How to Invest With No or Little Money: 8 Ways to Get Started

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Have $100 or less in your pocket that you’d like to invest, but not sure how to get started? Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to point you to eight places where you can invest with low or no minimums.

Here Are Some Easy Ways to Invest With No or Low Minimums

Money expert Clark Howard has long suggested that people invest in index funds rather than try to pick individual stock winners. Fortunately, there are a lot of services out there that will let you invest in index funds for $100 or less.

Some even have no minimum at all, so you can get started investing today with (literally) mere pocket change!

Just remember: If you have extra money in your life, you should first contribute as much as necessary to your 401(k) to pick up the full employer match before you invest in non-retirement accounts.

When you click on a service’s name below in our alphabetized list, you can read more about each of our selections.

Service Amount Required to Start Investing
Acorns $5
Betterment $0
Bumped $0
Folio $0
Robinhood $0
Charles Schwab $0-$1
Stash $5
You Invest $0

1. Acorns

  • Minimum investment: $5
  • Costs and fees: $1/month to get started

Acorns lets you invest small dribs and drabs of change from larger purchases. Here’s how it works: You give Acorns your log-in info for your credit or debit card account, and then the app rounds up every time you make a purchase and invests your change for you over time.

So let’s say you buy something for $3.24. Acorns will automatically round the purchase up to $4. The app takes that extra 76 cents and puts it in savings. Every time you hit the $5 threshold in your account, Acorns invests the money for you.

How does Acorns make its money? There is a monthly fee of $1. At $12 a year, the reality is your money may go backwards in the early years, Clark says. But if you stick with Acorns long-term, it might be a good way to turn your spare change into a little nest egg.

2. Betterment

  • Minimum investment: None
  • Costs and fees: 0.25% annually

Betterment is an automated investing service that provides optimized investment returns for individual, IRA, Roth IRA & rollover 401(k) accounts.

3. Bumped

  • Minimum investment: None
  • Costs and fees: None

Bumped is a free app that rewards your loyalty as a customer by offering you free fractional shares in dozens of big-name companies.

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You download the Bumped app, link up your credit card and select some retailers and restaurants that you frequent. Each time you make a purchase at one of them with the card you’ve linked, Bumped automatically gives you a few cents back in the form of company stock.

Just some of the participating brands are Chipotle, Kroger, Netflix, Target, Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks.

4. Folio

  • Minimum investment: None
  • Costs and fees: $4 per trade or $29/month for unlimited trades

Folio Investing is an online brokerage offering financial resources and investment products like stocks, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Just beware that if you make three trades or fewer per quarter with the basic plan, you may be subject to a $15 quarterly fee.

5. Robinhood

  • Minimum investment: None
  • Costs and fees: None

Robinhood is the latest to try zero-commission stock trading by offering free trades from your smartphone (both iPhone and Android).

How does Robinhood do this for free to you? According to Clark, the company makes money one of three ways: On the money you have on deposit with Robinhood in your online brokerage account; if you borrow (leverage) to trade; and by moving orders through particular platforms.

6. Schwab

  • Minimum investment: None to $1
  • Costs and fees: Vary

Charles Schwab is one of the nation’s leading low-cost investment houses. It has several index funds that should appeal to investors just starting out.

For example, there’s the Schwab S&P 500 Index Fund that tracks the total return of the S&P 500 by investing in leading U.S. publicly traded companies from a broad range of industries. It requires a minimum investment of $1.

Another option is the Schwab Total Stock Market Index Fund that tracks the total return of the Dow Jones U.S. Total Stock Market Index. This one has no minimum investment requirement.

7. Stash

  • Minimum investment: $5
  • Costs and fees: $1/month to get started

With Stash, you can buy ETFs for as little as $5 because you’re buying fractional shares. That’s setting the bar for entry really low when you consider some ETFs can have a minimum investment of $1,000.

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Stash does have some fees. Pricing starts at $1 a month. So if you are truly a small investor, your money will get eaten up pretty quickly. However, for those with balances of $5,000 or more, Stash charges 0.25%.

8. You Invest Trade from Chase

  • Minimum investment: None
  • Costs and fees: None

Chase’s You Invest Trade is the bank’s attempt to bring millennial investors into the fold with the offer of free stock trades and a new app.

With You Invest Trade, you get unlimited commission-free online stock and ETF trades. Plus, there’s no minimum account balance required so you can get started building a more secure financial future immediately.

More Investing and Retirement Stories on Clark.com

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