From juggling a career to taking the kids to school to getting dinner on the table (all the while still having some type of social life outside of work and family), being a single parent is a lot like being a superhero. You’ve got your own life to manage, and whenever you’re not doing that, you’re saving the world (aka your children).
When parents are responsible for the education of their children, often they become overconfident in their own abilities to fund the expenses and manage their families. Consequently, this leaves little time to budget for university expenses and other college costs like student’s accommodation.
If investing has yet to hit the visible part of your to-do list, don’t worry! There are ways you can invest as little as $100 without lifting a finger – well, once you’ve taken a few super low-maintenance steps first. Then, you can set your financial wealth plan on autopilot. What’s more? You don’t need to be a millionaire or make an insane amount of money to get started. Here are five ways to start investing with $100 or less.
1. Use a robo-advisor
If you’re short on time, you may want to consider using a robo-advisor. Robo-advisors help busy investors figure out the complicated stuff (i.e. what to invest in and when) using an algorithm. This algorithm is created based on your financial goals and investing preferences. Although robo-advisors are automated (meaning there’s no human-to-human interaction), they provide helpful advice at an affordable price. A few easy-to-use robo-advisors include Vanguard, Betterment, and Sofi.
The Motley Fool Stock Advisor is another quick-and-easy way to get your hands on insider info. It’s only $99 for the year, and as soon as you sign up you’ll receive unlimited access to Motley Fool’s library of expert stock recommendations. Members also receive brand-new stock picks each month.
2. Start an investment fund for your kids
Acorns is a micro-investing app that offers a variety of accounts to fit its users’ individual investing needs. With Acorns Family you can gain access to all four of Acorns accounts, including Acorns Invest (investment account), Acorns Later (retirement account), Acorns Spend (checking account), and Acorns Early (UGMA account). Acorns Early is a custodial account that allows users to choose between a number of pre-crafted, diverse portfolios. Users can then decide how much they’d like to invest per day/week/month
If you’re uncomfortable using an app-based account, you can opt to use a traditional brokerage account. This way, you’ll have complete control over your investment options (i.e. stocks, bonds, exchange-traded funds or ETFs, or mutual funds).
3. Contribute to your 401(k)
If you’d like to avoid researching stocks altogether, contributing to your 401(k) is a smart way to do it. A 401(k) allows employees to invest a portion of their paycheck (before taxes) each pay period. The best part? You get to decide how much you’d like to contribute and, because the money is siphoned directly out of your paycheck, you’ll never need to physically do anything. It’s a hands-off way to invest on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. Extra bonus: Some employers will match your investment. That’s like getting free money!
Not every employer offers a 401(k) plan, but this doesn’t mean you’re excluded from getting one. Individuals who are self-employed or otherwise cannot get their employer to offer them a 401(k), can opt to open a solo-401(k). A solo-401(k) is exactly what it sounds like: a 401(k) plan designed for someone who’s self-employed or an individual contractor.
4. Create an emergency bucket
Buying $100 worth of stocks, bonds, ETFs, etc. is one way to invest, but it’s not the only way to invest. Starting an emergency savings account is another way to invest in your future. This is especially true for parents who don’t already have three-to-six months’ worth of living expenses stashed away in the corner.
Creating an emergency fund is easy. You can do this by asking your current bank to open a savings account (opt for a high-yield savings account, if you can) or you can open brand-new savings account with an online bank. Opening a savings account isn’t exactly a trendy investment move, but if something terrible happened (i.e. you get laid off or fall ill), you’ll be glad that little nest egg is there to help.
5. Invest in yourself
When you’re constantly taking care of others it’s easy to put yourself last. Instead of waiting until your kids are grown, why not take a bit of time to invest in yourself now? Investing in yourself could be as simple as hiring a life coach, buying a Peloton (or whatever other exercise machine you’ve been eyeing), or taking a 30-minute break to focus on self-care.
Building wealth doesn’t necessarily mean making money. You can build wealth by improving your mental and physical well-being, as well. When you invest time in yourself, your happiness and self-confidence will follow suit.
The bottom line
When it comes to investing, there are hundreds of ways to do it. Before you dive in, think about your financial goals and where you’d like to see yourself in the future. This could be one year, five years, 10 years, etc. It’s completely up to you! Once you’ve got an idea of what you’d like to do and when you’d like to achieve those goals you’ll be able to plan your investment strategy.
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