You might be surprised at how little it takes to invest. Here's how to find the money to start investing.
Every day I receive email questions from readers. Usually, I fire off a quick response and move on. Sometimes, though, I get a number of questions that are very similar. Recently, the subject of investing has been flooding my email inbox. I've had a number of readers?ask me how to find the money to start investing.
This is a good question to ask because investing is one of the best ways to plant money seeds that can produce future wealth. (See what I did there?)
It's not as hard as you think. Even if you think you are broke with nothing to put toward investing, the truth is that you probably have?something you can start with. Here are the steps to take if you want to find the money to start investing:
Start with Your Priorities
In my book, everything starts with priorities. What do you want your money to accomplish for you? What matters to you. Clarifying what really matters to you and what you are serious about can help you make better financial decisions moving forward.
I've made it a priority to invest. As a result, that money (whether it's for my retirement account, emergency fund, or travel fund) comes out of my account first, before I eat out or buy new clothes or do any number of other things that might come up.
When I first started investing, I wasn't sure how I would find the money. I was sure I was too broke to invest anything. But then I looked at my expenses. I took a loooong, hard, honest look. And discovered that I could free up $50 a month to invest once I made it a true priority. It's possible to open accounts with as little as $25, and get started. Hell, there are places out there now that will let you start investing with your pocket change with Acorns.
If you can find the money to pay for a smartphone cell plan or get takeout twice a week, you can probably find the money to start investing.
No, $50 a month isn't enough to fund your retirement. However, once I started making investing a priority, and seeing how I could benefit from investing, I began looking for other ways to re-jigger my finances to invest more. Also, even though I started with a small amount of money to invest each month, I eventually began earning more money, and with increase to my income, I made a point to invest more.
Make More Money
Making more money is easier said than done. However, once you've looked at your finances and you've eliminated expenses that aren't true priorities and diverted that money to investing, it's time to start looking for ways to take your contributions up a notch.
One of the best ways to find money to start investing more is to create that cash flow. Some of the ways you can create more income include:
- Start a side gig: I freelance for a full-time income, but I know a number of people who do it as a side gig. There are plenty of other easy-to-start side gigs that you can use to boost your ability to invest and even reach financial independence.
- Work for a raise: How long have you been at your job? Is it time to ask for a raise? Work toward getting a raise, and you can put some — or even all — of the increase toward investing.
- Look for a new job: You can also job hunt for a better-paying job, or get a part-time second job to raise more funds for investing. I'm not a fan of working more than one job, but if you are struggling with other methods of making more money, it can be one of the simpler solutions.
- Use income investing to your advantage: Income investing strategies can help you boost your portfolio a little bit at a time. I invest in index funds that pay dividends. The result is that I invest a little more money each month as my automatic reinvestment kicks in. The amount is small at first, but it snowballs over time.
- Move to a cheaper living situation: This isn't practical for everyone. However, if you can move to an area that has a lower cost of living and results in a higher disposable income, you will find money to start investing a little easier. When I moved back to Idaho from Pennsylvania after my divorce, I increased how much I was investing each month because I could.
Think about your lifestyle and your priorities, and determine whether or not you can tweak different aspects so that you are better able to find money to start investing — or boost the amount you have been investing.
Online Discount Brokers
Once you realize that you have the money to invest, it makes sense to look for online discount brokers. You want to keep your fees as low as you can so that you see better real returns over time. I use Betterment for my retirement account and travel fund. Another good low-cost broker is Wealth Simple.
Review your needs and abilities. You need to commit at least $100 a month if you are going to use Betterment. There are pros and cons associated with any online discount broker, and you should understand yourself as you make your choice of discount broker.
Don't let common investing myths hold you back. Today it's easier than ever to start investing ?no matter how much (or how little) money you have.