Do you want to start investing, but think “I can’t afford it” or “I don’t have time to invest”? Well now there are a few brokerages who opened the door to those looking to get started investing, with as little as a few cents a day.
John C. Bogle’s, the founder of Vanguard said “Set yourself up for financial success by investing in low-cost index funds.” John Bogle built the vanguard business creating index funds which replicate the performance of the market offering minimal fees. The only caveat that discourages beginner investors from starting an index fund investment account, is that most brokerage companies require an account minimum of $1,000 or more to get started. However, now there is a mobile app call Acorns (learn more at www.acorns.com), that allows you to start investing in index funds with your spare change.
Acorns connects to your bank account as well as your debit card. It takes the spare change from your purchases and invests it in index funds enabling you to get started investing without a bulk sum of money, like $1,000 just to open an account. If you are asking yourself what do you mean it takes spare change from my purchases? Take a look at the following example to help simplify the power of the app. If you purchased a coffee for $1.25, Acorns will round-up your purchase to $2.00. If you subtract the rounded up value by the actual value (Rounded up value $2.00 subtracted by actual value $1.25 = $0.75 will be invested into index funds), take that difference and invest it in the portfolio of your choice (all vanguard index funds, allocated differently based on your level of risk). In addition to contributing your round ups or spare change into index funds, you can also set recurring investments on a daily (highly recommended), weekly or monthly basis, as well as make lump sum contributions.
Acorns is extremely low-cost as well and it is FREE for students! See the below for the breakdown of Acorns’ costs.
I suggest you get your balance over $1,250 as quickly as possible to make the fee percentage below 1%. For example, you are charged $1 dollar per month that means you pay a total of $12 per year (12 months * $1, if your account is less than $5,000). If you only have $100 for the entire year, you will lose $12 in fees or 12% of your overall $100 investment. If you have $1,250 by the end of the year you will only pay 0.96% in fees ($12 total fees / $1,250 = 0.96%). $1,250 may seem like a lot now but it really isn’t! I recommend setting a minimum reoccurring investment of $3.43 each day (that is less than the price of a coffee plus a small snack). This reoccurring investing will put you at $1,250 by the end of the year ($3.43 * 365 = Roughly $1,250). In addition, when you invest in index funds you will receive dividends from your investments as well as a gain or loss depending on how the market is doing. Remember the market produced an average return of around 7% over the last decade, so the longer you invest the better off you will be!
Once you feel comfortable with the reoccurring investment I urge you to increase your contribution. I started out at $4.50 and I told myself every 4 months I will increase my reoccurring daily investment by 50 cents, now I am investing $7.50 each day. By investing in small amounts each day you are also taking advantage of Dollar-Cost Averaging. Dollar-Cost Averaging is the technique of buying a fixed dollar amount of a particular investment on a regular schedule, regardless of the share price. More shares are purchased when prices are low, and fewer shares are bought when prices are high. Take a look at the illustration below from teensguidetomoney.com.
If you look above at the green chart on the right, you will notice that because the power of dollar cost averaging you would have outperformed someone if they put a lump sum of $1,250 at the price of $15 in January. Use dollar-cost averaging to your advantage and invest in increments each day. Please visit www.acorns.com to learn more as there is an interactive chart displaying how much money you can earn based on your monthly contribution and how long you invest the money for.