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, even as little as $100.
Contribute to your company retirement account
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.
Use fractional investing
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.
The Public app is one option we recommend for fractional investing. Public is a free investing app that offers fractional investing with no commission fees or account minimums.
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 shares as you can.
Invest in index funds and ETFs
Another good way to make your money go further is to use brokers that 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.
You can open an account with companies like Betterment for $0. With Betterment, your entire account is managed for just 0.25% per year. And, if you have an extra $100 per month, you can put that money into the account each month, via automatic transfer. You can invest in stocks and ETFs in both the US and international markets – there are thousands of companies so lots of choices. All you need to do is open your account and Betterment takes it from there.
You can also self-direct more of your money and investments by choosing your own index funds and ETFs by using a broker like Ally Invest. It’s very easy to get started and you don’t have to worry about account minimums. And the best part about Ally Invest is they dropped all of their trading commissions to $0.00 fee for individual stocks and ETFs so that has become a huge game-changer in the industry. And their account minimum is $0 too. Check out our Ally Invest vs. Robinhood comparison to see how it stacks up.
M1 Finance also offers you the chance to invest in index funds and ETFs with the help of a robo-advisor, but with a little more control, like you’d see with a more traditional brokerage.
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.
Invest your pocket change
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 resource like Acorns.
With Acorns, you connect your bank accounts, debit and credit cards, and when you make purchases, Acorns will round it to the nearest dollar and deposit the difference in an account and then invest the money in a portfolio designed to meet your goals and your risk tolerance.
There is no account minimum, and you can upgrade your roundups to 2X or more the difference. It’s even possible to make regular transfers of money from your bank account into your Acorns account. As your finances improve and as you find more money to invest, you can increase what you set aside and watch your account grow.
Use dividend investing
Whether you invest in fractional shares or use indexing, you can take 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, based on how many shares you own. 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. There’s no commissions or services fees for TD Ameritrade, for example. 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.
» Learn the right way to invest in dividend stocks.
Reality check: eventually you’ll need to invest more
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 won’t help you adequately grow your wealth or fund your retirement. Even putting $100 a month in an investment account probably isn’t enough to meet your long-term wealth needs.
Starting with $100 is a good way to build the habit of investing. You can put that money in each month and watch it grow. You take advantage of compounding returns. However, that money, even with investing, won’t grow at a rate that is likely to allow you to retire later on. At some point, you’ll have to increase how much you set aside each month.
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.
There’s fractional shares, index funds, and spare change investing apps – which makes investing accessible for anyone. Don’t wait.