Finding low-maintenance investments and ways to track my wealth are important parts of making sure I’m preparing for my financial future while taking care of my money today. Here are some of the tools that I’ve found are great investment options for busy moms.
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Best Investment Options for Busy Moms
I’ve been using Betterment for years. It’s been a great way for me to grow my wealth in a “set it and forget it” way. My tax-advantaged retirement account is housed at Betterment, as are my long-term emergency savings and my travel fund.
With Betterment, you just answer a few questions about your timeline and risk tolerance, and they take care of the rest, choosing ETFs that are designed to help you be more likely to reach your goals. I automatically contribute to each of my accounts each month, creating a system where I don’t have to think about investing–it just happens automatically.
Related: 6 Ways To Automate Your Finances
Specifically designed for women, Ellevest can be a great help if you want to build wealth over time. Ellevest makes recommendations and will manage a portfolio for you, designed to help you manage your career and wage gap. You can also use Ellevest to manage short-term and long-term financial goals and get a full picture of your finances by connecting other accounts.
This is another tool I use to help save small amounts of money at a time. Similarly, Stash helps you create a portfolio based on your goals and profile. I don’t set aside as much in Stash, but I find that a small amount set aside automatically, and invested in a portfolio that I helped design based on my asset allocation needs can be a great help in saving up for small splurges, like a weekend getaway.
If you want to put your pocket change to work for you, growing your wealth, Acorns can be a solid choice. This app allows you to round up purchases made with debit and credit cards to the nearest dollar and deposits the money in an investment account. I like using this as a way to cover short-term needs.
You can choose an asset allocation that works for you. In my case, it’s fairly low-risk, but still investing. As a result, if a relatively small thing comes up, like a car repair or the need to purchase a new appliance, I can take money from my Acorns account.
Acorns also offers retirement accounts, so if you don’t have a lot of money to set aside for retirement now, you can use your pocket change to start growing your long-term wealth.
If you can open an account with a little more, like $500, you can set aside money each month using Wealthfront. This app can be a great way to grow your wealth with automatic investments. Plus, tools like its college planning guide can help you figure out how to make the most of your money to get your kids a good start.
Track Your Investments with These Apps
Get all your net worth information, including from investment accounts, in one place. Rather than going to each account to see where you stand, Personal Capital aggregates it all for you. Many budgeting apps don’t include investment accounts, but Personal Capital does. It’s a quick way to see everything in one place and you can take a holistic approach to your finances by seeing everything in one place. Personal Capital will even do a fee review to see where you could maximize your money.
This free app allows you to connect your investment accounts and then see everything in one place. You can even get an email each week summarizing the top gainers and losers. If you’re just looking for information at-a-glance, this can be a great tool to help you stay organized and on top of the situation without spending a lot of time on it.
Tips for Investing as a Busy Mom
As a busy mom, there’s a good chance you don’t have a lot of time to sit down and comb through a bunch of reports and use stock screeners to evaluate various stocks. If you’re looking to invest as a busy mom, here are a few tips that I’ve found help me get ahead financially without cutting into the time I spend with my son.
Use Index Funds or ETFs
Stock picking can be time consuming. Rather than getting involved with individual stocks, consider looking at index funds and ETFs. These types of investments allow you exposure to a variety of investments in one vehicle, providing you with instant diversity.
Personally, I like broad-based index funds and ETFs, like those based on the S&P 500. These types of funds have a lot of different companies and you basically track the stock market’s performance. While you won’t beat the market with these types of investments, you can still reach your goals, and in the end, it’s more about getting what you need, rather than trying to be smarter than the market.
If you’re looking for a simple investment platform with no commission or management fees, you should consider M1 Finance. Invest in ETFs and stocks of your choice or pick from one of their pre-made diversified portfolios.
Consider Asset Allocation
Various studies indicate that asset allocation–your mix of stocks, bonds, real estate, and other items–matters more than the actual individual investments. This is why using funds and ETFs can be so powerful. Rather than thinking that you need to get “into” a winner on the ground floor, consider your asset allocation related to your personal goals.
For short-term goals, a less-risky asset allocation, focusing on income-producing assets like bond and money market funds, can be a way to go about things. For longer-term goals, like retirement, leaning more heavily on stock funds and ETFs can make more sense. Your mix can change over time. Tools like Betterment make it easy to change your asset allocation as needed.
Look Into 529 Plans and Other Vehicles for Your Children
I’ve been contributing to my son’s 529 for more than 10 years. I opened an account, chose an index ETF based on the S&P 500 and invest a set amount of money each month. The result is that there’s enough in that account to pay for at least two full years of college.
Read More: How to Invest in a 529 Plan
If you open an account for your child’s benefit, and set up an automatic plan to invest in it each month, you might be surprised at how it grows over time without you thinking about it. When they are earning money, you can provide them with a custodial Roth IRA to get them started on retirement savings as well.
Start Small and Make it Automatic
The best thing you can do is get started. Even if you only have your pocket change (open an Acorns account) or a seemingly small amount, the power of compounding returns can make a difference over time. Start with anything and make it an automatic contribution. Over time, as your financial situation improves, you can increase what you set aside.
Related: How to Invest $100
When I first started investing, I put in $50 a month–total. Today, I’m able to set aside much, much more each month into various investment accounts that have different goals. The important thing is to get started, make it a habit, and prioritize increasing your contributions when you can.