When looking at the huge quantities of wealth on Wall Street, it's easy for the average person to wonder how he can invest alongside multibillionaires when his account balance pales in comparison.
Investing small amounts of money is quite easy and can even be automated to the point where you are required to do nothing. Just a few clicks of a mouse or a 5-minute call to a customer service rep, and you can be on your way to investing a small sum of money on regularly.
Open an account with an investment management company.
Well-known companies such as Vanguard and Fidelity offer quick and easy investment options for beginning investors because they have a wide range of low-cost index funds or actively managed mutual funds that require little to no work on your part after you fund your account. This also allows you to invest small amounts of money on a regular basis without having to pay investment fees.
Open a stock trading account with an online discount broker. Online discount brokers such as Zecco Trading, eTrade and Tradeking are among the better online brokers. This type of account will allow you to buy stocks, ETFs, mutual funds and index funds for small transaction fees, and some will allow a set number of free trades each month.
Create a budget so you can save a small amount of money each month or each quarter.
Once you have opened an account and made a few investments, make it a regular habit.
Store your savings in an account that you will not be tempted to spend from. A high-yield savings account works very well in these situations.
Alternatively, you can adjust the direct deposit payment plan from your employer so the funds are directly transferred into your investment account. Automating your finances is one of the most effective means of saving money.
Direct your investment management company to invest your monthly savings in an automatic investment plan. You can do this on their website. If you're new to investing or just like to talk to a live person, call customer service.
If you have little experience maintaining your investments, you should consider selecting a "hands off" investment approach by investing in index funds or mutual funds.
If you have some investing experience, you could also select a more active investment approach by buying and selling stocks yourself. Use your judgment and choose your investments wisely.
Use some caution if buying individual stocks. Stick to blue chip companies or index funds if you're not an experienced investor. Beware of investing advisers or financial planners who want to sell you mutual funds with a load fee. It's wasted money and only serves to increase his salary, not benefit your retirement fund.
- Joshua Davis @ Flickr