How to Invest Small Amounts of Money Wisely Co-authored by Michael R. Contrary to popular belief, the stock market is not just for rich people. Investing is one of the best ways for anyone to create wealth and become financially independent. A strategy of investing small amounts continuously can eventually result in what is referred to as the snowball effect, in which small amounts gain in size and momentum and ultimately lead to exponential growth. To accomplish this feat, you must implement a proper strategy and stay patient, disciplined, and diligent. Ensure investing is right for you. Investing in the stock market involves risk, and this includes the risk of permanently losing money.
Before investing, always ensure you have your basic financial needs taken care of in the event of a job loss or catastrophic event. Make sure you have 3 to 6 months of your income readily available in a savings account. Ensure your insurance needs are met. Before allocating a portion of your monthly income to investing, make sure you own proper insurance on your assets, as well as on your health. Remember to never depend on investment money to cover any catastrophic event, as investments do fluctuate over time. By having proper savings and insurance, your basic needs are always covered regardless of stock market volatility.
Choose the appropriate type of account. Depending on your investment needs, there are several different types of accounts you may want to consider opening. Each of these accounts represents a vehicle in which to hold your investments. A taxable account refers to an account in which all investment income earned within the account is taxed in the year it was received. You would be required to start withdrawing funds by age 70.
The benefit to the IRA is that all investments in the account can grow and compound tax free. Roth Individual Retirement Accounts do not allow for tax-deductible contributions but do allow for tax-free withdrawals in retirement. Roth IRAs do not require you to make withdrawals by a certain age, making them a good way to transfer wealth to heirs. Any of these can be effective vehicles for investing. Spend some time learning more about your options before making a decision. While this may sound complex, dollar cost averaging simply refers to the fact that — by investing the same amount each month — your average purchase price will reflect the average share price over time. Dollar cost averaging reduces risk due to the fact that by investing small sums on regular intervals, you reduce your odds of accidentally investing before a large downturn.
The end result is your average purchase price will lower over time. It is important to note that the opposite is also true — if shares are constantly rising, your regular contribution will buy fewer and fewer shares, raising your average purchase price over time. However, your shares will also be raising in price so you will still profit. The key is to have a disciplined approach of investing at regular intervals, regardless of price, and avoid “timing the market”. 401k contribution by a few percent.
This way you will take advantage of low prices and not have to do anything else but stop the extra contribution a couple of years later. At the same time, your frequent, smaller contributions ensure that no relatively large sum is invested before a market downturn, thereby reducing risk. This is best explained through an example. Over time, this can produce huge growth.
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