How can I invest with little money

Investing has become much easier and cheaper over the last decade and will continue to get easier and cheaper. That’s good news for you! If you spend some time searching, the chance is high that you find a good financial institution out there, that caters towards small investments.

How can I invest with little money?

The best cheapest and most secure way to invest with little money, is to purchase low cost ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds)

Want to learn more? Below we have more specific information for you, which will help you investing on a small budget.

Why are low-cost ETFs the best, cheapest most secure way to invest with little money?

An ETF is in many cases the best choice to invest in with little money because it has lower fees than other financial assets, such as stocks, bonds, or commodities.

Because an ETF is comprised of a basket of securities, it means that if you buy one share of an ETF you will have bought a little piece of tens, hundreds, or even thousands of companies.

If you for example buy one share of an ETF that tracks the underlying S&P500 index (an index that tracks 500 of the largest companies in the world), it means that you will own a tiny fraction of all these 500 large companies.

Large companies are usually well established and therefore less likely to default. And even if one would default, you would only lose one five-hundreds of your investment, and a new company will replace the defaulted one, without you having to lift a single finger.

Especially in the US, but also other countries there are now reputable financial institutions over which you can purchase ETFs online at a very low cost. They can offer ETFs at low costs because the ETFs themselves don’t need to be actively managed, and if customers are signing up online, and don’t need any consulting, the whole process from signup to sale doesn’t require any costly interaction.

What are the benefits of buying low-cost ETFs with little money?

  • Low Fees: This is the most important aspect of why ETFs are just the right choice on a small budget. The fees are low because many ETFs are passively managed and track an index, such as the S&P500.
  • Well Diversified: With one share of an ETF, you own a fraction of several tens, hundreds, or thousands of companies, bonds, commodities, real estate, or a mix of all.
  • Low Maintenance: You purchase your shares, and that’s all the work you need to do. After that, the market works for you.
  • Trades on Exchange: An ETF can be bought and sold at any time, as it trades on an exchange, like a stock.
  • In sync with underlying assets: As an ETF trades throughout the day, the price is constantly adjusted to the underlying assets.

What are the disadvantages of buying low-cost ETFs with little money?

  • Market Fluctuations: As ETFs are traded directly on an exchange, and can be bought and sold at any time, the fluctuations are higher than with Mutual Funds, which might need some stronger nerves, and resilience during market downturns.
  • Less Diversification: If you want to invest in a specific area, which isn’t covered by an ETF, you might not be able to diversify the way you want.
  • Costs might be higher in certain cases: A specific stock might be cheaper, as you don’t pay management fees for owning stocks. If you are a beginner, buying a stock is not recommended, as it takes more active work and sound financial knowledge to manage.
  • High Yielding Dividends: As ETFs are comprised of a basket of stocks, if you want to aim for high yielding dividends, there might not be any suitable option available.

What is the minimum amount I need to invest in ETFs?

The minimum amount you can invest in an ETF depends on the online broker you chose and the price to purchase one share of an ETF. If you get a really cheap option, especially if you are in the US you can start with as little as $10.

What is the best investment strategy when investing with little money?

Buy and Hold

Buy and hold will be the best investment strategy, as there usually are fees associated with buying and selling. Even low-cost brokers need to make their money somehow, and usually, they will make money one way or another when you buy and sell ETFs. By buying the ETF and keeping it in your portfolio for several years, you will save costs, potential fees for taxes, and time.

Dollar Cost Averaging

It is recommended to dollar cost average, which means investing the same sum periodically. If you have the money available, to purchase one or more shares every month, you can purchase shares every end of the month, once you get your salary. Sometimes the share price will be higher, sometimes it will be lower. With dollar-cost averaging you will even out the fluctuations and can profit, especially when the price falls and then gains value again. Additionally, your investment will be on auto-pilot, and before you know it, you will have a nice sum together.

Reinvest Dividends

It is also recommended to re-invest dividends. If you have dividend-paying stocks in your ETF, you should make sure, that these are automatically reinvested. By re-investing dividends you will profit from the compounding effect, and your wealth will grow even faster.

Into what kind of ETFs can I invest with little money?

If you are on a really tight budget, then the choices might be limited to certain low-cost index-tracking funds. If you have a little more cash available and the online broker offers it, there is a wide variety available:

Stock ETFs

If you purchase a stock ETF, you purchase a fraction of shares of companies, and can in addition profit from their dividend payments.

Bond ETFs

Usually, if stock prices go down, Bond prices tend to go up. That is why investors tend to hold stocks and bonds, to even out market fluctuations. Bonds can be a less risky investment, because if you purchase a bond, you lend the government or a company your money, and will get interest payments until the duration of the bond expires. Over the long term, however, stocks do usually better, even if there is more market fluctuation.

Commodity ETFs

You can for example purchase gold or other commodities through an ETF. Gold is usually a good hedge against market downturns, as when stocks go down, Gold tends to do well.

Real Estate ETFs

If you don’t have the money to purchase real estate, you can purchase a real estate ETF, and be partial owner of homes, offices and other buildings. You will profit from rent payments, without having to deal with the property itself.

Sector Related ETFs

If you think, that due to a pandemic the stock price of medical companies will rise, you can invest in a sector-related ETF, such as health care, IT, or other sectors.

What financial institutions offer to invest with little money?

One of the cheapest and most reputable brokers out there at the moment is Fidelity. Another one with a little higher cost is Vanguard. If you are in a country outside of the US in which Fidelity and Vanguard don’t have any offerings, one of the cheapest brokers that might be available is Interactive Brokers. Interactive Brokers has however a monthly minimum activity fee, you have to be aware of, and is a little more difficult to handle than Fidelity and Vanguard.

On a small budget, Fidelity is the clear choice to go, due to their no minimum investment funds.

We are currently creating a list of brokers, to which we will link, once it is available.

Are other brokers than the ones mentioned also ok?

You should be very careful which broker you chose, as there are many out there, that are less financially stable or have hidden fees, which are not easily identifiable. As a general rule of thumb, check how long the broker has been in service, and search in Google for the name of the broker together with the words “scam”, “issue”, and “problem”. If there are a lot of results showing up of people that had issues with the broker, it’s better to stay away and save more money, until you can afford a proper one.

It might be better to check, if your local Bank has any options or can give you some advise, before investing into an online broker that you don’t know.

There are a lot of scammers out there, which will try to take advantage of you, so please be careful and cautious. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.


Chris is an IT Project Portfolio Manager within the financial industry. Due to the nature of his role, he is engaged to study Financial Markets and is an active investor.

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