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

|
Investing online concept with keyboard and red key
Image Credit: Dreamstime

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 get started investing 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 get invested in index funds and more 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 to first pick up any match your employer offers on your 401(k) before investing in these 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
Stash $5
You Invest $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 accounts, and then the app rounds up every time you make a purchase so they can invest your small change for you over time.

So let’s say you buy something for $3.24. Acorns will automatically round the purchase up to $4. Then they take that extra 76 cents and put it in savings. Every time you hit the $5 threshold in your account, they take it and invest it for you.

How does Acorns make its money? There is an annual fee of $1 a month or $12 a year to use the service. At $12 annually, the reality is your money may go backwards in the early years. But if you stick with Acorns for years to come, it might be a good way to turn your spare change into a little nest egg.

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.

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.

Advertisement

The basic idea is 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 that card, Bumped automatically gives you a few cents back in the form of company stock.

Participating brands include Chipotle, Kroger, Netflix, Target, Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks, among others.

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 ETFs.

Just beware that if you make fewer than four trades a quarter, you may be subject to a $15 fee.

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? They make money one of three ways: On the money you have on deposit with them in your online brokerage account; if you borrow (leverage) to trade; and by moving orders through particular platforms.

Schwab

  • Minimum investment: $0
  • Costs and fees: Varies

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

For example, there’s the Schwab S&P 500 index 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.

Another option might be the Schwab Total Stock Market index that tracks the total return of the Dow Jones U.S. Total Stock Market Index.

Both have no investment minimums.

Advertisement

Stash

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

With Stash, you can buy exchange-traded funds 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!

Stash does have some fees. It makes money by charging $1 a month for balances under $5,000. So if you truly are 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%.

You Invest from Chase

  • Minimum investment: $1
  • Costs and fees: Unlimited free trades for your first year; $2.95 per trade after that

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

This introductory offers give you unlimited free trades for the first year after opening an account. Subsequent trades after that will be $2.95 per trade.

See the full commission schedule here.

More Investing and Retirement Stories on Clark.com

  • Show Comments Hide Comments