4 Radically Simple Places to Invest Your Money

Knowing how to invest in the financial markets can be confusing, because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. To help, Money Girl reveals her favorite radically simple and innovative places to invest money right now - no matter if you have lots to spare, or can only afford to set aside a few dollars each month.

Laura Adams, MBA
7-minute read
Episode #390

Knowing how to invest money in the financial markets can be confusing because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

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Everyone’s financial situation is different. We all have different goals, amounts to invest, tolerance for risk, and knowledge about investing.  

But before you get to how to invest,  you need to choose a place to actually open your investing account. In this episode I’ll give you my favorite radically simple and innovative places to invest money right now.

You can use these recommendations no matter if you have lots of extra money to invest, or can only afford to set aside a few dollars each month.

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4 Radically Simple Places to Invest Your Money

If you’re fortunate enough to have a retirement plan at work, such as a 401k or 403b, your employer is in charge of it. That means you’re stuck with the brokerage and plan they choose.

Although you’re not in control, this is still the first place you should invest, when possible. That’s because it comes with terrific tax advantages and perhaps employer matching, to boot.

But when you don’t have access to a workplace plan, or you’re maxed out and still have extra to set aside, you need other places to invest your money.

There are many great investment firms and brokerages. Some of the biggest and well-known companies are Vanguard, Fidelity, and Charles Schwab. But just because a firm tops the charts doesn't necessarily mean that it's right for you - especially if you don't use it.

Here are 4 radically simple places to make your money grow:

Place #1: Acorns

Acorns is a free mobile app, which will also be a web-based application soon. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen, because it allows you to automatically invest your digital spare change.

What’s digital spare change? Well, you give Acorns permission to round up your purchases on debit or credit cards and then invest the difference by automatically pulling it out of your bank checking account.

For instance, let’s say you link up a credit card and charge $12.25, Acorns would round up to $13.00 and know that you need to invest the difference of $0.75. Once you've accumulated at least $5 in total spare change, Acorns automatically takes it out of your checking account and invests it. 

You can link up as many debit and credit cards as you like. Then you pick one of Acorn’s 5 investment portfolios, ranging from conservative to aggressive. Each one is made up of 6 exchange-traded funds (ETFs) selected to achieve the portfolio objective.

To get started investing with Acorns, all you need is $5. Then they charge $1 per month for balances under $5,000 or 0.25% per year for balances over $5,000. 

I’ve been using Acorns for several months and my virtual spare change totals about $40 a month. According to their calculator, if I maintain a moderate portfolio for 20 years, my change will be worth over $20,000.

That’s certainly not enough to retire on, but it’s a terrific reward for using a free app, and an easy way to set aside a little over a dollar a day for the future, without even thinking about it.

I don’t recommend that you only use Acorns to invest. However, if you’re struggling to get started, it’s an incredibly easy and painless option! And even if you’re already a pro at saving and investing, using the Acorns app is actually fun.

See also: How Much Money Do You Need to Retire?


About the Author

Laura Adams, MBA

Laura Adams received an MBA from the University of Florida. She's an award-winning personal finance author, speaker, and consumer advocate who is a frequent, trusted source for the national media. Money-Smart Solopreneur: A Personal Finance System for Freelancers, Entrepreneurs, and Side-Hustlers is her newest title. Laura's previous book, Debt-Free Blueprint: How to Get Out of Debt and Build a Financial Life You Love, was an Amazon #1 New Release. Do you have a money question? Call the Money Girl listener line at 302-364-0308. Your question could be featured on the show.