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How to start investing with $100: Best 5 ways for beginners

Investing isn't just a rich man's game. Here's how beginner investors can start investing in stocks, ETFs and for retirement with just $100!

If you hope to build long-term wealth and meet your financial goals, investing is one of the best ways to move forward. However, many people think they need a lot of money to get started investing. They wait too long to begin and miss out on years of potential gains.

The good news is that it doesn’t take a lot of money to start investing. In fact, you can start investing with any amount.

Looking to invest more than $100? Read our page on the Best ways to invest $1,000 right now.

Here are the best 5 ways to start investing with as little as $100 and an answer on whether that’s really enough (Hint: it’s not).

1. Contribute to your company retirement account

401(k) plan investing overview on clipboard on table with calculator, pen, glasses

If you work for a company with a retirement plan, check to make sure part of your paycheck is going toward retirement. You can have the money taken out of your paycheck and set aside in a tax-advantaged plan that grows over time. The tax benefit of such an account helps you put more money aside so it grows more efficiently.

This is a great way to start investing with $100 or less because it comes out of your paycheck and you never see the money or have an excuse to stop investing. 

» MORE: Beginner’s guide to saving for retirement

2. Use fractional investing

man using stacked coins on top of color-coded pie chart to visualize portfolio

One of the best ways to access investments is to use fractional investing. With fractional investing, you buy portions of stock (or even fund) shares, without the need to buy an entire share. You can get started earlier because you don’t need enough for a whole share.

Robinhood is one of the best platforms we recommend for fractional investing. Headlined by no commission fees or account minimums, fractional investing with Robinhood starts with just $1. You can purchase fractional shares both by share amount and by dollar amount, whatever your preference is.

Figure out how much you can invest each month, and use that money to consistently buy fractional shares. Over time, you’ll benefit as your portfolio continues to grow. And, as your finances improve and you have more money, buy additional whole shares or partial shares as you can.

3. Invest in index funds and ETFs

price action, volume and small portion of a stock chart shaded green

Another good way to make your money go further is to use investing platforms that let you invest in index funds and ETFs.

Using indexing allows you to take advantage of a whole swath of the market, rather than relying on your ability to pick the “right” stock at the right time. You don’t have to beat the market with indexing; you just have to ride its success over the long haul. Time in the market, not timing the market.

One beginner-friendly option is to open an account with a robo-advisor like Wealthfront. With Wealthfront, your entire account is managed for just 0.25% per year meaning less work on your end. All you need to do is open your Wealthfront account, answer a few basic questions like how much risk you can handle, and Wealthfront will build you a personalized portfolio of low-cost index funds. Wealthfront then handles all the trading, rebalancing, and other work so you can passively grow your wealth long term.

One drawback is that Wealthfront starts with a $500 minimum investment, so check out our list of the best robo-advisors if that sounds appealing but you only have $100 to start investing.

You can also self-direct more of your money and investments by choosing your own index funds and ETFs by using a brokerage account. It’s very easy to get started and you don’t have to worry about account minimums. And the best part about these is that no commissions on individual stocks and ETFs have become an industry standard. Robinhood, who we already mentioned above for fractional investing, is one of the top options we recommend for beginner and casual investors.

» MORE: Robo-advisors vs brokerage accounts

Index funds and ETFs have the advantage of providing instant diversity for your portfolio, without the need for you to pick stocks. It can be a great way to get started investing with less than $100. 

4. Invest automatically with pocket change

woman pulling pocket change out of brown pocketbook

If you want to invest without thinking about it, and you don’t have a lot of money to start with, you can invest your pocket change using a spare change investing app

Our favorite spare change investing app is Acorns. With Acorns, you simply link any or all your debit or credit cards, and when you make purchases Acorns will round them up to the nearest dollar. Acorns will then invest the money in a portfolio designed to meet your goals and your risk tolerance once it accumulates to at least $5.

This can be a great way to get into the habit of saving and investing without the hassle. As your finances improve and as you find more money to invest, you can increase what you set aside and watch your account grow.

5. Utilize dividend investing

two men in a cash transaction over documents discussing revenue structure

Whether you invest in fractional shares or use indexing, you can consider taking advantage of dividends to help you grow your portfolio — even if you only have $100 to invest right now. 

When you invest in dividend-paying investments, you receive a portion of the profits, relative to how many shares you own (even partial). You won’t get big payouts at first, but as you buy dividend-paying assets, consistently, you’ll have more and more shares and your dividends will get bigger. 

Many brokers offer automatic dividend reinvestment without charging you extra fees for the service. They even allow you to choose between full or partial enrollment.

As you use your dividends to buy more shares of the stocks or funds, you can accelerate the speed at which you build your portfolio.

» MORE: How to invest in dividend stocks the right way

You’ll need to invest more than $100

Even though you can get started investing with $100 or less, it’s important to realize that, eventually, you’ll have to invest more money.

Putting in $100 once or even a month won’t help you adequately grow your wealth or fund your retirement. It’s just not enough to meet your long-term wealth needs.

Starting with $100, however, is an amazing way to build the habit of investing. So, bravo for getting started! You can put that money in each month and watch it grow. You take advantage of compounding returns. At some point, you’ll have to increase how much you set aside each month. The sooner that is, the better.

One good way to do this is to increase your retirement contributions when you get a raise. If you get a 3% raise, make sure you boost your retirement contributions by 3%. If you make an effort to increase what you invest, the consistency and increased contributions will add up over time to help you successfully retire.

Summary

Investing isn’t just for millionaires. It’s not just for those with a little of money or high-paying jobs. Thanks to new investing technology, there’s a number top investment accounts, for beginning investors with little money and regular folk to dive right in and get started.

There’s fractional shares, index funds, and features to invest even your spare change without the hassle  – making investing accessible for almost anyone. Don’t wait. Start investing today, even if it’s just with $100.

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