How to start investing, even if you’re broke

Many people believe that investing is something for the rich or financial experts.  The reality is though that anyone can start investing, and you don’t even need a lot of money.  You can start investing in stocks and bonds with as little as $5.  And you can even do it without being charged any fees!  So read on to find out why you should be investing and how you can do it too, even if you’re broke.

Investing does not equal Saving

Firstly, it’s important to know the difference between investing and saving.

There is a big difference between investing money and saving money.  Saving money in a bank account, piggy bank or under the mattress is good for using as an emergency fund but for long term growth its a really bad idea.  That’s because thanks to inflation, your money is worth less and less each year.  It’s the reason why your parents paid a lot less for their house, bread and milk all those years ago.  And in the future all those things, thanks to inflation will continue to rise in price.

That’s why you should be investing.  When you invest, your money is put into stocks, bonds and commodities with the aim of beating inflation.  And if you’re smart about investing you’ll not only beat inflation, but you’ll experience capital appreciation.

It’s important just to start

The sooner you start investing the easier it will become later on down the track.  Thanks to compounding your money will grow faster and faster over time.  And time is the crucial thing here, the more you have the more that growth will have an impact.  So even if you just start investing the absolute minimum amount, that’s better than not investing.

Use a low/no fee platform

The good news is that you don’t need thousands or even hundreds of dollars to start investing.  You can start with as little as $5.  Yes that’s right, you can invest in a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds with just $5.  There are two investing platforms that I recommend for most people.

Spaceship Voyager

This platform lets you invest small amounts in one of two portfolios.  One is made up of stocks from “future looking” companies.  Like companies such as Apple or Alphabet.  The other portfolio is a made up of Fortune 500 companies from Australia and the rest of the world.  Aka big companies like McDonald’s, Nike and BHP.

The real bonus of Spaceship is that they don’t charge any fees for balances under $5000.  That means you can start investing and build up your capital without having to worry about it being eaten away by fees.

Raiz

Raiz is the other platform I recommend.  It’s a lot like Spaceship Voyager but you can choose from one of six different portfolios, including a socially responsible option.  Raiz has a number of unique features that make it easier to invest like “round-ups” which automatically round-up your purchases to the nearest dollar and transfers that small amount into the investment account.

Raiz does charge a monthly fee.  So I wouldn’t recommend starting here unless you have at least $100.  But just like Spaceship you can invest as little as $5 at a time.

Setup recurring investments

The most important thing about investing is to do so regularly.  It’s not enough to transfer some money across to an investment account and just hope for the best.  The most successful strategy for most people is known as “dollar cost averaging”.  This simply means that you invest small amounts at regular intervals.

You can setup up automated investments in both Raiz and Spaceship.  These don’t need to be large amounts.  Even just $20 a fortnight could make a bug difference in a few years.

I set myself a calendar reminder to update my automated investment each month.  Just so I make sure I’m investing as much as I can afford to.

You can start today

So you don’t need to be rich or even have a full time job to start investing.  You can get started with as little as $5 and the younger you start the easier it is later on in life.  And thanks to fee free options, you really have no excuse!

 

This post is for educational purposes and should not be considered as investment advice. This post is based on individual experience and journalistic research.

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