Tens of millions of people will retire broke. That’s because they never began investing – and the reason they never began investing is because they had a perceived lack of money. But if you’ve ever had at least 100 extra dollars in your wallet or bank account, you have all the money you need to start investing.

The moral of the story: you can invest with $100.

All that needs to happen is for you to get started. This article will tell you exactly how to do that.

No Matter What You Think or You’ve Heard, $100 is Plenty to Get Started

What is $100 today? It could pay for dinner for two at a moderately priced restaurant. It could pay to fill the gas tank of an SUV, twice. It might even buy a concert ticket for a modestly popular rock band.

Or you can use it to begin your investment life. That’s how you transform the use of $100 into a life changing event.

Does that sound like an exaggeration? It actually isn’t. Notice on virtually all the other spending options, once the money is used, it’s gone forever.

But if instead you choose to invest the money, not only will you have it for life, but you’ll also have everything it earns along the way.

Eventually, you can use investing to turn $100 into $1,000. And if you invest $100 at regular intervals – weekly or monthly – you’ll multiply the effort many times over.

That’s the basic benefit of investing, and it’s how small investors become rich ones.

The catch is you have to position yourself to take advantage of the time value of money. That is, properly invested, money grows over time. That’s exactly how $100 becomes $1,000 – or even $10,000.

But to make that work in your life, you have to get started. And $100 turns out to be more than enough. As you’ll see from the investment options we’ll be laying out shortly, you can even invest $100 in several different investments.

Everything in the investment universe has changed in the past couple of decades. The industry now caters to even the very smallest investors. It’s now possible to open a variety of investment accounts with just a few dollars.

If you’re not participating, you’re passing up an opportunity to create a better and richer future for yourself and your family.

Where Can You Invest with $100?

In Can You Invest with $5? Easily – Here’s How the investment recommendations were limited to micro-investing apps and robo-advisors. Those still apply here. But the field of potential investments expands with an initial investment of $100.

At the $100 level, we can add real estate crowdfunding and investment brokers to the list of potential investments.

Micro-Investing Apps

Best for: Those who are unable to save to begin investing

Micro-investing apps have the added benefit of also helping you save money. They’re purposely built to include a micro-savings capability to help you build up the funds needed to invest. And as you accumulate funds – usually as little as $5 – they’ll begin investing it, robo-advisor style. They’re perfect for people who want to invest, but can’t save the money to get started.

Examples of micro-investing apps you can use with $100, $500, or any amount in that general range, include:

  • Acorns. The app uses a process called “Round Ups”. The app connects to your bank account, and when you purchase an item for, say, $4.17, the app charges your bank account $5, then move 83 cents into savings. Once the round ups reach $5, they’re transferred to the robo-advisor account, where your money is invested in a fully diversified portfolio.
  • Stash Invest. You make regular direct contributions of $5 at a time from your bank account – which you’ll hardly miss. The app provides you with investment recommendations, that includes fractional shares of stock (see explanation below).
  • Rize. You set and fund savings goals, which can then be invested in ETFs. There’s no minimum investment, and you can pay any fee you consider to be fair.

Robo-advisors

Best for: Those who can save and are ready to begin investing with very little money

These are automated, online investment platforms that are perfect for new and small investors. They provide the following benefits:

  • Begin investing with very little money.
  • Fully diversified portfolio is created for you.
  • Professional investment management, including portfolio rebalancing and dividend reinvestment.
  • Low management fees.
  • Available for both taxable accounts and IRAs.

Examples of popular robo-advisors include:

  • Betterment. Open your account with no money at all, and fund it with periodic deposits. They’ll design and manage your portfolio, and your only responsibility will be to fund your account. The annual fee is just 0.25%.
  • WiseBanyan. Open an account with just $1, but you must have at least $10 in your account before you can begin investing. They provide professional investment management for free.
  • Ellevest. Designed specifically for women. Invests in a higher percentage of companies led by women, and accounts for the fact that women live longer than men. No minimum initial investment to open an account, and the annual fee is just 0.25%.
  • Fidelity Go. No minimum initial investment, and the annual management fee is 0.35%. The advantage here is that you can also open a self-directed investment brokerage account with Fidelity (see Investment Broker section below).

For a full list of our favorite robo-advisors, check out this article.

Real Estate Crowdfunding

Best for: Those looking to diversify some funds into real estate

This may be the most surprising investment on this list. Usually when we think of investing in real estate, we think of investing many thousands of dollars into single properties. But real estate investing has come a long way in the last few years. Real estate crowdfunding platforms enable small investors to begin investing in property with just a few dollars.

Groundfloor is an excellent example. You can invest as little as $10 in property flipping deals. These are exactly like what you may have seen on the show Flip or Flop. You’re not actually participating in the flip directly. Instead, you’re buying slices of flip related loans, called “notes”.

With just $100, you can invest in notes in ten different property deals. What’s more, Groundfloor investments have no fees. They’re also available for IRA accounts.

Another example is Rich Uncles. With this platform, you actually invest in real estate investment trusts (REITs) that invest in commercial real estate. They generally require a minimum initial investment of $500. But they have one REIT that allows you to invest with as little as $5. They also charge no fee for investing, and offer IRA accounts.

So go ahead and add real estate to the list of potential investments with $100.

Investment Brokers

Best for: Those looking to invest in ETFs, and ultimately self-directed investing

There are investment brokers that enable you to open an account with no money at all. Obviously you’ll need money to invest, but $100 may be all you’ll need.

Investing in individual stocks will be difficult. Here are some factors to consider:

Penny stocks. These are stocks that generally trade at less than $5 per share. But they’re highly speculative, which is why they trade at such low prices. The chances of losing money on these is quite a bit greater than the potential for big gains.

Fractional shares. Some brokers will enable you to purchase a slice of one share of stock. For example, if a stock trades at $200, you may be able to purchase a half share for $100. But a trading fee of $4.95 would represent a 5% fee on the trade, and an immediate 5% loss. You also won’t be able to diversify with fractional shares.

Instead, invest in exchange traded funds (ETFs), which you can easily do through investment brokers. These are similar to mutual funds, except that they track an index, like the S&P 500, rather than invest in a specific selection of stocks. You can invest in ETFs with just a few dollars. And you’ll still get a totally diversified portfolio in the process.

The following investment brokers require no money to open an account, and offers low trading fees:

As a small investor you should favor investment brokers that have no trading fee. Trading fees eat into your investment, which is much more important on a small investment.

Micro-Investing vs. Robo-Advisors vs. Real Estate Crowdfunding vs. Investment Brokers

As you can see, you can actually begin spreading your investment wings with as little as $100. For example, you can invest $20 with a real estate crowdfunding platform, and $80 with a robo-advisor or an investment broker. That will give you an opportunity to diversify your holdings, as well as to grow them in different investment categories.

Below is a summary table of the main features of each investment type, as well as how it can fit into your budding portfolio:

Platform/FeatureMicro-investing AppsRobo-AdvisorsReal Estate CrowdfundingInvestment Brokers
Best for…Those who are unable to save to begin investingThose who can save and are ready to begin investing with very little moneyThose looking to diversify some funds into real estateThose looking to invest in ETFs, and ultimately self-directed investing
Minimum investment$0 - $5$0 - $10 and up$5 - $10 and up$0 and up
Fees$1 per month to 0.25% per year0.25% - 0.50% per yearNone for Groundfloor and Rich Uncles, but most have fees$0 to $6.95 per trade
Automatic depositsYesYesVaries by platformGenerally
Fully designed portfolioYesYesYes, with REITsNo, but ETFs are portfolios
Ongoing portfolio managementYesYesYesNo, generally self-directed
Available for IRAsSomeYesYesYes

Where NOT to Invest with Just $100

We’ve recommended certain investments above. But there may be a few others you’ve thought of but wondered why we haven’t included them. Here’s why:

  • Individual stocks. As discussed above, your options here are penny stocks and fractional shares. Neither is a viable option when you have only a few dollars to invest.
  • Mutual funds. The main problem is the minimum initial investment. It’s $2,500 to $3,000 for most funds, but you might find a couple as low as $1,000. Obviously, that won’t work with a $100 investment.
  • Collectables. These include numismatic coins, stamps, or artwork. You’re unlikely to find investment grade collectables with $100.
  • Fixed income investments. These can include bank savings products , bonds, and US Treasury securities. But the interest rates are very low, and the investment minimums are often very high.

We’re not implying that any of these are poor investments – only that they won’t work with an upfront investment of $100 or less. As your portfolio grows, to where you have several thousand dollars, you’ll certainly want to consider some or all of the above.

In the meantime, start investing in the investment vehicles listed in this article. Each is an excellent place to get started, and you can even begin diversifying your holdings with as little as $100.

Get started now, and you can gradually build your portfolio with a combination of investment income and future contributions. Even though you’re starting small, time is always on your side when it comes to investing.

Note: This article is about how to invest $100, but the strategies provided are also relevant for people who have more money. Whether you have $250, $500, or $750, these strategies will apply equally to you. If you have more (or less) than that, check out one of these articles.

 

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