Disclosure – this is a collaborative post.
Investing used to be the preserve of people who already had money; the old saying used to go that you needed money to make money. This is still true, but thankfully, you don’t need a lot of spare money anymore. Investing has become more democratized in recent years, with the advent of online platforms and funds that don’t need five, four or even three-figure opening balances.
You might have a stale old savings account that’s crawling along year-by-year, or you might have a garage full of old sports equipment that deserves another season or two in the sun. Whichever way you raise or free up your spare cash, you need to make some sensible decisions about what to do with it once it’s available. Here’s some good ideas.
You could buy some bullion
It’s probably never occurred to you to buy bullion, but it’s actually very easy to do. You can actually start a collection of silver bars for $10 (£8) apiece if you hit the sales!
Use an online investment platform
You’ll find lots of these platforms now and there’s no need to be scared or worried because they’re just as tightly regulated as the more traditional bank-based facilities. There’s not a huge amount of difference between them, in reality, so as long as you choose a well-regulated provider, you’ll probably get good results. You can choose a platform that only invests in ethical companies or commodities, or one that has a minimum deposit that’s comfortable for you.
In the main, your money is handled by algorithms, but there will also be actual humans to talk to if you need them. Generally, you’ll start the process by filling out a questionnaire to look at your attitudes to risk and your interests, then you’ll have a portfolio type chosen for you. There will be management fees, but most platforms only ask for a small percentage of your annual profits.
Spend some money or time on developing yourself
You can invest in yourself and your development without actually spending any money. Everyone has skills and interests and if your skills could do with some polishing or updating, then you’ll have to spend time on them. That time is your investment. If you didn’t finish that aromatherapy course you started a few years back, or your typing speed has fallen a bit, now’s the time to do something about it. If you can command a higher hourly rate or start a side-gig as a result, then it’s time (and maybe some money…) well-spent.
Start a low-risk, minimum investment fund
This is a bit different from the investment platform because it’s a bit more passive. However, if you’re looking for long-term growth with very little risk, then you can’t do much better. While many funds like this need you to have a few hundreds in before they give you decent returns, you have to remember that you have to start somewhere. Bump up the balance to start with and then commit to depositing £10 or £20 a month thereafter. As long as you’re using a balanced and diversified portfolio, no matter how big your fund is, then you’re investing as safely and wisely as you can.