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Preparing for the future is an important part of anyone’s financial wellbeing. Investing and saving are two of the best ways to secure your financial future. Many investment options require a fair amount of money in order to start out though. The most well-known options for savings are the ones that require a lot of money.
To help anyone and everyone start investing in their future we have created a list of savings and investment options that don’t require you to have a lot of money to start up.
Standard Savings Account
A standard savings account is easy to set up and many people already have them. However, they are not using them to their full potential. Even a small investment of $5-$10 a week can start to add up over time. While you may not get a high-interest rate, you can often avoid fees by attaching the account to your checking account. For small amounts of money, paying fees can feel like it is counterproductive, and it can be.
Pay Off Any Debt
Debt incurs interest rates and the more debt that you have, the more money that you are losing every month when interest gets added on. If you are able to pay off debt any quicker with that small amount of money you invest you will instead have more money available sooner. Debt will also impact your credit score which will make it harder to get certain financial accounts, buy houses, and other financial practices.
You might not even be able to get an apartment rental. Having outstanding balances can really affect many aspects of your life.
DRIP – Direct Reinvestment Plans
Many major corporations that are traded on the stock market offer the ability to buy small amounts of stock from a company at a time. You will only need between $20 and $30 to get started. When you get your regular dividend, you can reinvest it into more stock. Most of the DRIP accounts even allow you to set up automatic reinvestment into more stock. It may be slow but you will start to build up as time goes by.
Thousands of different options are available for both DRIP plans and DIrect Stock Purchase Plans (DSPP). The best part about it? You get to bypass brokers and other third parties to buy the stock directly. That means that you won’t need to pay commissions or any fees.
Motif is a platform that uses mini-mutual funds that are created by users on the website. The name Motif, is actually the type of mini-mutual fund that you are working with. A great feature of this website is that it shows what Motifs are doing really well each week and which ones are doing the worst. You can get an idea of what to invest in and what not to invest in.
Hundreds of Motifs exist on the website and you are free to choose which ones you want. You can also have the company use their professionals to help build a portfolio that is customized for you.
With a minimum investment of $250 a Motif isn’t the lowest cost investment option you have, but that $250 can perform really well depending on how it is invested. There is also a $9.95 transaction fee whenever you make a transaction.
Employer Sponsored Retirement
If you aren’t already taking advantage of your employer sponsored retirement plan (i.e. 401K) then you should be doing that. These retirement plans are almost always taken out of your paycheck pre-tax. In most cases, investment can be between 1% and 20%. For most people who are looking for small investments this small amount of your paycheck is optimal. Throughout the life of your investing, you can change the amount you want to invest every month up to the limit. As time goes by, these investments tend to perform very well. It is one of the best ways to save money that is only for retirement (with a few exceptions).
If your employer offers any type of investment matching, you need to be taking advantage of the plan. Otherwise, that is free money that you are passing up. Some employers offer up to 100% matching. Often times, these accounts can have enough to retire on if you continue to invest.
Acorns is a small amount investment platform. You can start with as little as $5. The money that you put into Acorns is invested into smart portfolios based on the amount of risk that you are willing to take on. From conservative to risky. One key feature of Acorns is that they take spare change from your bank account and round it up. So, every time you spend a portion of a dollar, Acorns rounds that dollar point up and invests it. You can also make one-time investments and weekly investments.
Fees are very low compared to other investing platforms. Any account with less than $5,000 has a fee of $1/month. Accounts with more than $5,000 have a fee of 0.25%.
The one thing about Acorns is that it is built to be a mobile first investment platform. They released their platform first with only being able to access Acorns on an iPhone or Android device, now you can access it on the internet.
Peer-To-Peer Lending (P2P Lending)
Lending from one person to another is a great way to make money off of the interest. There are a variety of websites that can be used to help you connect with people looking for lenders. Prosper and Lending Club are just two examples of these kinds of websites. A lot of people who participate in peer-to-peer lending use the interest that is earned through the lending, to invest in new loans. The more loans you have going, the more interest you build up. However, there is always risk involved. Most of these platforms allow you to choose from safe lending to more risky lending, depending on the amount of risk vs. reward that you want to take on.
Depending on where you live, peer-to-peer lending might not be an option for you. Some states require a minimum monthly income and net worth before allowing people to participate in peer to peer lending. Or loaning of any kind.
Starting A Small Business/Part Time Business
A small business or part time business requires some work but it can be a great way to know that you are going to continue to earn money. There are many businesses that can be started with only a small amount of money, or even with just an investment of time. Online platforms are making this easier and easier.
One example of a part time business you can start is a freelancing business. Companies and individuals all over the world are looking to hire freelancers to perform jobs. From writing, to web design, to consultation, there are freelancing jobs for everything.
An important part of starting a part time business is taking a portion of your income and investing it. With the money you are making on the side you can have an amount of spending cash and investment money. The more time you are willing to invest in your business, the more income that you can make. The more you can invest.
A Note About Investing
When investing it is important to keep in mind that there are always ups and downs. Never invest all of your money in one place. Diversifying your portfolio is important and it allows you to be safeguarded if something happens with the market.
Another thing to keep in mind is that while we have done some research into these investing options, we always encourage you to do research of your own. An investment platform that is right for one person, might not be right for another. Investment options also fluctuate and the reliability of a platform can go up and down. Completing your own research makes you an informed investor.
Investing and saving is important for your financial future. With these small investment options you can start to secure your future even if you don’t have a lot of money to start with. Many of these platforms are versatile and allow you to mix up the amount of money that you want to invest. Start investing today to start making progress on your future.