It may seem intuitive that investing gives you the best benefit if you start early, but many people put off the task if they feel they donï¿½t have enough information or money to start off the ï¿½right way.ï¿½
The good news is that you donï¿½t need a lot to start investing, and there are many simple ways to begin. So, take the adage ï¿½Thereï¿½s no time like the presentï¿½ to heart, and follow these tips for making your first forays into the exciting world of investing.
Even if you only have a few hundred to a thousand dollars to invest, you should start now. Investments that are generally considered the safest, like bonds, are slow-growing and take time to make a big impact on your bank account.
Riskier investments, on the other hand, can experience big ups and downs while still maintaining an overall upward trend over the span of many years, so people holding these investments can earn big bucks if they have the time to stick with them over the long haul. The farther away you are from retirement age, the more you can afford to take big investment risks hoping for big rewards to match, because you have time to recuperate your funds if an investment goes south.
ï¿½The key, really, is simply to open an investing or retirement account and regularly transfer money into it, preferably automatically from your paycheck so you donï¿½t forget or get side-tracked,ï¿½ stated Kimberly Palmer, author of ï¿½Generation Earnï¿½ and blogger for U.S. News & World Report.
Now that you are inspired to start investing right away, you have to plan your strategy. Careful consideration at the start can help you avoid the potential disappointment and headaches that come when minimum deposit restrictions, fees and other costs catch you off-guard. Starting safe with investments in a 401(k) is a great way to begin. This lets you avoid the time commitment required to learn about the stock market, and it can give you the confidence you need to go forward to riskier investments in the future.
ï¿½Assuming you have a 401(k), save time and put your money into an index fund that mirrors the stock market (like an S&P 500 index fund),ï¿½ states Personal Finance Expert M.P. Dunleavey for Betterment.com. ï¿½Or if index funds arenï¿½t available in your 401(k), use a low-cost target date fund (keep the expense ratio at 0.5 percent or lower).ï¿½
Index funds are an especially good choice for people investing only a few hundred dollars, because many ï¿½ particularly individual retirement accounts ï¿½ have initial investment minimums as low as $250.
ï¿½After your initial investment, you can add as much money as you like, as frequently as you like, with no additional costs or commissions,ï¿½ according to a December 2015 article by The Motley Fool. ï¿½You can purchase index funds directly from mutual fund companies, so there are no commissions to pay to a middleman.ï¿½
If you want to dive right into the stock market, you have to strategize to find the right way to invest your small sum because many brokers deal only with large accounts. The first thing to learn is the difference between the types of stockbrokers.
ï¿½Stockbrokers come in two flavors: full-service and discount,ï¿½ according to Investopedia.com Writer and Co-founder of Second Summit Ventures Chad Langager. ï¿½As the name implies, a full-service broker provides much more in the way of service, but it only deals with higher-net-worth clients.ï¿½
With many discount brokers, you can open an account with a minimum of $1,000, but you should understand that you will receive fewer services than someone working with a full-service stockbroker would. Another option is to forgo a broker and tackle the market yourself.
ï¿½You also could purchase shares directly from a company through direct stock purchase plans,ï¿½ says Langager. ï¿½Some of these plans have a minimum investment amount restriction, which ranges between $100 and $500.ï¿½
Now that you know the basics of investing with a small sum of money, cash in on your momentum and get started investing right away. And remember, if you need any advice about your particular financial situation, your local financial institution is your best resource.