Best investments for beginners
High-yield savings accounts
This can be an easy way to increase your return on your money beyond
what you’re earning in a regular checking account. High-yield savings
accounts, often opened by online banks, pay higher interest on average
than standard savings accounts yet give customers regular access to their
This can be a great place to park the money you’re saving for purchases in
the years to come, as well as hold on just in case of an emergency.
Certificates of deposit
Certificates of deposit are another way to earn extra interest on your
savings, but they will tie up your money for longer than a high-yield
savings account. You can buy CDs for different periods, such as six months,
one year or even five years, but you usually cannot access the money
before the CD matures without paying the penalty.
Certificates are considered extremely safe, and if you buy through a
federally insured bank.
Buying stock in individual companies is the riskiest investment option discussed
here, but it can also be rewarding. But before you start investing, you should
consider whether buying stocks makes sense for you. You invest for the long
term, usually at least five years. Stocks are priced every second of the trading day, and because of this, people are often drawn to a short-term trading mindset
when they hold individual stocks.
A stock is a partial ownership stake in a real business; over time, your fortune
will grow with the underlying company you invest in. If you don’t think you have
the skills or stomach to run it with individual stocks, consider Instead taking the
more diversified approach offered by mutual funds or ETFs.
Mutual funds offer investors an opportunity to invest in stocks or bonds that they could not
easily make on their own.
Low costs help investors keep more of the fund’s returns for themselves and can be a great
way to build wealth over time.
Exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, are similar to mutual funds in that they hold
securities, but they trade throughout the day in the same way that stocks do. ETFs
don’t come with the same minimum investment requirements as mutual funds, which
typically come in at a few thousand dollars. ETFs can be purchased for the price of
one share plus any fees or commissions associated with the purchase, although you
can start with even less if your broker allows fractional share investments.
Why should you start investing?
Investing is essential if you want to maintain the purchasing power of your savings
and reach long-term financial goals such as retirement or wealth building. If you let
your savings sit in a traditional bank account that earns little or no interest, eventually
inflation will erode the value of your hard-earned capital. By investing in assets like
stocks and bonds, your savings keep up with or even outpace inflation.
Short-term investments like high-yield savings accounts or money market mutual
funds can help you earn more on your savings when you make a big purchase like a
down payment on a car or home. Stocks and ETFs are considered better for long-
term goals such as retirement because they are likely to yield better returns over
time, but they carry additional risk.
How much money is needed to start investing?
You don’t need much money to start investing. Most online brokers have no
account minimums to get started, and some offer fractional share investments for
those starting with small dollar amounts. For just a few dollars, you can buy an
ETF allows you to build a diversified portfolio of stocks. A micro-investing
the platform will let you round up debit card purchases as a way to start investing.