Building wealth takes time and patience, but it also requires you to take real, actionable steps with your money. After all, you won’t get rich by keeping your extra cash under your mattress and hoping for the best. You have to invest your money if you want it to start growing to its full potential.
But, how do you do that if you only have $100 to get started? That’s not a lot of capital, but it’s definitely better than nothing.
Also know that most “regular people” who’ve built real wealth started with small sums, kept on investing, and watched as their money snowballed from there. Having $100 in the bank might not seem like a lot, but it’s all you need to change your future for the better.
How to Invest $100 Starting Today
Here’s a secret about investing most people don’t know:
It’s not really about how much you invest at first. It matters the most that you actually get started and do something.
Whether you’re trying to figure out how to invest $100, or you need to know how to invest $1,000 dollars, the key to getting ahead is making a decision and sticking with it.
That said, here are some of the ways I’d invest $100 if I had to start all over again.
1. Round Up Your Savings
Risk level: Low
Acorns is an app that automatically “rounds up” your change when you make a purchase so it can invest that money on your behalf. When you sign up for a plan, you can automatically grow wealth and your savings. You can also even choose among professionally curated portfolios that might work better or worse based on your goals and risk preferences.
How It Works: Plans cost $1, $3, or $5 per month depending on how many features you want. The basic “Lite” plan for $1 per month automatically rounds up your purchases and invests your spare change. The Personal and Family plans (for $3 and $5 per month, respectively) come with added benefits like checking and fee-free access at more than 55,000 ATMs nationwide.
Where to Get Started: To get started, open an account with Acorns and download the mobile app. Pick your plan and you can begin rounding up your purchases and investing the difference at lightning-fast speed. The top tier Personal and Family plans are an excellent place to stash your initial $100 investment. Learn more through my Acorns app review.
Who It’s Best For: Acorns is ideal for anyone who wants help saving money automatically, then investing that money into expertly chosen investments.
|Acorns Pros||Acorns Cons|
|Plans start at just $1 per month||No free plans available|
|You can pay $3 per month for more features, including a checking account||Even $1 per month is expensive if you have a low starting balance|
|Money is invested on your behalf|
2. Dabble in Fractional Shares
Risk level: Varies
Fractional shares are nothing more than a “fraction” or a “slice” of an individual stock. As a result, this type of investing lets you use $100 to buy stocks you couldn’t otherwise afford. You can also diversify your $100 investment across many different stocks that would work well in your portfolio.
How It Works: With Robinhood, you can buy stock in a company even if you don’t have enough money to buy an entire share. It’s called fractional share investing. Instead of buying one share of a $100 stock, you could invest $10 in 10 different stocks.
Where to Get Started: Robinhood makes it easy to open an account and get started. You can even get a free bonus stock worth up to $225 just for opening an account and meeting some basic requirements.
Who It’s Best For: Robinhood is a great option for investing in fractional shares since there are no commissions and no minimum balance required to get started. Fractional share investing can be a good option for any investor who wants to diversify as much as they can.
|Fractional Shares Pros||Fractional Shares Cons|
|Diversify your $100 across many different stocks||Some brokerage firms do not offer fractional share investing|
|Robinhood doesn’t charge investing commissions||Costs can add up quickly with brokerages that charge commissions for trades|
|Get a free stock for opening an account|
3. Invest in Cryptocurrency
Risk level: High
Cryptocurrency is a term used to describe digital currency, like Bitcoin or Ethereum. Although crypto has been incredibly volatile, many experts believe the industry is still in its infancy, and that crypto will be adopted widely within the next few decades. For example, some industry analysts predict one Bitcoin will be worth $200,000 or more several years from now.
How It Works: There are many reputable platforms that let you invest into Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. You can open an account and fund the crypto purchase of your choice in a matter of hours.
From there, you can buy more cryptocurrency, trade, or sell depending on your needs and goals. Currently, BlockFi lets you invest into BTC, ETH, LTC, and PAXG, as well as USD-based stablecoins like USDC, USDT, GUSD, and PAX.
Where to Get Started: BlockFi is an excellent choice for investing in cryptocurrency due to the fact there are no minimum balance requirements. This means you can go ahead and invest your initial $100 into cryptocurrency today, but you could also get started with $5, $10, or whatever you have.
Who It’s Best For: Investing in cryptocurrency is a good option for anyone who has a high tolerance for risk, and who won’t need to withdraw their money right away. Check out this BlockFi review to see if it’s the right cryptocurrency platform for you.
|Investing in Crypto with BlockFi Pros||Investing in Crypto with BlockFi Cons|
|Get started with no minimum balance requirement||Cryptocurrency is very volatile|
|Invest in most major cryptocurrencies||You’ll need to do plenty of research on crypto before you should invest|
|Mobile app makes buying, selling, and trading a breeze|
4. Enroll in a Course or Certification
Risk level: Low
There are thousands of different online courses you can take for less than $100, including ones that’ll expand your knowledge in any area you want. Whether you want to learn how to be a better writer, how to use Photoshop, or how to get paid to be a speaker — the options are endless!
How It Works: A variety of online platforms let you purchase online courses and certifications in almost any industry. Consider what skill can be useful in your professional or personal life. Perhaps a certification would help you get a promotion at your current job, or maybe a new skill would help you drop your 9-to-5 job and begin working in a brand new field.
Where to Get Started: MasterClass is my top pick for enrolling in courses and certifications. With this online platform, you can pay a small weekly fee (just $3.45 per week) and enroll in hundreds of courses in arts and entertainment, music, business and more. Your initial $100 investment in this platform would currently pay for more than six months of unlimited learning.
Who It’s Best For: Online courses and certifications can be a good investment for anyone, but MasterClass in particular is a good choice if you don’t know exactly which courses you want to take. With a small weekly fee, you can take a bunch of different courses until you find the right fit.
|MasterClass Pros||MasterClass Cons|
|Take courses in nearly any field||Taking courses requires time and energy|
|Certifications and courses can help you learn new skills or get promoted in your career||Annual subscription required|
|Low weekly investment|
5. Open a Roth IRA
Risk level: Varies
A Roth IRA is a type of retirement account you can open in addition to other accounts you have like a workplace 401(k). This type of retirement account lets you invest with after-tax dollars, and your money grows tax-free until you are ready to access it. The best part is, you can withdraw your Roth IRA funds without paying income taxes once you’re ages 59 ½ or older.
How It Works: You’ll need to open a Roth IRA on your own, which is easy to do with any number of online brokerage firms. Just keep in mind that income caps limit who can contribute, so it’s possible you may not be eligible if you have a high income.
Also note that contribution limits apply. Most people can contribute up to $6,000 to a Roth IRA (and a traditional IRA, in total) in 2021, yet those ages 50 and older can contribute up to $7,000.
Where to Get Started: The best places to open a Roth IRA include Betterment, Stash, M1 Finance, and more. Research online brokerage accounts until you find the best option for your needs and goals.
Who It’s Best For: A Roth IRA makes sense for anyone who wants to save money for retirement or other goals. Since this account lets you withdraw money without income taxes in retirement, it’s also a good choice for people who want access to tax-free money later in life.
|Roth IRA Pros||Roth IRA Cons|
|Build up tax-free income for retirement||You don’t get a tax advantage the year you contribute|
|You can withdraw contributions (not earnings) before retirement without penalty||Income caps limit who can use this account|
|Many top brokerage firms make it easy to open account||Annual contribution limits are low|
6. Worthy Bonds
Risk level: Medium
Worthy is a company that offers bonds with a fixed interest rate of 5%. You only need $10 to get started, and interest compounds in your account on a daily basis. There are no hidden fees, and the money you invest is loaned out to businesses who can make a positive impact in your community.
How It Works: Opening an account with Worthy is easy, and there are no fees or penalties involved. Since each bond costs just $10, your initial investment of $100 can help you buy 10 bonds right off the bat.
Where to Get Started: Head to the Worthy website and select the option to open a new account. From there, you can buy as many bonds as you want in $10 increments. Interest will accrue daily in your account, and there are no fees involved.
Who It’s Best For: Worthy bonds are a great option for anyone who wants to earn a fixed rate of 5% on their savings.
|Worthy Bond Pros||Worthy Bond Cons|
|Earn a higher rate on your savings||Not FDIC-insured like a traditional savings account|
|No fees and the account minimum is only $10 to get started||Worthy Bonds was just founded in 2016, so the company doesn’t have a long history|
|Easy to open and fund an account online|
7. Open a High-Yield Savings Account
Risk level: Low
If you have $100 to your name but you don’t have any extra cash for emergency expenses, then your best bet for now is saving that money. However, you can easily earn a better rate of return with a high-yield savings account from an online bank.
This type of savings account works like other savings accounts from a traditional bank. Setting up an account is a breeze, and the biggest difference is that you can earn a higher interest rate on your deposits.
How It Works: The best online savings accounts from banks like CIT Bank, Discover, and Ally Bank offer exceptionally high interest rates when compared to the national average of just 0.04%. Just make sure you compare accounts until you find an option with the perks you want and no hidden fees.
Where to Get Started: Discover offers an excellent high-yield savings account with no minimum deposit requirement and no ongoing fees. You can also earn 5x the national average on your savings. That’s still not a lot, but earning something is still better than nothing.
Who It’s Best For: Everyone needs savings for emergencies and a rainy day.
|High-Yield Savings Account Pros||High-Yield Savings Account Cons|
|You can access your money quickly if you need it||You won’t earn a lot of interest|
|Build savings for emergencies||Some accounts require a minimum monthly deposit in order to get the highest rate|
|Many high-yield savings accounts come with no fees|
Your Investment Style
If you only have $100 to invest right now, you’ll want to be careful you’re investing in a way that aligns with your investment style. This style will probably depend on a whole host of factors, which may include:
- Whether you’ll need easy access to your money
- How much risk you want to take
- Your investment timeline
- How much research you want to do
If you want to invest for the long haul and you won’t need your $100 right away, then you may want to look into options like opening a Roth IRA, investing in cryptocurrency, or getting started with fractional shares. Each of these let you grow your money over a long timeline, and potentially without a lot of fine print or hidden fees.
On the flipside, you may want a “safer” option if you need access to your $100 when emergencies come up. In that case, Worthy Bonds or a high-yield savings account might be a better choice.
The Bottom Line
There are many ways to invest $100, just as there are smart options if you have $1,000 to invest, $5,000 to get started, or $10,000 you are ready to devote to building wealth. Make sure you compare all of your options and only dive in once you know you’re ready.
Although $100 may not seem like a lot, imagine what you can accomplish if you began investing $20, $50 or even $100 per month. When it comes to building wealth, you really do have to start somewhere. Investing $100 is the first step to building the life you really want.