Whatever your financial target – funding higher education, getting a deposit for a house, starting up your own business or even being able to retire early – one thing is for certain, and that’s is that you need your money to work hard for you.
And while the lukewarm returns from a savings account or an ISA will take years to pile up, investing can be a fast track to success. If you’re clever, and have the stomach for a little risk, investing is definitely the way to go. But everybody has to start somewhere, and if you don’t have stacks of spare cash, can you still get started in the investment game?
Well, contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be born rich or have a huge amount of capital. In fact, these days, you can get started with really small amounts – we’re talking a couple of hundred – for what could eventually be life changing returns.
Here’s how you can start investing on the cheap today…
Practice Financial Hygiene
What is the secret to becoming independently wealthy? Most self-made investors will tell you that it all hinges on developing good financial habits, like putting away money each month. In fact, the amount is actually far less important than the practice of saving itself rather than wasting every penny on nights out and Uber. While it may not be the case that you can fund an early retirement simply by skipping takeaway coffees every day, the theory behind it is solid- you need to be putting away money each time you get paid. Saving money and investing it are two sides of the same coin. Generating a little financial cushion is your ticket to freedom, and it doesn’t have to be painful or long-winded. Just £10 per week adds up to over £500 over the course of a year. Create standing order from the account you get paid into to a savings account, so the money is in there before you even notice it. Or use a savings app like Moneybox, which can be set to round off each transaction you make to the nearest round number, stashing the difference in savings. Combined with a regular savings amount, this can soon add up, and give you the base sum you need to start making investments. The habit of living on less than you earn, and saving the rest is one that will give you financial autonomy and happiness. Gradually increase your savings contribution once you’re comfortable with the process.
Go for Automated Investments
Not sure where to get started with making investments? There are now online platforms that invest your savings for you, which are cheap to enter and easy to use, such as Betterment. The site will set you using with a portfolio of ETFs or Exchange Traded Funds. You don’t need to sit and choose securities, just answer a short questionnaire about your fiscal preferences. There isn’t a minimum deposit amount to open an account and you can get started investing from as little as just £10.
Use Mutual Funds
If you have your head around the basics, such as how to choose funds and what is forex, then the next step is to use a mutual fund- these are pre-bundled portfolios of stocks and shares that you can sort in a single transaction, perfect for low-level investors or those new to trading. Many have an initial minimum buy-in which can start in the thousands. But if you don’t have that kind of starter capital available, you can find funds which waive the minimum for investors who agree to regular monthly contributions of a set amount. If you are employed, sometimes you can set these up via payroll, which means the money goes before it hits your account and you accidentally spend it.