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If you have $1 million to invest, the options can be endless. Below, we've sorted through the most financially-savvy moves you can make.

It may seem like you’ll never have $1 million to invest, but if you invest consistently over decades, you might build up that much wealth more quickly than you’d think. And if you manage to get a windfall with that many zeros behind it, it’s best to figure out ahead of time how you’ll invest it to keep it growing.

So let’s say someone decides to give you, randomly, $1 million tomorrow. What will you do with it? Well, hopefully you’d consult with a professional who can give you advice for the best way to allocate your funds. But once you’ve decided to do that, your best bet is to choose low-cost, high-reward investment options. And, of course, you’ll want to diversify your investment portfolio. So to do that, here are seven options you can invest in if you have a million dollars.

Investment TypeBest For
Robo advisorsLow fees
Individual stocksControlling your investments
Real estatePhysical investments you can see
BondsBalancing your risk
Peer-to-peer lendingHigh-risk/high-reward

1. Pay Off Every Single Debt

First, if you have any major debts, you’ll want to pay those off. There’s some debate about whether or not you should pay off your house, so put some thought into this one. But, at a minimum, you should knock out any and all high-interest debt. Most of the investments below will not come anywhere near beating the 15%+ interest you’re paying for credit cards and personal loans. So get rid of those first so you have a great financial base to launch your investments from.

2. Be Sure You Have a Fully-Funded Emergency Fund

Again, before we start talking about investments, let’s be sure you’ve got your financial base in place. A fully-funded emergency fund of six months’ or more worth of expenses is your next step. For this, you’ll want to put the money somewhere that it’s liquid and insured, so look for an FDIC-insured savings account with a high yield. Some of the best options today are online-only and include Chime, CIT Bank, Ally Bank, and Capital One 360. These online options pass their low overhead on to customers in the form of higher APY, which right now might even be out-earning inflation.

Also Read: Best Online Savings Accounts with High Interest

3. Max Out Your Retirement Savings First

With a million dollars to invest, you can definitely max out your retirement savings vehicles first, and using these tax-advantaged accounts should be your priority each year that you possibly can. If you already have money going into a company 401(k), consider a service like Blooom to make sure you’re getting the most out of it. And if you don’t already have an IRA, open one to use with some of the following investing options. Then max out those accounts before you direct money to your taxable accounts.

Read More: Blooom Review – Finally, a Robo-Advisor for Your 401(k)

4. Try Robo Advisors or Investing on Your Own for Solid Long-Term Investments

Any time you’re looking to make a big investment, big fees will have an amplified effect. So you’ll definitely want to look for the lowest-fee options that have a good yield when you’re looking to invest this much money. One option for that is to invest with a robo advisor. Using algorithms instead of individuals, these services make historically solid investing decisions but cost far less than traditional investment advisors. Some of our favorite options, like Betterment and Wealthfront, have very low fees and give you access to a variety of investment options. M1 Finance is another option that’s free to use with investing options for a selection of ETFs.

Learn More: Best Robo Advisors

If you’re interested in investing in stocks on your own, consider You Invest by J.P. Morgan.  You can currently make trades on stocks, options and ETF’s for the low low fee of $0 (yes, it really is nothing) and the platform is very simple to use.

Right now, new account holders can earn up to a $725 cash bonus.

  • $200 cash bonus if you deposit at least $25,000
  • $350 cash bonus if you deposit at least $100,000
  • $725 cash bonus if you deposit at least $250,000

(All accounts must be funded at these levels in the first 45 days and remain in the account for at least 90 days)


5. Invest In Your Values

If you’re interested in using that million dollars to spread some good in the world, you can do that while earning money through services like Wealthsimple. This particular robo advisor charges higher fees than the others listed here. But that’s for good reason. It offers a carefully-curated selection of investment portfolios including Socially Responsible Investing–featuring companies who are strong in certain values, such as producing lower carbon emissions or supporting gender diversity. While millionaires can definitely invest directly in such businesses, using a service like Wealthsimple takes some of the work and risk out of the process.

Read More: Wealthsimple Investing Review

6. Consider Adding In Some Real Estate

Even with a million dollars to invest, you may not be able to outright buy property in some areas of the country. And if you do own a property on your own, you’re stuck with the headache of managing it. If you want to avoid that but still want to add real estate to your portfolio, check out options like Fundrise and RealtyMogul. They’re both great options, but Realty Mogul is particularly great for discriminating accredited investors who want to be choosy about the real estate projects they put money behind.

Review: Real Estate Crowdfunding with Fundrise

Review: Is RealtyMogul the Easiest Way to Invest in Commercial Real Estate?

7. Look at Lending for Big Returns

Another way to be choosy and to get a potentially hefty return on your investment is with a peer-to-peer lending platform. Options like Lending Club and Prosper are great for lending your money to individuals who need to consolidate debt, fix up their home, or whatever. When you invest in these platforms, you can create a portfolio of loans that you partially help fund, so that you can spread your risk across multiple loans quite easily. These platforms have historically been great for investors and could net you some serious returns.

Read more: LendingClub Review – Invest on the Largest P2P Lending Platform

8. Consider Balancing with CDs and Securities

Of course, even millionaires have to worry about keeping a balanced portfolio and ensuring that not all of their capital is in riskier investments. That’s where options like CDs and securities come in. These have traditionally been a way to out-earn inflation so you aren’t losing money with it sitting around. But they’re also much safer than any other types of investments. So be sure you talk to your financial advisor about the best way to utilize tools like these to bring balance to your portfolio.

Looking for a financial advisor? Check out Paladin. It’s a free service that connects you with highly-rated financial advisors. You can decide from there if any one of them are right for you. Because the service is free, you really don’t have anything to lose. If you want to learn more about Paladin, visit their website here or read our full Paladin review

Strongly Consider Working with a Professional

If you have $1 million to invest, you have to be incredibly smart with how you manage that money. As we’ve written about before, $1 million isn’t a lot these days–in fact the argument can be made that you need $2 million to retire.

So, it’s important that you not only preserve the $1 million the best you can, but also help it grow. Investing is one thing you have to do–but only if you are comfortable managing that large of a portfolio. If you’re not (and even if you are) I would STRONGLY consider looking at working with a professional.

For example, Facet Wealth will align you with a Certified Financial Planner that matches your financial situation, giving you a dedicated CFP to work with on all of your financial goals. You’ll meet with them virtually, via a video conference, and get advice and recommendations on how to manage your money.

I get that you’d want to manage $1 million on your own (heck, even getting to this point is an accomplishment) but don’t be silly and mismanage it. At least take a few minutes to look into Facet Wealth review.

Track Your Investments

As you begin pulling together your various investments, it’s important to figure out how you’re going to keep track of it. Sure, you could pay someone to do it all for you. But that would just eat into your returns and your ability to grow your money. If you’d prefer to keep an eye on your investments yourself, check out services like Personal Capital, which help you pull together all the various threads of your financial life, from your budget to your investments on different platforms.

Learn More: Personal Capital Review: A Free Wealth Management Tool

Personal Capital can help you track your investments’ performance, spot potential problems, and keep an eye on your overall portfolio balance. It can also run your day to day budget, so it’s a very flexible platform that’s worth using once you’re ready to start keeping track of all this money.

The most important thing to remember is once you hit that million dollar goal mark you’ve been saving for, the work isn’t over. You could easily lose it with celebratory spending. Have a plan in place for how you want to make this money work for you. With the right investment vehicle, you’ll be cruising down the road towards financial freedom.


How much interest will I earn on $1 million dollars?

To use a basic example, say you had an account with $1 million that paid 4% annually–in such a case, you’d earn $40,000 per year. What’s great about compounding interest, though, is by leaving your money in the account, interest would accumulate on the new balance. So after the second year, assuming no other changes, you’d have $41,600.

How should I invest $1m to make $2 million dollars?

To effectively double $1 million, you’ll need to use the rule of 72, which is a formula that has you divide 72 by your expected annual rate of return. So, for example, if you’ve invested $1 million and anticipate a 5% rate of return, you can expect to double your million into two within about 14.4 years [72 / 5 = 14.4]. Now, to get a 5% rate of return, you should invest somewhat aggressively, such as in real estate, peer-to-peer lending, or using a robo advisor.

How can I invest $1m wisely?

To invest $1m wisely, you should look for investments that will net you an average of 4-6% on average, annually. For this, you should look at investments like buying a business, investing in index funds, and investing in large-scale commercial real estate projects. Regardless of what you choose, though, you should diversify your portfolio – especially investing this much.

What’s the best way to invest $1m short term?

The best short-term investment for $1m is a low-cost index fund that broadly diversifies your investments in stocks across a variety of industries. Alternatively, you can invest your $1m in a robo advisor which will pick low-cost investments across different areas for you.

Can I retire with $1 million dollars?

You can retire with $1 million dollars if you manage your withdrawals appropriately. The Rule of 4 says that you should withdraw no more than 4% of your total portfolio each year. Assuming you’re earning at least 4% in returns, you can effectively live off of interest-earned without touching your principal balance. With a $1 million portfolio, this is $40,000 per year.

How can I earn passive income with $1 million?

The best way to earn a passive income with $1 million is to put it into something like real estate, where you own the property and can collect rent each month. With $1 million, you could invest half of that in a few properties that generate monthly income, pay a management company to manage it for you (so it’s completely passive), and invest the other half in a broadly diversified index fund. This way, you’re not opening yourself up to too much risk.

Bottom Line

As you can see, there are many ways you can invest $1 million. The first thing to recognize is that you’ve amassed this much money, which is more than many people can say for themselves. Next, though, you need to determine a strategy and focus on executing that strategy (and stick to the plan!) so you can make that $1 million last and grow even more.

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Author Bio

Total Articles: 279
Abby is a freelance journalist who writes on everything from personal finance to health and wellness. She spends her spare time bargain hunting and meal planning for her family of three. She has a B.A. in English Literature from Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, and lives with her husband and children in Indianapolis.

Article comments

1 comment
Steveark says:

Actually that happened to me, a million dollar windfall. Since I had no debt, maxed out retirement contributions, and millions sitting in robo advisors I put the money with Personal Capital. It’s a way of not having everything in
index funds since PC includes individual stocks, real estate and alternatives. Their fees are a little higher than the pure robo’s but I get a break for the account being seven figures.