You can find companies offering DSPs through the Computershare website. They have a list of several hundred companies, along with the terms for each as well as direct contact information.
4. Set up an account with Betterment.
Betterment presents a real opportunity if you would prefer to invest your money in a professionally managed online brokerage account. You can set up an account with as little as $25, and there is no minimum balance requirement. Even better, you can trade funds in the account and there are no transaction fees. This is perfectly suited for the small or upstart investor.
Betterment doesn’t invest your money in individual stocks, but in exchange traded funds (ETFs) that represent specific investment vehicles, like stocks and bonds. In fact, you don’t even have to make individual investment selections. You indicate your level of investment risk tolerance – somewhere between conservative and aggressive – and Betterment makes investment recommendations based on where you fall on the scale.
5. Open a money market or savings account and increase your nest egg.
There’s no doubt that there are investment options available even to the very small investor. But it’s also important to realize that your choices are fairly limited. You will not be able to invest in 99% of the mutual funds and ETFs that are available in the market with just $100. And it’s very difficult to achieve necessary diversification in individual stocks unless you have several thousand dollars.
You always have an option if you want to put off investing until you have more money – and more choices. You can open up a money market fund or a savings account, and begin accumulating money there until you have an amount that is sufficient for the types of investments that you want to get into. You can also use payroll deductions to build up these accounts.
Even with that in mind, it still may be better to start investing with however little money you have available right now. Like any other money making venture in life, investing requires a certain amount of experience. You should want to begin getting that experience right now – even if you only have $100. And not only will you gain valuable experience, but if you’re going to lose money it’s better to do it with $100 than with $100,000.
By the time you reach a $100,000 portfolio, you’ll have enough experience that you may be able to avoid some of the worst losses.
Article originally published on SeedTime.com and is being used with permission. Copyright 2019.
Bob Lotich is the founder of SeedTime.com: an award-winning financial blog focusing on money-management and debt-elimination using timeless Biblical principles. Bob’s writing and advice has been featured in Kiplingers, Yahoo Finance, Forbes, and many others. Visit SeedTime.com to take the FREE email course to help you master your money using Biblical principles.