10 Easiest Ways to Invest with Little Money as a Broke Person

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easiest ways to invest with little money as a broke person

Do you want to start investing in your future but don’t think you have enough money? Then look no further, this post will show you 10 easy ways you can start investing as a broke person even if you have little money to invest. 

I think when a lot of people hear the words “investor”, they think about guys in suits on Wall Street making calls over the phone involving millions of dollars. There are investors like that out there, but for the most part that’s just Hollywood talking. In reality, most investors look nothing like what you see in The Wolf of Wall Street. 

In fact, I would imagine most investors look just like everyday people you would walk past in the streets or see shopping at Walmart and Costco. You don’t have to be rich or a Wall Street wizard to start investing. You could even start with just a few dollars in your bank account. 

So here’s 10 ways you can start investing with just a few dollars, even as a broke person.

Important note: make sure you pay off all your debts first before investing in anything (excluding a mortgage). Debt interest rates are much higher than anything you can get from investing. So debt payoff should be your top priority. Check out my other post on that.

Special thanks to Jenny for helping me write this one.

1. Use a Micro-Savings App

micro savings app to invest even with little money

If you have a hard time saving anything or find yourself living paycheck to paycheck, try using an app to help you out. There are a few apps out there that will automatically save a little bit of money for you whenever you make a purchase. No effort needed on your part. Just install and start saving.

All these apps do is round up your spending to the nearest dollar. A few cents here and there might not seem like a big deal, but over time that can easily add up to hundreds of dollars. It’s especially nice because you don’t have to make drastic life changes to start doing it.

You can choose how you want them to save your money. You can choose to set a goal of paying off debt or you can choose to put the money in an investing portfolio. The choice is completely up to you.

There are a few major apps that I’ve seen for this: Acorns, Digit, and Qapital. All of them are available to download on your iPhone/Android. Just install, connect your credit/debit card, set up your goals, and you’re ready to start saving.

One thing to be aware of: some apps might charge you a flat fee to use it. Make sure to crunch the numbers to see if the fee is worth the amount of savings you’ll get.

2. Invest with Robo-Advisors

Robo-advisors are automated online advisors that provide financial advice and investment management. When you open an account, they start by asking for your goals and tolerance of risks. Once you set these goals, the robo-advisor will use an algorithm to help you build a portfolio and manage your assets. Since the process is automated, the fee is lower than a human advisor. 

Many robo-advisors require a minimum amount to open an account ranging from $500 to $100,000, but there are also some that don’t have any minimum. If you only have a few dollars, you might want to look for one with no minimums. 

In exchange for offering you their services, they usually charge an advisory fee. Don’t worry, this isn’t a flat monthly fee. It’s just a small percentage of your investment usually in the range of 0.15% to 0.9% of your account value.

Robo-advisors usually put your money in low-cost index funds and ETFs. You can technically do this yourself without paying the robo-advisor fee. However, it may be worth paying the small fee if you would rather not have to think about how to make investment decisions. 

Robo-advisors can be a simple option for investors who are just getting started, don’t have too much money, and don’t want to deal with too many hassles. 

The two big robo-advisors that I see recommended a lot (for good reason): Wealthfront, Betterment.

3. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) & Real Estate Crowdfunding

real estate investment trust investment

In the past, investing in real estate (owning a rental, house flipping, etc) required a lot of money and carried a lot of risk. But these days there are new ways to start investing in real estate even for people with little money. Typically the minimum balance required to start ranges from $5000 – $10,000, but some requirements can be as low as $500. 

The two most popular methods to invest are through real estate investment trusts (REIT) and real estate crowdfunding.

REITs are companies that own and manage real estate. Investors buy shares of the company and collect their distribution of the profits. Individual investors usually invest in REITs through mutual funds and REIT exchange-traded funds (ETFs). 

An alternative to REITs is real estate crowdfunding. Crowdfunding basically means raising money by collecting small amounts of money from a large number of people, usually through the internet. Real estate crowdfunding is the same thing: a lot of people contributing to a owning piece of real estate. Usually, these platforms put investors’ money into REITs. 

These are both ways to invest in real estate without actively managing the properties being invested. They also don’t require a lot of money, so you can diversify your investments to minimize risks. However, you don’t have direct control over the property and have to rely on the management team. Make sure to do your research on the company, management team and market before making an investment. 

4. Switch to a High Yield Savings Accounts

A savings account is a bank account where you can store your money while earning interest. They usually don’t come with cards or checks which makes withdrawal harder. Federal law limits the number of withdrawals to 6 per month (regulation D).

While saving accounts have relatively low interest rates and aren’t the most attractive investment, many people still open a savings account to keep aside some money from their everyday spending. This can be useful in case of emergencies. 

If you do open a savings account, make sure to do your research to try to find one that gives you a high return. You should look at interest rate, required initial deposit, required minimum balance, fees, etc to pick the best option. Usually the highest interest rates are found in online savings accounts. 

I’m personally using CIT bank because they had the highest interest rates I could find when I made the switch. This might change, so make sure to do your own research on what works best for you. Nerdwallet does a good job comparing online bank interest rates.

I also talk about this a little more in another one of my posts.

5. Invest in Mutual Funds

mutual fund investing

Mutual funds are professionally managed investment funds that pool money from many investors to purchase a portfolio of securities like stocks, bonds and other assets. Each shareholder participates in the gains or losses of the fund depending on how much they have invested. The average mutual fund holds hundreds of different securities.

Mutual funds are divided into several categories based on their investment approach. For example, an equity fund (or stock fund) primarily invests in stocks, an index fund invests in stocks corresponding with a major market index. 

For most people, you can start investing in a mutual fund through an online broker or through a bank. Some brokers require a minimum of $500 to $5,000 to open an account for mutual fund investing. However, there are many brokers that don’t have any minimum requirement to get started. 

One thing you should note: mutual fund fees will be higher than that of robo-advisors or index funds. Typically it’s in the ballpark of 1-2% of your account value. This might not be a big deal if you only have a few dollars invested, but could make a difference long term.

Here’s a list of brokers you can start with that don’t have any minimum requirement: 

6. Buy Certificates of Deposit

A certificate of deposit (CD) is a financial product commonly sold by banks and credit unions. They usually have a specific, fixed term (often several months, or one to five years) and a fixed interest rate. Holders have to wait until maturity to withdraw the money and get interest.

Each bank/credit union establishes a minimum deposit requirement to open each CD they offer. Sometimes it’s $500 or $1000, but depending on the bank and the type of CD, it could be $10,000 or more.

CDs are one of the oldest ways to invest. It doesn’t have as much return as others, but is very low-risk. Typical returns are in the ballpark of 1-2% per year depending on the length of the CD term.

7. Lend Money with Peer to Peer Lending

Peer to peer lending is a way everyday people can lend money to other everyday people looking for a loan. How it works is a bunch of investors contribute a little bit of money towards a loan for someone. The borrower then pays interest on that loan, allowing investors to earn interest on their investment. Since the loan notes are crowdfunded, you can start investing with as little as $25. 

Typically, investors earn on average 7-11% on their investment. Considering the stock market averages 10% return on investment per year, that’s a pretty good payout. Another plus is peer-to-peer lending sites will allow you to diversify your Investments in various different types of loans. Now you don’t have to worry about one bad loan ruining your entire investment. 

However, there are a few downsides that you should be aware of:

  • The loans are not collateralized or FDIC insured. This means if someone doesn’t pay back their loan, too bad. There’s nothing you can do about it. That’s just one of the risks of lending money.
  • Peer-to-peer lending may attract the very people who were unable to get loans from banks in the first place. There might be a reason banks wouldn’t give them a loan. The good thing is there’s some sense of security because you need a minimum credit score of 600 to get approved for a loan. You can also read up on the background of the person asking for the loan. 
  • While you can diversify your investments across multiple loans, it can be very time-consuming to research each loan/borrower. 
  • Dave Ramsey does not approve 🙁

Here are some sites you can choose from: Propser, Lending Club, Upstart

8. Buy U.S. Treasury Securities

U.S. Treasury Securities investing

U.S. treasury securities are an old-school, play-it-safe method of investing. You shouldn’t expect to see massive gains, but at the same time, you are taking on little to no risk. The government can always print more money to fulfill its debts. You can even choose to invest in Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS). These securities will account for inflation on top of paying you interest.

United States Treasury securities are government debt instruments issued by the United States Department of the Treasury to finance government spending as an alternative to taxation. It’s essentially giving a loan to the government. 

There are three types of securities based on their length of maturity, ranging from weeks to 30 years. They can be bought in online auctions through the U.S. Treasury’s online savings bond portal called Treasury Direct for as little as $100.

9. Invest Through Your Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plan

An employer-sponsored retirement plan is a way you can invest some of your paycheck into your retirement fund. Once you sign up, this is done completely automatically. You don’t even need to make an active choice to handle your money responsibly. That’s all done for you.

If your employer is offering to match your contributions (invest as much money as you do in your account), that’s literally getting free money for retirement investing. If they do this, I highly recommend contributing at minimum at least required to get the full match amount. 

Contributing to an employer-sponsored retirement plan has certain tax benefits both for you and your employer. If you’re contributing to a retirement fund, it reduces your taxable income depending on how much you contribute. 

For example, If you make $100,000 per year and contribute $10,000 per year, your taxable income becomes $90,000 instead of $100,000. If taxes are 20% of your income, you now pay $18,000 in taxes rather than $20,000. That’s a savings of $2,000 for doing something you should be doing anyways.

There’s a usually two main retirement plan options employers typically offer (you can choose multiple if you want):

  1. Pre-tax 401(k). Money is contributed on a pre-tax basis. This means cash goes straight from your paycheck into the plan without paying taxes. However you will have to pay taxes when you take money out in retirement.
  2. Roth 401(k). Money is contributed on an after-tax basis. This means cash goes from your paycheck into the plan after taxes are paid on the amount. The benefit is the investment will grow tax-free and you can withdraw money tax-free in retirement.

If you are contributing to a retirement plan, you should avoid taking money out early. When you withdraw money early, you will be hit with a bunch of taxes and fees. If you’re leaving your employer, it’s best to leave the investment where it is or request a rollover if you can. Do not request a lump sum distribution if you can avoid it.

10. Trade Stocks

Trading stocks with little money

Investing in stocks is another great way to invest your money. From historical data of the S&P 500, the stock market yields an average annual return of 10%. Compared to inflation (roughly 2-3% per year), that’s a pretty good return on your investment.

Many stock brokers don’t require a minimum amount to start trading stocks. You can even open up a brokerage account with $0. Stocks are a great way to get your feet wet with investing. It’s better to make your mistakes now with a few bucks than years later with thousands of dollars. 

These days you don’t even have to worry about commissions eating up your investment amount. Somewhat recently, many brokers switched over to a commission-free model. This means it doesn’t cost you anything to buy or sell stocks. Your investment stays with you.

I’m personally using Fidelity as my stock broker (I’m not being paid to say this by the way). They offer commission free trades, no minimum requirement to open an account, and offer a lot of other financial services. Charles Shwab is also a pretty good alternative. 

If you want to read more about trading stocks, check out my other post for a deeper explanation.


Even if you have only a little bit of money, there are plenty of ways to get started with investing. Most of these you can easily do online by setting up an account that doesn’t have a minimum balance requirement.

If you’re just getting started, the best thing you can do is to just start somewhere. Don’t worry too much about getting rich, just focus on building a solid saving/investing mindset. Over time, that in itself will be worth its weight in gold. 

If you’re interested in learning more about saving and investing, check out some of my related articles:

Joe Wong

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