What Can I Invest in to Make Money?

Elizabeth Macauley, Janet Berry-Johnson, Gene Marks

After years of earning and saving money, you may be left wondering how you can increase your income further. Investing probably comes to your mind fairly quickly. After all, we’ve all heard stories of people making a lot of money off of the stock market. So how can you invest to make money?

You can consider different strategies, including the stock market, peer-to-peer lending, real estate investment, retirement plans, and even growing your own skills. With the right strategy in place, any of these options could springboard your income to a new level.

What Can I Invest in to Make Money Fast?

Sometimes it can take years for investments to pay off, making you feel reluctant to invest at all. However, don’t shy away just yet. There are ways to make money quickly by investing. Some of these include:

The stock market. You can purchase stock through a broker, a financial planner, or an online platform. One popular online stock buying and selling platform you can use is E*TRADE Financial Corporation. Sites like E*TRADE can assist you in similar ways as a broker.

Stock can make you money quickly because each share you buy represents a piece of a company. Companies then pay you dividends. These dividends are a part of the total profits for the company. In addition to this, stock can make you money when the per-share price increases. However, before you run out and quickly invest in stocks, you will want to learn the basics and set investment goals. You’ll need to decide how much money you are willing to spend. Typically, you’ll need to set aside at least $1,000 for your first investment.

Trade commodities. Trade commodities come in two forms: The first is hard commodities. These require mining or drilling to find metals or energy sources like natural gas. The second form is soft commodities. These can be farmed or grown. Examples include corn, wheat, or cattle. Both types of commodities in the market place are shaped by supply and demand. The more a supply depletes, the higher the price of the commodity.

To make money off of trade commodities, you can invest directly in the commodity, use commodity futures contracts to invest, buy shares of exchange-traded funds that specialize in commodities, or buy shares of stock in companies that produce commodities. If you make the right investments, you can see profits within your first couple years.

Peer-to-peer lending. Similar to crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending involves people asking others to fund something greater. Instead of funding a specific expense or business idea, peer-to-peer lending efforts are directed toward funding a loan. You can help fund a loan and make money back on the interest. Platforms you can use include Lending Club, Prosper, Upstart, and Funding Circle. As an investor, you receive regular payments from the borrower.

Real estate. You have a lot of options when it comes to making money through real estate. For instance, every time the property value increases, the value of your investment grows. You can rent out a property and collect payments regularly. This can be an additional immediate income to your existing one.

Real estate profits also can be generated from increasing other business methods or activities on the property. For example, you can put vending machines in your business or office building.

Real estate also can be flipped for a profit. This can generate a significant income quickly. Essentially, you buy a discounted home, renovate it, and sell it for a higher price. If this doesn’t sound good to you, then you can also facilitate the selling of contracts. For this, you act as a mediator between sellers and buys. As you do this, you help them reach a deal on a piece of real estate.

Investing in yourself. Advancing your own skills can enhance your money-making capabilities. For instance, maybe you decide to take a money-making course. You could also take courses that would advance your skills at your workplace and allow career growth. An example of these classes could be a sales or public speaking course.

Do Investors Make a Lot of Money?

As you consider your investing strategy, you may be wondering how much other investors actually make. Return on investment can vary person to person, depending on the type of investment and risks you take. However, if you know what you’re doing and make the right decisions, you can make a lot of money.

For example, you can make money as a real estate investor. According to Indeed, the average real estate investor earns just over $63,500 per year, but your actual earnings will depend on how many properties you own and how much effort you put into your property.

If you’re interested in the stock market, you should take a second to consider Warren Buffett, a notable investor in our modern market. As of August 2018, Buffett is worth $87.1 billion and is the third richest person in the world. Investors like Buffett have made the majority of their money by investing for the long run. Some investors have held stocks for 25 or more years.

As Buffett told Investopedia, “It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.” In other words, you need to evaluate the quality of the businesses you invest in before making a move. Also, don’t expect to pay a low price for quality. High quality will come at a higher price tag but will likely pay off in the long run.

Making money by investing, especially in the stock market, is all about staying on your toes. You’ll want to keep up to date with the latest trends and expectations. And each year will be different. For instance, in 2017, stocks did well and brought investors high yields. However, in 2018, the stock market is expected to reach its peak. This means the amount of money you make can easily vary year to year.

The Best Ways to Invest Money

Investing your money doesn’t have to be overwhelming or a complex process. In fact, there are countless efficient and effective ways you can invest your money. Some of these ways may be easier than you think. They include:

Stock. You may view the stock market as a go-to for investing and you’d be right. You can buy your stock through a broker or financial planner. Online stock-buying platforms also can help you buy and sell stock regularly. Most require a minimum of $1,000 to enter the stock buying game. From there, you’ll generate returns through dividends and increasing stock prices. Investing in stock allows a lot of room for financial growth. Just be sure to really plan out your approach and which stocks you want to invest in. You also can suffer big losses in the stock market, so be prepared for anything.

Retirement plans. Your 401(k) is your retirement savings plan sponsored by your employer. This is typically one of the easiest ways for you to invest in your future. You’ll need to decide how much to take from each paycheck to put into your 401(k). In addition to this, you can also open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to invest in your retirement. Saving for retirement through a 401(k) or IRA can reduce your taxable income now, and the money can grow tax free until you take it out during retirement.

Use a robo-advisor. Investing can take a lot of skill, time, effort, and learning. Therefore, you may want to consider investing with a robo-advisor. These robot advisors are automated software that helps manage your investment portfolio. For those brand new to investing, you may find these advisors to be a good option. They have low minimum investments. One popular robo-advisor you can try is Betterment.

Online savings accounts. These accounts are great for your short-term investing goals and are an extremely low risk investment. Online savings accounts can offer you higher annual percentage yields compared to traditional banks. This is because they don’t need higher interest rates to help maintain their physical branch locations. Some online banks that provide high-yield savings accounts include Marcus by Goldman Sachs, Barclays Online Savings, and American Express National Bank.

Index funds. With these funds, you’ll use an index, which includes stocks and bonds that are grouped together based on certain criteria. For example, the Dow Jones Industrial Average includes 30 stocks approved by The Wall Street Journal.

Your index fund will not be managed by a mutual fund manager. Instead, decisions are made by those who are developing the index. This allows you to save money because you don’t have to pay a manager. This also helps remove personal bias from decisions you make and therefore will likely increase your return on investment. In addition, index funds will cost you less in taxes than other mutual funds. These funds have lower expense ratios and are inexpensive to acquire. Warren Buffett also considers them a good option for investment.

Credit card rewards. Signing up for credit card rewards is a low risk return on your money. With cash back credit cards, you earn “points” that translate into real money. Different cards offer different cash back percentages and bonuses. So, do some research before signing up.

Real estate. Investing in real estate provides a number of benefits. Real estate offers you a high rate of return for your money. This can be represented through equity, selling your property, or renting it. Real estate values typically go up consistently. There are also a number of tax benefits you can take advantage of with real estate. Renting your real estate or even flipping real estate can create a stable income with high returns.

Bonds. Many people regard bonds as being a safer investment compared to stocks. Bonds represent investment in debt and stocks represent investment in equity ownership. Investing in debt is safer than investing in equity. This is due to financial security provided by bonds. For example, if a company is eliminated, bondholders will have priority over stockholders. This means you’ll be more likely to receive payment from your bonds.

Bonds provide you with a high income stream, tax advantages, and portfolio diversification. They’ve also been known to outperform stocks during certain economic cycles. Overall, high-yield bonds will give you high total returns, assuming the economy is growing and there is a stable interest rate.

Yourself. Investing in yourself and your skill set will be a positive investment for years to come. Sign up for classes to help you understand the market better. It’s important that you develop an understanding before you make your investments.

Also, as you seek out brokerages, look for ones that allow you to use fake money to trade and develop your skills. This will allow you to iron out mistakes before you use real money. You can also check out the Online Trading Academy, which is a good option for educating yourself on the market.

How Much Money Is Needed to Invest in the Stock Market?

You don’t have to be a millionaire to invest in the stock market. In fact, all you need is about $1,000. This may seem small, but don’t worry. You can grow small investments like this over time. The one catch is that a lot of brokers don’t accept investments this low. So you’ll need to shop around for one that does. Typically, discounted brokers accept lower investments and have lower fees. They won’t walk you through the process as much as other brokers, but they’ll do their part in making sure your $1,000 investment really counts.

How Do I Start Investing With Little Money?

You can’t invest if you don’t have money saved. The first step in investing is saving money in an online savings account. You also should consider saving and investing in your 401(k) or retirement plan. You can use these accounts to make further investments later on.

After you have saved enough money, be sure you won’t need it in the future. Sometimes investments can go south. You’ll want to be prepared for taking a loss. Once you’ve done this, you can prepare to invest.

Investments to consider when you have smaller amounts of money include:

Low minimum investment mutual funds. Mutual funds allow you to pool your money with other investors to buy stocks. The stocks, bonds, and investments in the mutual fund are all owned by the group of investors. Then, a professional money manager handles them. Low minimum investment mutual funds require much lower costs for initial investment. These costs can range from a few thousand dollars to just $100 dollars. To learn more about your options, talk to a brokerage firm.

Use Betterment for investments. Betterment is a platform that isn’t expensive and is very easy to use. To set up an account on this site, you will need to answer a questionnaire that evaluates your investment priorities. From there, the site will set up an investment portfolio and find the best ways for you to invest. This site requires no minimum deposit amount. This means you can put in as much or as little as you want.

Treasury securities. These are also known as savings bonds. You can buy them through the U.S. Treasury’s bond portal “Treasury Direct.” These securities offer a guaranteed rate on return, no value loss, tax exemptions, and are retirement friendly. You won’t get rich off these investments, but you will gain some money in interest. Treasury securities can be purchased for a range of prices from a few hundred dollars to $1,000 or more.

Micro-investing. To do micro-investing, you’ll need to save small amounts of your money regularly and consistently. One option you can consider is the Acorns app. This app is a micro-investing app that invests your spare change for you. For example, if you spend $2.75, the app will round that up to $3.00 and invest $0.25 for you. You can also invest small amounts whenever you want. Micro-investing apps to consider in addition to Acorns are:

  • Stash
  • Wealthfront
  • Rize
  • MoneyLion
  • Robinhood

401(k) retirement plan. As mentioned in earlier sections, your 401(k) is your savings plan for retirement that your employer sponsors. It allows you to invest a certain amount of your paycheck regularly. This means you pick how much you want to go into it. The amount can be small, medium, or large, depending on your preference. Most companies have a predetermined match percentage to help build your savings. Your investment can grow tax free until you withdraw it in retirement.

How Do You Make Money Investing in a Startup?

You see, hear, and even use some of the most successful startups of all time. For instance, Facebook, Uber, and Airbnb are both profit powerhouses and have earned their investors a lot of money. So, how do you get a piece of the pie when it comes to investing in startups? You’ll need to do your research and follow the right steps for investing.

To invest in a startup, consider these steps:

  • Invest in the founders before the business idea. Startups with great ideas fail all the time. It’s the people behind the ideas that you want to invest in. A startup’s leaders bring it to success.
  • Invest through venture investing platforms. One popular platform to consider is FundersClub.
  • Use a self-directed IRA to invest in startups.
  • Talk to entrepreneurs or others you’ve met who have already invested in startups. They can give you real world advice.
  • Meet other investors and founders at industry-held events. One example of an industry event is Startup Grind.

Once you have invested in a startup, you will make money when:

  • The startup is sold. Big companies buy smaller startups all the time. When this occurs, you will make money on your investment fast. You will receive cash or a new stock that has both companies incorporated.
  • The startup goes public. Companies go public when they want to expand. Expansion generally increases the worth of your investment.
  • The startup pays dividends. As companies make more money, they have a better ability to repay investors. They usually pay these investors through everyday cash flow in the form of dividends. Sometimes companies make larger payments to investors when profits allow it.
  • You sell your shares. You can always sell your shares to make a profit. However, you may have some trouble finding someone to buy them, depending on how the startup is doing.

Investing your money doesn’t have to be a costly, time-consuming, or even a scary process. To establish yourself in today’s market, consider investing in the stock market, peer-to-peer lending, real estate, trade commodities, and your retirement accounts. You can easily get started by talking to brokers. Also, check out online investment platforms. They can be helpful in supporting your investment dreams and interests.

6 Responses to "What Can I Invest in to Make Money?"

    • william horrigan | July 10, 2019 at 9:00 am

      What is the difference between Wealthfront and Betterment ?

    • Don Welch | July 11, 2019 at 11:48 am

      I retired a couple years ago, and have probably twice as much in my IRA’s as I thought I would by now. But it happens slowly! Very few wealthy investors got that way overnight. Get rich quick schemes are almost always a way to lose all you’ve got.
      For new investors, start with an IRA or 401k, invested in (stock) mutual funds. Have some taken out of every paycheck and automatically invested. Roth IRA’s will in the end cost you less since you pay income tax on the initial investment but not on your earnings, and over the years you’ll have far more in earnings than what you put in. I’ve invested in large, small, aggressive, conservative funds – they all have made money. I read a lot, and have never used a broker or advisor. (You can buy directly on-line from most mutual funds.)
      My rule (after losing a lot in the 1987 stock crash) is put it in, and LEAVE IT IN! Trying to “time the market”, i.e., guess when it will go up or down, is for fools. Buy in regularly, and stay with it regardless of what you hear on the news. You’ll be amazed at the what sensible stock funds will do for your savings.
      All this goes for non-retirement investing as well. Check out some mutual funds (google Morningstar) and buy some every month or week. The sooner you start, the more you’ll make.
      One other thought: learn the difference between the terms “risk” and “volatility”. They’re not the same, although often used interchangeably.

      • Hannah Stacy | July 12, 2019 at 8:54 am

        Thanks for the feedback Don.

    • Gene Marks | July 12, 2019 at 10:53 am

      William,

      Wealthfront has real estate investment trusts (REITs), Betterment does not. … Wealthfront tilts toward dividend paying stocks – they have a high dividend yield ETF, while Betterment doesn’t. Wealthfront has no US government bonds – yields are low so they don’t see them as a good investment; Betterment does have US bonds.
      Source: https://www.doughroller.net/investing/betterment-vs-wealthfront/

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      william horrigan | July 10, 2019 at 9:00 am
      What is the difference between Wealthfront and Betterment

    • Daniel Cerqueira | July 16, 2019 at 4:09 pm

      Vanguard was the pioneer and is still the best place for low cost, highly efficient investments. I highly recommend them!

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