How to Start Investing With Little Money (2024)

People often think that it takes big bucks to be an investor. In fact, despite wanting to invest in the stock market, 38 percent of Americans say they don’t make or have enough money to get started, according to a recent survey by personal finance site GOBankingRates.

But with the rise of micro investing and fractional investing, it’s now possible to get going with as little as $5. And there are many benefits to beginning to invest early, even if you only have a small amount of cash to do it.

What is micro investing?

Aptly named, micro investing is investing in super small increments, made feasible by the ability to buy mere fractions of shares. That makes highly priced stocks, such as those of big names like Amazon (around $1,760 a share, as of mid December) and Google-parent Alphabet (about $1,350 a share), accessible to investors who couldn’t otherwise afford to dedicate that much of their portfolio to a single share of any one company.

Even investing in mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, which are relatively more affordable than individual stocks, can demand sums of money that many regular investors might find intimidating, especially for those just getting started. For example, many mutual funds have required minimum initial investments of $1,000 or more. And ETFs can have pricey shares, too. Vanguard’s 500 ETF (found in some Acorns portfolios) is more than $290 a share, and iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (also used in some Acorns portfolios) is about $128 a share.

Investing through Acorns, though, you can buy fractional shares of those ETFs and others with just your spare change. Here’s how it works: You set up your account and link it with a funding source (like your checking or Spend account) and the debit or credit cards you use to make everyday purchases. With the Acorns Round-Up feature, whenever you use your linked card, the charge gets rounded up to the next dollar amount. Once that change adds up to $5 or more, the money is pulled from the bank account you listed as your funding source and invested into your custom portfolio, a mix of ETFs designed to match your risk tolerance.

Is it worth it to invest in such small increments?

Absolutely. Any pittance stands to grow into a nice cash cushion, if given enough time, thanks to a little thing called compounding. That’s how your money is able to grow earnings on top of earnings on top of earnings, et cetera. So the sooner you start investing, even if you have just a little bit of cash, the more time you’re giving it to compound.

Try our compound interest calculator to see for yourself!

For example, let’s say you save $10 a week. After 10 years, you’d wind up with $5,200 if you simply keep your money in a good old-fashioned piggy bank. Not bad! If you use a savings account that pays 1 percent, compounded monthly, that would bump your total after 10 years up to $5,468. Pretty good! But by investing, and earning 6 percent (a reasonable expectation for average annual market returns over time) on that $10 a week, you’d rack up $7,115 after 10 years. That’s an extra $1,915 just for putting your money in a different place. Totally worth it, right?

To be clear, though, investing $10 a week or only your spare change may not be enough to fully fund major long-term financial goals, such as your retirement, even with decades of compounding to work. But it’s a good start. And hopefully, just getting started can show you how easy investing can be and motivate you to keep it up and to save and invest even more as soon as your budget allows.

But isn’t investing risky?

Yes, investing does require taking on risk. But not investing can be risky, too. One of the biggest threats to your uninvested savings: inflation. The current inflation rate of about 2 percent, according to, means that even the money you “safely” put into a savings account is likely losing purchasing power while it sits. (Remember that even savings accounts are offering an average rate of just 1 percent, according to Bankrate.) Investing is your best bet at beating inflation over the years.

Of course, this isn’t necessarily an either-or situation. For your overall financial plan, experts advise setting money aside for both savings and investing. Typically, you want to have an emergency fund and other cash you expect to need within the next few years accessible in a savings account. Any money you can put away for longer can be invested.

Within your investment portfolio, being well-diversified can help minimize risk. That means spreading your cash out across a variety of investments that offer different levels of safety and potential returns. On the safer side, you have cash investments (like money-market funds or certificates of deposit) and bonds, and on the riskier but potentially more rewarding side, you have stocks.

And even within those broad categories, you want to diversify more narrowly, too. In the stock portion of your portfolio, for example, you should consider buying both foreign and domestic stocks, as well as companies of different sizes and in different industries. Among your bonds, you want picks from different types of issuers (i.e. government and corporate) and with different duration levels (i.e. maturing in the short-term vs. the long-term). Mixing it up like this boosts the odds that you’ll always have at least one asset winning at any given time.

With just a small amount of money to invest, being well-diversified was once a big challenge. That’s why micro investing and fractional investing is such a game changer, making diversification accessible to the masses. Taking advantage of this relatively new possibility using Acorns or other similar financial services means you can get started with investing sooner and reach all your financial goals earlier.

This material has been presented for informational and educational purposes only. The views expressed in the articles above are generalized and may not be appropriate for all investors. The information contained in this article should not be construed as, and may not be used in connection with, an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy or hold, an interest in any security or investment product. There is no guarantee that past performance will recur or result in a positive outcome. Carefully consider your financial situation, including investment objective, time horizon, risk tolerance, and fees prior to making any investment decisions. No level of diversification or asset allocation can ensure profits or guarantee against losses. Article contributors are not affiliated with Acorns Advisers, LLC. and do not provide investment advice to Acorns’ clients. Acorns is not engaged in rendering tax, legal or accounting advice. Please consult a qualified professional for this type of service.

I'm an experienced financial advisor with a deep understanding of investment strategies and personal finance. Over the years, I've helped numerous individuals navigate the complexities of investing, from beginners looking to start with small amounts to seasoned investors seeking to diversify their portfolios.

Micro investing and fractional investing, as mentioned in the article you provided, have been significant developments in the world of investing, particularly for those who may have felt excluded due to financial constraints. These concepts allow individuals to invest small amounts of money, sometimes as little as a few dollars, and own fractional shares of stocks or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that they might not have been able to afford otherwise.

The article discusses the rise of micro investing platforms like Acorns, which enable users to invest spare change from everyday purchases by rounding up transactions to the nearest dollar and investing the difference. This approach makes investing accessible to a broader demographic, including those who may have previously felt intimidated by traditional investment avenues.

One of the key advantages highlighted in the article is the concept of compounding returns. Even small, regular investments can accumulate over time, thanks to the power of compounding. By reinvesting earnings and allowing investments to grow over extended periods, individuals can potentially achieve significant growth in their portfolios.

Furthermore, the article addresses common concerns about investing, such as risk and the importance of diversification. While investing always involves some level of risk, not investing also carries its own risks, particularly when considering factors like inflation, which can erode the value of savings over time. Diversification, spreading investments across various asset classes and sectors, is emphasized as a strategy to manage risk effectively.

The article underscores the importance of understanding one's financial goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon when making investment decisions. It encourages individuals to consider both savings and investing as part of their overall financial plan, with an emphasis on long-term wealth accumulation and beating inflation.

Overall, the article provides valuable insights into the principles of micro investing, the benefits of starting early, and the importance of diversification and understanding risk in investment strategies. It serves as a resource for individuals looking to begin their investment journey or explore alternative approaches to growing their wealth.

How to Start Investing With Little Money (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Duane Harber

Last Updated:

Views: 5686

Rating: 4 / 5 (71 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Duane Harber

Birthday: 1999-10-17

Address: Apt. 404 9899 Magnolia Roads, Port Royceville, ID 78186

Phone: +186911129794335

Job: Human Hospitality Planner

Hobby: Listening to music, Orienteering, Knapping, Dance, Mountain biking, Fishing, Pottery

Introduction: My name is Duane Harber, I am a modern, clever, handsome, fair, agreeable, inexpensive, beautiful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.