If you’re new to investing, the idea of getting started can be daunting. After all, you probably don’t have tens of thousands of dollars lying around to build a portfolio and feel like you can’t make much of a difference with the disposable cash you do have.
Luckily, though, you can start your investment journey for a lot less--even if you only have $100 to begin.
The most important part of investing is getting started as early as possible. Rather than waiting until you have a large sum of money saved up, you can get started today and begin growing your savings. Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to building a healthy portfolio that earns you interest and sets you up for financial success for as little as $100.
Let’s look at a few fun (and low-cost) ways that anyone can start building an investment portfolio today.
Overview: Where and How to Invest $100
|Investment Type||Best For|
|High-yield savings accounts||Emergency funds and money that needs to be accessible|
|Certificates of deposit (CDs)||Those who don’t need to touch their funds right away|
|Company retirement accounts||Easy contributions, company matching, and investment diversification|
|Investment apps||On-the-go recommendations that are easy to access and often free|
|Robo-advisors||A hands-off approach with a diversified portfolio|
|Peer-to-peer lending||High risks but also high rewards|
1. Start with High-Interest Savings Accounts
The easiest and most flexible way to begin your investment adventure is actually to start saving your money in a high-yield savings account. While your returns will be more limited than they would be on the stock market, it will also be a safer investment--and you can withdraw your funds at any time without penalty.
If you don’t already have a sufficient emergency savings account established (ideally, six months’ worth of expenses), this is a must. Even if you do have some money saved away, a savings account can be a great way to keep a smaller amount of funds safe and secure, yet accessible.
The savings accounts of today won’t earn you as much as they would have ten or twenty years ago. However, there are some online banks offering as much as 1.80% on high-yield savings accounts right now, and the interest rate climbs all the time. This makes them a great introduction to the world of interest-bearing funds.
Some of our favorite banks for high-yield savings accounts include CIT Bank, Ally Bank, and Capital One 360. All three are online banks, charge no fees for savings accounts, and offer some of the highest interest rates on the market today.
Want to see even more of the best interest rates and the banks offering them? Check out our list here.
2. Earn With A CD
If you want your money to grow a bit more than it would with a high-yield savings account but still need the funds to be secure against market drops, then you can look into a certificate of deposit, or CD. These savings vehicles offer a guaranteed rate of return on your investment in exchange for locking your money away for a specified period of time.
As long as you leave the funds alone until the end of the CD term, you will receive your full investment amount plus the agreed-upon interest. It’s a safe, easy way to earn extra cash on your savings!
CDs come in a number of different flavors. For instance, there are CDs ranging in term from as little as three months to as many as five or six years. The longer the term, the higher interest rate you’ll be offered. Plus, many of them have low minimum deposit requirements, meaning that you can get started even if you only have $100 to tuck away.
As long as you know for certain that you won’t need to withdraw your funds early (which usually involves a painful early-withdrawal penalty), putting cash into a CD is a safe and easy way to invest.
3. Invest in Your Retirement Through Work
Interested in tax-advantaged retirement funds that will help you invest in your future? Then look into starting (and fully funding) an IRA in addition to your 401(k), through your employer.
If your employer offers to match contributions toward your 401(k), you should always take advantage of this. Even if you only contribute enough to collect the full employer match, that’s fine; failing to do so is essentially leaving free money on the table, though. Plus, your 401(k) contributions are tax-deductible and will grow over time, providing you with a healthy retirement nest egg for your future.
IRAs are also excellent long-term investment vehicles, primarily for the tax benefits. If you open a traditional IRA, your contributions will be tax-deductible up to the annual maximum. If you qualify for a Roth IRA, your contributions won’t be tax-deductible now, but your withdrawals will be when the time comes to utilize those funds.
Not sure if your IRA is as optimized as it could be? Services like blooom offer to analyze your investment account to ensure that your money is growing as well as it possibly can.
Saving for retirement is the second-most-important priority (behind establishing a healthy emergency savings account). Before worrying about building a stock market investment portfolio, be sure that you are setting your older self up for success.
4. Utilize an Investment App
Ready to dabble in the stock market, but don’t quite know where to start? Or maybe you don’t think that you have enough investable funds to warrant a stock brokerage? Well, then an investment app might be the perfect introduction for you and your money.
There are a number of intro-to-investing apps on the market today, but one of our favorites is called Stash. After answering a few questions to determine your investment style (do you want to be super conservative with your money or risk more in order to potentially make more?), Stash will curate the perfect recommendations for you.
To start using Stash, you only need $5, making it one of the most flexible and affordable investment options around. Plus, if your account balance is below $5,000, your monthly service fee for using the app is a single dollar.
Yep, for only $3, you can get curated investment options as well as a wealth of advice and resources. This makes Stash truly ideal for beginner investors who don’t really know where to start or aren’t ready for a financial advisor just yet.
Sign up for Stash and get a $5 bonus after funding your account with $5.
To read our complete review of Stash and learn more about the app, see our write-up here.
Alternatively, Acorns uses your spare change to make thoughtful investments across a diverse portfolio. It starts the process by siphoning off the change from your spending. If you buy a drink for $4.75, the app pays the vendor the correct amount and puts the remaining $0.25 in an account ready for investing.
The app is essentially a robo-advisor that automatically invests money you wouldn’t otherwise miss. Your portfolio can easily be spread across thousands of individual securities using just a small amount of funds. Read more in our Acorns Review.
Related: The Best Investment Apps
Another app we love is Public. Public is unique because it makes the stock market social. You can follow your friends and other investors and have conversations about companies and trends to build your financial literacy over time. There are even a few famous faces on the app, like Girlboss founder Sophia Amoruso, Adobe Chief Product Officer Scott Belsky, and NBA legend, Shaq.
In addition to the social piece, Public offers fractional shares for thousands of public companies and even popular ETFs from Fidelity and BlackRock. This makes it possible to build a portfolio with just $100, because you can invest with dollar amounts (e.g. $1 worth of Amazon stock, if you like).
Public also has a fun Themes tab where you can discover and learn about companies based on your values and interests. The Growing Diversity theme spotlights companies with high marks for diversity and inclusion. Infinity and Beyond curates companies involved in space travel. Made in the USA spotlights companies who support job creation domestically.
You won’t pay any commissions for standard stock and ETF trades with Public. It’s also one of the first free trading apps to announce that it will no longer participate in payment for order flow (PFOF). This decision removes any conflict of interest from its business model. Public also added an optional Tipping feature on trades and hopes that community support will help to offset the revenue it will lose by forgoing the PFOF model.
Read our review of Public or get started to see what the hype is about here.
Related: How to Invest in the Stock Market: A Guide
If you’re looking to diversify your portfolio, you could try Masterworks. Masterworks enables you to buy shares in blue-chip artwork pieces by household names like Van Gogh and Andy Warhol. While the value of art is inherently subjective and therefore a high-risk investment blue-chip works like these have historically outperformed the stock market by a significant margin.
Masterworks looks to buy a new work every 1-2 months, and pieces typically sell after 5-10 years, making it a long-term play. Works can only be sold when all owners agree to do so with no owner permitted a greater than 20 percent share, so as not to give them undue influence. As such, it is an illiquid asset, but long-term value investing is no bad strategy.
Aside from shared ownership of blue-chip art, Masterworks big innovation is using blockchain to both reliably value the art, and maintain accurate ownership records of all pieces. Plus, they’re planning to open a free-to-access gallery where you can visit your investment.
Read our full review of Masterworks or visit Masterworks here.
SEE IMPORTANT INFORMATION HERE.
5. Robo-Advisors Might Be the Answer
There is a growing number of robo-advisors on the market today, most of which offer you automated investment options for an affordable price tag. This makes them a great option for beginners or hands-off investors who want their money to grow without constant oversight.
Companies like Betterment offer easy-to-use platforms that make investing as simple as using a savings account. Simply add the money you want to invest (as much or as little as you can afford each month) to your account and watch Betterment work its magic by investing your funds in ETFs (exchange traded funds).
Robo-advisors will help you rebalance your portfolio over time, can reinvest your dividends, and will even help you with tax-loss harvesting. The fees are a bit higher than you would find if you invested your funds directly with a company, but the added expense may be well worth it to you for the convenience of a hands-off approach.
You can also opt for a robo-advisor such as Ally Invest or M1. Ally’s trading platform is free for stocks and ETF’s, and charges less than $10 per trade for mutual funds. With M1, there are no fees to worry about as long as you meet low investment minimums on the platform.
6. Check Out Peer-to-Peer Lending
Looking for a quick return on your funds, whether you’re investing $25 or $2,500? Then look into peer-to-peer lending.
Platforms like Lending Club and Prosper allow approved investors to put up funds in denominations as low as $25. You’ll be able to choose the peer loans that you’re most interested in, lending money directly to borrowers and enjoying return rates ranging from 5% to as high as 33% in some cases.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending comes with additional risks, but with great risk comes great rewards namely in the form of interest rates higher than you’re guaranteed to find elsewhere.
Curious how you can grow your investments if you’re starting out with only $100? Here are a few common questions from others who are just as curious.
How much interest will I earn on $100?
It’s impossible to say how much interest you can earn from $100 because there are a few key variables in play. First, it’ll depend on where you put that money — are you investing it in the stock market or letting it sit in a savings account? Then, it’ll depend on the timeframe — are you interested in how much that money will grow in a year or where it’ll stand come retirement? Just for perspective, though: if you had bought $100 worth of Amazon shares in 1997, you’d have enjoyed more than a $120,000 growth in value by 2018. On the other hand, if you put that $100 in a high-yield savings account today, you could earn a few extra bucks by year’s end.
How should I invest $100 to make $10k?
Again, where are you investing and how much risk are you willing to take on? The riskier the investment, the faster and more aggressive the growth. Short of perfectly timing a surprise stock or buying a winning lottery ticket, turning $100 into $10,000 will take some time. If you’re determined to grow a $100 investment to $10,000, though, you may want to consider high-risk stocks or something like peer-to-peer lending.
How can I invest $100 wisely?
The wisest investment is the one you can best live with. If you don’t really have $100 to spare in the first place, investing it in a mutual fund probably isn’t wise. If you can’t afford to lose that money, using a p2p platform to offer loans with it also isn’t wise. If you can comfortably take on that risk, though, go for it. Otherwise, wise investments include savings accounts and CDs, and you’ll want to be sure to calculate how long you realistically want to invest those funds.
What’s the best way to invest $100 short term?
If you need your money available sooner rather than later, you’ll be trading off growth for convenience. With that said, short-term investments may be the best choice for those who just want to earn a little extra money and then have their funds available when they need them. This means putting it away in a CD with a smaller time frame or letting it grow in a savings account.
Investing doesn’t only mean spending tens of thousands of dollars on stocks and building a Wall Street portfolio. It simply means making your money work for you, and you can get started for as little as a few bucks.
There are plenty of options to begin building your first portfolio, letting your money earn interest and grow over time. Whether you choose a high-yield savings account or go the high-risk/high-return route of the stock market, the important thing is to start early.
Also read: What to Do with Your Money When Interest Rates Are Low
Be sure to also watch your progress over time, too, and revisit whether you are making efforts in the right places. No, you don’t need to watch your investments daily or obsess over normal market fluctuations. However, using a platform like Empower to track not only your investments and savings accounts but overall net worth can be invaluable along the way.
(Personal Capital is now Empower)