Investing Money: Easy Ways to Start Small
Investing can seem overwhelming, and many people think you need a lot of money to start investing. However, investing is something anyone can do regardless of their income level or occupation, and we want to help you do that.
First, throw out the notion that you need to invest a ton of money at once. People have been saving small amounts of money for years using a variety of methods, such as the cookie jar approach, where you simply throw your pocket change into a cookie jar. And now, there are a number of programs that will actually take your spare change and invest it for you, which eliminates the need for keeping cookie jars (well, unless you’re using them to keep chocolate chip cookies in).
Secondly, if you want to start simple, we recommend using an investment app instead of cookie jars. Each investment app works a little differently and can offer special benefits. For example, apps like Acorns allow you to round up the change from purchases, and while other platforms, such as Stash, allow you to invest in fractional shares (smaller pieces of a share).
We took the time to evaluate a couple apps to get a better feel for them. And here is what we thought.
If you prefer to not think much about your investments, Acorns is a great option. It allows you to contribute regularly, and all you need to do is link a debit or credit card to the app. Then, Acorns will “round up” your purchases to the next dollar, essentially investing your spare change. This way instead of your spare change going into your pocket, car, or cookie jar, it will be invested for you.
Alternatively, Stash is another easy to use app. It allows you to contribute manually whenever you want, or you can set up an “Auto-Stash” plan for regular contributions. In addition, it can help you learn how to make investment decisions using their educational content. Stash is a wonderful tool for helping you learn the language of investing while you are investing.
Regardless of which app you pick, the goal of the apps is to help you build a good set of investments with the money you have available.
When evaluating investment apps, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- The minimum to get started — it could be as little as $0 or maybe $100
- How often you want to contribute money
- The fee the platform charges each month — it might be $1 or a percentage fee such as 0.25%
- Tax benefits offered when investing
- How your money will be invested
How much you want to think about your investments
Investing shouldn’t be so intimidating, and with investment apps, you can invest in your future from your own kitchen. We have found that Acorn and Stash are really easy to use. But, we encourage you to find the app that works best for you. Others to consider are: E*TRADE, Robinhood, or Ally Invest, to name a few.
Just remember that you do not need to have a large amount of money to invest. Simply start with your spare change or a few dollars!