How to Invest in the Stock Market With Little Money

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You can invest in the stock market with little money in many ways. I share how to invest in stocks with little money and the brokers that can help you.

Many think you can’t invest in the stock market with little money. I was guilty of the same belief. I just finished paying off debt and thought I needed thousands of dollars to start investing. As a stockbroker, I spoke with a number of people who believed it’s impossible to invest in stocks with little money.

This myth not only held me back, but it holds many investors back from growing their wealth. From a certain perspective, it’s understandable why many think you can’t invest in the stock market with little money. Not only can investing be confusing, it’s the belief that only wealthy people can make money in the stock market.

You don’t have to be an expert to invest in the stock market. You also don’t need to have thousands of dollars to start. There are many tools that can help the most novice investors do quite well, even with limited resources.

How to Invest in the Stock Market with Little Money


As with many aspects of personal finance, the key to investing is to develop good habits and find resources to help. This gives you the confidence to start, which is the key to growing your wealth.

If you have held back from investing due to lack of funds, this post is for you. Here’s how to invest in the stock market with little money, starting today.

Grow Your Available Funds


Saving money is closely tied to investing in the stock market. In order to start investing, you first need to have money to invest. This does not take as long as you think.

Many online brokers allow you to start investing for $500 or less, so that should give you a perspective of how much you need to start investing.

If you don’t have the available funds to start investing, there are ways to save money. You can start keeping change you receive and put it in a cash jar. You can eat out one less time a week or month. The extra money will add up soon enough, providing you several hundred dollars to start investing.

There are many ways to save money every month you can use to build the cash needed to start investing. Select a few and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can build up an extra $500.

Better yet, you can automate savings to an online money market account like CIT Bank, which pays 1.85 percent on your cash. This lets you build funds to enable you to invest, and also builds the habit of saving money.

*Related: Starting with little money? Check out our guide of best passive income apps that let you start investing with little money.*

Do you want to start investing right away? You can use Acorns to start investing spare change. Acorns is an app that rounds up all purchases on your debit card and uses that to invest in index funds for you.

None of these options are glamorous, but they give you ways to invest with little money and begin building wealth.

Use Your Employer


If you want to know how to get into the stock market with little money, the best option is through your employer-sponsored 401(k) plan. In most cases, everything for your 401(k) is handled through your employer and you can put your investing on autopilot.

Why is a 401(k) the best place to invest in the stock market with little money? It’s quite simple:

  • You can start investing with no money
  • You can set up automatic transfers from each paycheck
  • Your employer may match what you contribute – that’s free money
  • Many 401(k) plans offer free resources to help you learn about how to start investing in the stock market

Each 401(k) plan is different. While some employers may make you wait several months, most allow you to start investing when you begin a new job.

Just ask your employer when you start when you can begin investing in your 401(k). Here’s our guide on how to set up your first 401(k) to get started if you’ve never invested in one.

Have you been investing in your 401(k) plan for awhile but think you can do better? Blooom is a great resource that can help you make sure your investments are in top shape.

Blooom checks your plan to make sure you’re not overpaying in fees and that you’re in the best possible investments available in your plan – all based on your specific goals.

Think of it as kicking the tires of your 401(k) to ensure it’s doing what you need it to. This can be done on a one-time basis, or you can use Blooom on a regular basis to analyze your plan. Blooom is free for the first 30 days, then $10 per month after that.

Have Someone Manage Your Investments


Many people ask themselves “how can I invest with little money” and believe there are no available resources to help them invest. Thanks to robo-advisors, that is not the case.

A robo-advisor is a digital platform that helps you invest your money based on your specific goals. Think of a robo-advisor as another option to automate your investing.

Using a robo-advisor not only helps remove the emotion from investing, but it also helps ensure your investments are doing what they should be. The best part is many robo-advisors have no minimum balance requirement and are very cheap.

Betterment is a great option for those looking to invest in the stock market with little money and get assistance managing their investments. Betterment has no minimum balance requirement. You can start investing with as little as you want, and can contribute as little as $10 at a time.

When you open an account with Betterment they ask you a small handful of questions. They use your responses to build your portfolio. Betterment also charges a minimal annual fee of .25 percent of your assets with them.

You can check out our Betterment review to get a more in-depth look of the tools they have to offer.

Think of using a robo-advisor like Betterment as having a financial advisor, and all their resources, for minimal cost. If you’re new to investing and trying to figure out how to invest with little money, a robo-advisor can be a great option.

Invest with a Micro Investing App


The financial tech space makes it much simpler to invest in the stock market with little money. Thanks to what’s known as a micro investing app, you can now invest small amounts in stocks or index funds to grow your wealth.

We’ve already discussed Acorns as a micro investing option, but there are other apps that let you invest in stocks with little money. Below are the best micro investing apps to consider:

Robinhood: Robinhood is a free-to-use micro investing app that lets you invest in stocks and options. It doesn’t allow retirement accounts, but they have no minimum balance requirement and you can invest with as little as you want.

Stash Invest: Stash Invest is another free-to-use micro investing app. However, they differ from Robinhood in they let you buy partial shares of stock and index funds. They also offer retirement accounts. You do need $5 to start investing with Stash Invest, but they give you $5 when you sign up!

Stockpile: Stockpile is a bit more unique relative to Robinhood and Stash Invest. Stockpile only allows you to invest in roughly 1,000 different stocks, but they’re well-known blue chip stocks. They also allow you to purchase partial shares of stock. Stockpile has no minimum balance requirement and they give you $5 in stock to start.

If you need to invest in the stock market with little money, a micro investing app can be a good option to start and build confidence.

Invest in Low Initial Investment Mutual Funds


Mutual funds can be a great way to start investing with little money, especially for beginners. These types of funds group together stocks and bonds into one basket, making them a perfect alternative for beginners or those wanting to passively invest.

Mutual funds don’t trade like stocks, trading only once a day after the stock market closes. Another way mutual funds differ from stocks is they often have a minimum initial investment, typically $1,000 or more.

However, some mutual funds waive this if you agree to invest $50 or $100 per month. This gives you the benefit of automating your investing, plus you can start with little money. Below are the best brokerages to find low initial investment mutual funds:

Ally Invest: Formerly known as TradeKing, Ally Invest has over 8,000 mutual funds to choose from many of which have low initial investments. Ally Invest only charges $4.95 per stock trade, and has no minimum balance requirement.

E*Trade: E*Trade, like Ally Invest, has over 8,000 mutual funds to choose from, many of which have low initial investments. E*Trade requires $500 to open an account, but if you open a retirement account they have no minimum balance requirement. If you prefer to trade stocks, E*Trade charges $6.95 per stock trade.

M1 Finance: M1 Finance does not offer mutual funds, but they’re still a valid choice for those investing in the stock market with little money. M1 Finance is a hybrid robo-advisor/traditional online broker. It lets you select your own investments, then automates its management to ensure it’s reaching your stated goal. M1 Finance has no minimum balance requirement to start and you can start investing once you have $100 in your account.

Don’t Give Into Excuses


I know it’s challenging to figure out how to invest in the stock market with little money. When you don’t have a lot of extra money at the end of the month, it’s easy to put off long-term needs like investing.

That sentiment makes sense. Unfortunately, it overlooks the major point of investing – time. Giving your money more time in the stock market is the best thing you can do for your future self, thanks to compound interest.

Take a look at the below graph from Business Insider as an example of how compound interest works.

invest in the stock market with little money

As you can see, the earlier you start, the less money you actually have to save as it has more time to grow. On one level, it doesn’t make sense, but it shows how important time is when it comes to investing in the stock market.

You can invest in the stock market with little money in many ways. I share how to invest in stocks with little money and the brokers that can help you.

It’s easy to think the amount you can put in the stock market each month will do nothing. I used to feel the same way. Now I realize that thinking only holds you back from growing your wealth. Saving for retirement may not be a priority for you now, but there are many other reasons why you may need to invest, such as:

  • Buying a house in the future
  • Go on exotic vacations
  • Helping your child pay for college

There may be many other reasons, but in every case more time can only help you meet your goals.

Invest in Stock with Little Money: Bottom Line


If you legitimately have no money to invest in the stock market, look for ways to free up money. You can find ways to cut spending or find ways to bring in additional income by asking for a raise or starting a side hustle.

Also realize that you don’t need to have thousands of dollars to start investing in stocks. In most cases you can start with $500 or less. If you don’t have that initial lump sum, you can also start with $50 per month.

Ultimately, the amount you begin with really doesn’t matter. What matters is developing the discipline of investing and giving your money time to grow. I know the amount may seem like it will do nothing, but thanks to compound interest, it can have a significant impact on your future.


What are some other ways to invest in the stock market with little money? Why do you think many believe you can’t invest in stocks with little money? When did you start investing?

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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.

Latest posts by John Schmoll (see all)


  • FI Pilgrim says:

    Great article John, I agree that there’s never “too little” to get started with. And for some folks who like to speculate too much, learning how NOT to invest in the stock market is a better lesson to learn when you only have a little to lose!

    • John says:

      Thanks! You bring up a great point that if speculation is your forte then not investing can be a good lesson to learn if you’re starting with little.

  • I like your tip about having a small amount automatically transferred from your bank account to your brokerage account. I already have a small amount transferred each month from my checking to savings, so what’s my excuse for not having a small amount transferred to my investment account? There really isn’t any, though I am guilty of not taking action and actually setting up this transfer.

    • John says:

      That’s exactly how you should view it DC! It’s just like transferring money over to your savings account each month. I like to view it as a bill and just let it do its magic.

  • Troy says:

    I always thought you needed at least $5000 to open an account (at least that’s how much you need at my brokerage).

    • John says:

      That’s a common misconception Troy. Many brokerages, if they do have minimums, are as little as $500 or $1000. Of course, if you plan on utilizing margin then you need $2,000, but many brokerages you can get started with very little.

  • Matt Becker says:

    You can get started at Vanguard with one of their target retirement funds for just $1,000. And there are no commissions to speak of. Most people can save up $1,000, even if it takes some time. Then, like you said, you can automate whatever regular amount you can afford to contribute and you’re on your way. And again, without commissions you don’t have to worry about firs putting money into cash and then later moving it into your actual investments. You can invest right way without dealing with any kind of extra hassle, extra cost or drag on your returns.

    • John says:

      That’s exactly what I’m talking about Matt! Starting with something like that with Vanguard can be a great way to get started and even sticking with them is advisable as they’re hard to beat in a lot of areas.

  • AverageJoe says:

    I like the process of investing automatically because it becomes a bill. If you try to trust yourself to save money every month, you never will. If it’s automatic, you’ll make sure the money is always there to invest when the “bill” arrives.

    • John says:

      Right on Joe! It’s funny how we try and trust ourselves and it generally doesn’t work out. Having that bill mentality is a great way to go.

  • Mr. 1500 says:

    I think that there is only one excuse for not investing. That excuse is if you have enough money to retire without ever earning another dollar from a job. So, if you have attained financial freedom, you may buy Corvettes or travel to Fiji with extra money. Otherwise, save until it hurts.

  • Great post! Investing in stocks could really be great for you and making excuses not to do it is your loss.

  • You make some great points here, John. Everyone needs to start somewhere. Small amounts do eventually grow into large amounts. Anyone can get rich … slowly. The key is to get started.

    Automatic transfers into your investment account are a terrific idea. Soon after setting up automatic transfers, the money isn’t even missed. You become used to the new ‘normal’. In effect, you have begun to ‘normalize’ a disciplined investment approach that is key to wealth building.

    • John says:

      Thanks! I agree, it may not seem like much in the beginning but we all need to start somewhere.

      That’s my exact thought with the automation. You don’t feel it really and can begin to start that discipline of investing for the long haul.

  • Hey John, another great post as usual. I really like the automatic investment options. I think one of the best out there is Betterment. Anyway, thanks for the great read!

  • No Waste says:

    As long as the approach is tempered for risk and well-balanced, everyone should be investing in the market..

    But getting to that well-adjusted point can be very difficult, given human nature.

    • John says:

      I could not agree more – on both accounts. It’s vital to be in the market and it can be difficult to get to that point and balance it well.

  • I think everyone should invest as soon as possible too. Pay the consumer debt off first though. Even $100/month is a good start. It will build up a good habit.

  • Hmm, if someone isn’t investing because they think they don’t have enough money then that sounds like there is a lack of education. Here’s the thing though, if they are that unaware or misinformed, it would be wise for them to learn a bit more about the basics of investing in the stock market before they actually get started. In other words, if someone thought they had to have $10k minimum and then found out they could get started with much less, they should take the time to learn what they’re actually doing rather than blindly picking something.

    • John says:

      That’s a very valid point and one I’ve covered in previous posts. 🙂 That said, you’d be surprised at how often the lack of knowledge is used as an excuse to not start investing. A lot of people allow that to hold them back when they really don’t need to.

  • Having small funds is no excuse nowadays. I know not too long ago it was very prohibitive to invest small amounts due to the high commissions and account fees. Now with the discount brokerages which offer low commission costs and usually no account fees plus most offer commission free ETF and mutual fund purchases. Granted there’s usually limited options on those ETF/MF’s but I haven’t seen one that doesn’t have your broad based index funds. That’s enough to get your feet wet.

    It really all comes down to your mindset and making it a priority. If you want to be in better financial shape in the future you have to do something about it today. That is until the next Powerball jackpot gets up to $250+ million, I guess that’s always an option.

    • John says:

      I could not agree more JC. The online brokerage space really has made it much easier for the everyday retail investor to get into the market even though they may not have tens of thousands of dollars.

      Great point on the mindset! Many don’t have that mindset and they only harm themselves as a result.

  • Okay John, you caught me. I invest in my 401k, but I often tell myself that I have too little to invest on my own. That is totally not true! I guess it comes down to priorities and I just need to do better.

    • John says:

      Ha ha! 🙂 I guess I did catch you. 😉 Seriously though, that’s great that you’re investing in your 401k! You could have quite a bit more diversification going for you and help your long term picture by also starting something like a Roth. It really does not take a whole lot and if you go with some vey low fee index funds you could really do a lot of good.

  • My excuses would be lack of knowledge and lack of time. Upon graduating from university several years ago, setting aside money to use for investing was the last thing on my mind.

    Now its constantly on my mind!

    • John says:

      Those are very common ones, but kudos to you not allowing that to hold you back. It can take time to get started, but that starting is the key.

  • All of my investing is in my 401k and Roth IRA right now. No time to play with stocks as we are on an EXTREMELY tight budget 🙂

    But I LOVE the idea of automating transfers to your brokerage account.

    • John says:

      To be fair, I really am not talking about playing with stocks, but generally being in the market. Whether that be in index funds, mutual funds, dividend paying stocks I was just meaning generally being in the market. That said, it sounds like you’re on the right path with both your 401k and Roth.

  • Some people may feel a little overwhelmed with some of the minimums with these brokerages, but that is why I chose Betterment. I could get in for little money and it is working well. You can then transfer to another one once you get to the minimum level.

    • John says:

      I totally agree Grayson. That said, the beauty is many brokerages have no minimum at all, a simple internet search should direct you to some that have none. That said, a tool like Betterment can be a great option.

  • after my wedding in 12 days, fiancee and I plan on each starting Roth IRA accounts at Vanguard since it’s a low minimum to start a target retirement fund. We’re both super behind on retirement funding but can at least still do a little bit even while paying off my debt.

  • I like the idea of automated investing and agree with Joe; if automated you make sure that there is money every month and that is that. We use a ‘dam’ like system at the moment where accumulation happens in a savings account and then investments are made. Problem with automation can be that it kills creativity and he highest gains are from creative investments.

    • John says:

      He did have a great point and I tend to view it that way as well. That’s a great point about automation possibly killing creativity. Though I don’t know how much you want to be “creative” when investing in the stock market.

  • I think it’s easier to save for an immediate goal like a trip because it’s tangible. What picture could you put up for retirement? An old broke guy panhandling on the street maybe? A case of top Ramen?

    That being said, I don’t really think anyone has an excuse or too little money. Maybe I would hold off until there is a bit of en emergency fund, but not forever. If you are really using every penny you make for essential spending and have nothing left, you need to find a way to make more money or cut expenses. I’ve been reading blogs for a few years now, and if you can’t come up with something, you just aren’t trying hard enough. It comes down to choices vs excuses. It always does.

    • John says:

      Lol, yea, I don’t think a case of Top Ramen would be my ideal picture of retirement. That said, you’re right on Kim – it often does come down to choices vs. excuses.

  • I wonder if some of the reluctance comes from people not truly understanding what they’re buying. Stocks can be a pretty nebulous idea for some people to wrap their minds around and it only gets worse when people don’t feel confident in their own abilities to make investment strategies.
    There’s also the risk that comes with the stock market and you hear about people “losing their shirt” in this or that stock. I wonder if people are judging all stocks the same -as risky and untrustworthy places to plan their future retirement with.

    • John says:

      I think you’re right, to a certain extent, Lindsey. I think a lot of it goes back to education which I think is intertwined with that reluctance.

  • I think one of the best points you made is that people should ‘get some skin in the game’. I think the fastest way to get an education (about anything) is to have some money on the line. You then can’t help but be a bit more engaged in the process. I did a lot of learning before I first started investing, but my learning curve increased exponentially as soon as I’d made my first investment.

  • My excuse not to invest is I need the cash on other projects so the stock market comes last, but I still invest most of my money. I used to have an automatic payment to buy index funds every month and there was no fee, which was great because if you invest $100 a month and have a $7 fee it is hard to make the money back soon.

    • John says:

      I think you’re doing pretty darn good Pauline! 🙂 You’re a very good lesson in what it means to be diversified across many opportunities.

  • I’ve had good luck using Charles Schwab and their low-cost Schwab index funds. You can open each one with a minimum of $100 and they make it really easy to setup automatic investing.

    So you can start with one fund at $100 a month and then work your way up to a few of their different index funds twice a month for whatever amount you want to invest bi-monthly.

    I’ve been really impressed with their customer service, their website and the ease of use in general.

    • John says:

      Right on Brad! I’ve heard very good things about Schwab and their platform. Going the index fund route is not too shabby at all either – especially with the possibility of no commissions as a result.

  • Great article! Quite a few companies also offer DRIPs (or Direct Stock Purchase Plans) where you buy as little as one share directly from say, a Coca-Cola or Disney and avoid the brokerage fees. The enrolment process isn’t the easiest though. But once you purchase your one share, some will let you invest for as little as $10/month and all the dividends are then automatically reinvested. Just another option.

    • John says:

      Thanks Anthony! That’s a great option. DRIPs can be great option, especially if starting out and just looking for companies that you know/use.

  • Hoodgrown says:

    Great article. I’m basically living paycheck to paycheck and I too thought that I could never afford to invest. The new company that I work at provided us with shares and an Etrade account and now I’m really interested in doing more investing.

    Since I’m a techie I’m looking at tech stocks and even more than the money, my barrier to entry is more a matter of grasping this whole investment thing. I definitely have a lack of understanding about how the whole thing works.

    • John says:

      Thanks! That’s awesome you have that set up and should hopefully get you started out with investing.

      I can certainly understand having that barrier to entry as many have that. I’d encourage you to check out some of the free education that Etrade offers. So much of that barrier goes back to education and once you get some it becomes much more understandable.

  • Deanna says:

    The thing I don’t like about investing in stocks is that your profits only go up as long as you have the money tied up in playing the market – it seems like your “gains” are really just a fantasy, because you really only make money if you sell at a higher price than you bought. But if you invest in a stock that loses or even tanks, no one will buy, so you’re stuck with a loss. It’s no different than gambling and I don’t gamble. I don’t like throwing money into some big illusory hope that I will make something. I want to see the money come back in a tangible form that I can access easily.

    PLUS, if you are investing in some kind of money market account or a fund where they do the investing for you, you really don’t know if you are investing in companies that are ethical or outsourcing all their work by child labor in China or India, things like that. It’s a conundrum. I wish I knew what to do because I have just now come into a bit of money and I want to figure out how to get the best return on it. Never ever in my life did I think I would see banks giving no interest on the money I let them use by saving there. Interest rates are so low everywhere, I have no faith in the market or anything else. A friend of mine tells me I should buy gold, as that always goes up (over time), but even that’s been low for quite a while now. I’m beginning to feel like the best place for my money is under my mattress.

    • John says:

      Thanks for your comment Deanna. 🙂 In regards to your comparison to gambling, I’d agree, only if you’re stock picking though. If you’re just randomly picking stocks then you’re opening yourself as an investor up to who knows what. That said, if you do your research then you should be able to find something of value. I understand the feeling that any gains are a fantasy, but the question goes back to what is your perspective? Are you investing with a long term mindset? If so, then you should be able to weather any ups and downs.

      That’s a great point about not knowing what the specific company does. Many feel the same way and there are funds available that look to invest in companies that aren’t doing anything nefarious.

      The rate climate, or lack thereof, is definitely a concern. Many are impacted, to put it lightly, by this and leading them to do things they may not normally do. That said, the money under the mattress feeling is generally not one you should listen to as you’re locking in losing money due to inflation. My encouragement of what to do with the money you’ve come in to is to invest it in some low fee index funds so you can be investing with the market as opposed to trying to get wrapped up in individual stocks.

      All that said, thanks so much for your comment Deanna. I’ve spoken to hundreds, if not thousands, of people in the same basic situation you seem to be in and it’s not always an easy issue to figure out.

  • Evelyn says:

    Thank you for your post. Very informative. Question: I have a traditional IRA with my local credit union and would like to roll it over to a ROTH IRA account with OH.. I have already opened an account with OH, but need to fund it. The balance on that account is very minimal ($725). Do you think this is good enough to open the account? I have no clue of what to do and how to get started. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you.

    • John says:

      Thank you Evelyn, glad you found it helpful! That is a great question and I think it’s definitely enough to open an account with, especially as OH does not have a required minimum balance to open an account with. From there, you could look (generally speaking) at a solid index fund which should help get you started. Of course, it’ll be better to add to it either monthly or quarterly but this’ll give you a good start. Also make sure you take taxes into consideration when converting the Traditional over to the Roth. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  • Richard says:

    I thought that having a brokerage account would be too expensive. I also believed that because my major isint business that I would be clueless. But I’m only clueless as a am lazy. However im making changes for a better and a smarter future. With that said I want to say thanks man this article is life changing. Also before I begin as a novice investor any advise, books. I want to be prepared.

    • John says:

      Thanks for your comment and for stopping by Richard. 🙂 That is a common belief that many investors have and it’s simply a myth as there are many brokerages out there that charge nothing to have an account with them. I’ve listed a good number of them on my online brokerages page, which you can check out.

      That said, glad you found this article helpful as my desire is to help investors see that they don’t need loads of money to start investing. Sure, it’s helpful, but not required by any means. If you’re looking for a good book to start with, the one I always recommend to investors is A Random Walk Down Wall St. You can find it on Amazon here –

  • michelle says:

    I am working towards opening up a Roth IRA, but I can’t find anywhere that will accept an opening deposit of less than $2,000. That is my investment as of right now.

    • John Schmoll says:

      There are actually plenty of options at that level Michelle, depending on what your needs are of course. If you’re at or under $1,000 you can open accounts at Motif Investing, Betterment, Etrade, Optionshouse, OptionsXpress and TradeKing. You can also go with Vanguard, but depends on the fund you choose. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions on which to choose.

  • rosemary says:

    I am a late comer ie 76 but have little money but loads of time so I am looking at all ways to invest for a relatively short time, well I hope to make 90 at least.
    I only wish I had had all this info years ago, or at the very least had the ability to put tiny amounts away.

  • Chris C. says:

    Im new to the whole stock market investing and im not sure how to go about it the right way my goal is to set up to be well off in10 yeaqrs to live comfortably and not have to be on social securit any more. Any help with info and ideas will be greatly appreciated thx and have an awsome day.

  • Chris says:

    I’ve started a couple of accounts. I’ve been able to diversify with eight stocks with less than $1,200. I’ve used Loyal3, which charges no fees and requires only $10 to get started. They only offer about 65 different companies. I bought a few shares of 3 companies on TradeKing. They only charge $4.95 a trade, and there’s no minimum and no account fees if you make at least one trade a year.

  • john vargas says:

    I am a single father of four , and money is squeezed as it is , I am looking for investments that I can make with very little money to start .. I have read a lot of good ideas and options , but seems like to many to choose from .. I to am starting late in the game , with not much room to leave to chance … Any suggestions ?

    • John Schmoll says:

      Hi John, thanks for stopping by. There are definitely a lot of options out there and know that can be overwhelming.

      Not knowing your entire situation, I’d say it depends on your comfort level with investing and how much control you want to have. If you’re newer to investing and want help managing I’d suggest either Betterment or Wealthfront.

      Both are very low fee and manage the investments for you. They customize a portfolio for you from 10-15 different low cost ETFs and is a great way to start. I’ve done reviews on both, which I’ve put below. I’d be happy to answer any other questions you may have and best wishes.

  • Michael says:

    Nice list. You could also consider Acorns or Stash Invest.

  • Sandra says:

    Great article! I was able to put some cash aside and last year I went to Fidelity and opened an account to start investing. I only invested one time in a CD and the money is just there collecting ‘dust.’ Investment is always on the back of my mind but I don’t know what to do. What advice do you give me, because honestly I keep looking for articles and for someone with no investment knowledge, it gets overwhelming and confusing. Thanks 🙂

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Sandra, glad to be of help. 🙂 I’m not able to give specific advice on my investment options, but I will say that Fidelity has a lot of great (and free) tools to help you get started. They should have something that allows you to input your age, comfort level, goals, etc and provide a list of funds that would be suitable for you. I’d take advantage of that as much as possible.

  • Wally1 says:

    All I can say is WOW! Involving yourself in the stock market as an investment is nonsense, It is no more than gambling. Long term you will lose or if you are lucky, break even. Only invest in something you know. It is possible to invest small amounts (less then $1000) with good returns on many other short term investments where you have control of your money, but I would never put money in the stock market. Too many unethical, morally corrupt people in brokerage firms.

    • John Schmoll says:

      All I can say is WOW!!! Seriously??? So, I guess there are no unethical/morally corrupt individuals in ANY other investing related fields??? To think there isn’t is horribly misguided…at best. Investing in the stock market remains, to this day, one of the best (if not THE best) ways to grow your wealth for the long haul.

      To equate investing in the stock market with gambling also reveals a misconception of what investing in the stock market actually is. If you’re throwing darts at the WSJ to determine what to invest in, sure, it’s gambling. A wise, tempered approach to the market, however, is far different.

  • Wally1 says:

    Wow John, suppressing opinions much. I have invested in the stock market for most of my life and IMHO, it is gambling. The small investor has no chance. All I am saying is that there are more investing paths that have actual tangible assets, Real estate for one. Education is the key and stock firms and advisors intentionally make options confusing, for them it’s about continuous trading and collecting fees. . Most people should invest in things they know, whatever that may be. It always amazed me that people walk into a brokerage firm and hand over their money to someone that most of the time can’t even balance a checkbook or take care of their own finances. Just my observation, based on experience.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Suppressing opinions? I think not. If I were suppressing opinions I would’ve deleted the comment and all others I don’t agree with. 🙂 I was simply responding to your statement:

      “All I can say is WOW! Involving yourself in the stock market as an investment is nonsense, It is no more than gambling. Long term you will lose or if you are lucky, break even.”

      I completely agree that people need to invest in what they know. However, you’re wrong when you say the small investor has no chance. Of course they do, if they know what they’re doing and educate themselves. There are plenty of free resources available to help investors get the education they need to invest well. That’s also not to mention the fact that you don’t need to be an expert to invest in the stock market. Just a little bit of knowledge can go a long way.

      I also agree that a person should not just blindly hand over money to someone at a brokerage and hope for the best. You need to do your due diligence, which I talk about all over the site. However, to think the situation of handing over money blindly to someone who has no idea what they’re doing is only found with the stock market is misguided at best.

      That’s also not to mention that your argument seems inconsistent. You say investing in the stock market is like gambling and fees are rampant. If you feel that way, then why are you even in the stock market?

  • Wally1 says:

    Well John, It all comes down to trust. While I have had mutual funds and stocks for over 30 years I will not trust my hard earned money any longer to brokers and financial advisors that I would not trust to walk my dog. This is prevalent in the finance industry. Wells Fargo is a prime example, as are others. There are much better ways to invest money where you have control. With millennials now reaching thirty, they are not investing, again it comes down to trust. tough times ahead for the financial markets unless they change their modus operandi, which they won’t, a leopard does not change it’s spots. But hey, who am I to give you advice, I’m just an investor……

    • John Schmoll says:

      Actually, it doesn’t ALL come down to trust Wally. Knowledge is just as important, if not more so than trust. Yes, trust IS certainly vital but if you don’t have a basic knowledge then it’s going to make whomever it is much more liable to getting taken advantage of. With knowledge comes the recognition that you simply can’t just blindly hand over responsibility of your finances but that you must take an active role to ensure you know what’s going on.

      Yes, there are definitely bad actors in the world of finance. I never said there wasn’t. However, to think that the ENTIRE world of finance is run/filled with bad actors is simply off base. I’ve spent two decades in the financial services industry and for every “bad” actor out there, there’s a good one. The problem is we never hear about them. It’s the Wells Fargo of the world that get the press, as they rightfully should, but the good ones are out there serving/helping those who need/want help and get few accolades.

      Again, your statement that there are much better ways to invest is simply off base. Are there other good ways to invest? Of course there is. The stock market is not the end all be all, but it is a vital part to building wealth for many.

      Let’s take a look at investing in real estate for example…it’s a great way to build wealth. But, is it free from scandal/scams/fraud/being taken advantage of? No! Just take a look at what happened in Miami, Vegas and other cities the last decade. People “invested” in real estate and they lost everything because of the illicit acts of some in the industry.

      The point is when there’s a way to take advantage of others, human nature dictates that it will happen.

      I’d also take issue with it only being Millennials not investing in the stock market. I speak with people in their 50s and 60s on a daily basis about investing and the prevailing issue, besides lack of funds, is knowledge. Stats bear this out when we see more than half of Americans are not investing in the stock market. Our society does not champion/promote/espouse financial literacy. As a result, partially, we see that many simply don’t know how to invest. Then, they step into the market and have issues because they lack the comfort level that comes with a basic knowledge…leaving them more prone to either being taken advantage of or lose a substantial amount.

      The point in all of this is that it’s important to have a balanced approach to your money. A large part of that balance comes from, again, knowledge – not being an alarmist.

  • MrMoneyBanks says:

    I think a fairly strong rule should be that if you’re investing less than $1,000 a time then avoid investing in individual companies. With trading fees and taxes anywhere between $10-$50 a time, investing less than $1,000 makes the expenses as a percentage of the investment incredibly high. Stick to some of John’s recommendations above people or simply save up and invest higher amounts each time

    • John Schmoll says:

      That’s an excellent point I’d tend to agree with. I hate dealing with fees and they can really take a bite out for smaller investors if they don’t know what they’re doing.

  • Deb says:

    Hi john im over 50 and have zero dollars for retirement . I really need to know where to start before it’s too late

    • John Schmoll says:

      Sorry to hear that Deb. Not knowing your exact situation it’s difficult to provide any real direction. My general suggestion would be to use someone like Betterment (they’re mentioned in the article) to help get you started.

  • Ryan Rollins says:

    Great post John! When I first started investing (with little money), one of the issues I had was watching the daily market fluctuations. It made me feel like a had to take action or I was “losing money”. With all the apps out there for investing, the opportunity for that is even more prevalent now.

    A big lesson for me was learning to look at trends over meaningful periods of time e.g years. Once I started doing that, it became a lot easier to adopt a “set it and forget it” mentality since I knew that daily fluctuations are A) unpredictable and B) tend to smooth out over months and years.

    Great stuff!

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