293: Listener Q: Where to invest $300 to $500?

Be Wealthy & Smart personal finance podcastLearn 17 potential places to invest a small amount of money.

It’s listener question day! Here is our question:

Linda,

I only have a small amount to invest, about $300 to $500. Where should I start?

Sam

There are many options you have. Since I don’t know anything about your circumstances, I’m going to give you a list of choices. Assuming all your consumer debt is paid off. If not, start there to get back to stability.

1. Start an emergency fund. Keep it in a separate (no-fee) checking or savings account, if possible.

2. Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA) are both great ways to reduce your income taxes by paying for medically-related expenses with pre-tax money — that is, money deducted from your paycheck before income taxes are calculated on your pay.

You put money into that you use to pay for certain out-of-pocket health care costs. This means you’ll save an amount equal to the taxes you would have paid on the money you set aside.

3. Pay 1/12 extra on your mortgage to pay it off faster and save thousands of dollars in interest.

4. Invest in an ETF or mutual fund. ETF’s are passive, mutual funds are actively managed, but more expensive. Spyder S & P 500 fund (SPY, .09% expense ratio)
or Vanguard All Market Index (VTI, .05% expense ratio). Dividend Aristocrats – 25 years of consecutive increasing dividends (NOBL, .35% expense ratio).

5. Term insurance. Creates an immediate estate in case of your untimely death. Can buy $100k to $500k depending on your age, health, gender, smoking, dangerous hobbies, etc.

6. Silver coins, still about $25 a piece.

7. Shares of stock. One share of Disney to get the special stock certificate, or Starbucks, etc.

8. REIT. Vanguard REIT (VNQ, .12% expense ratio)

Now for some ideas outside of the box…

9. Bitcoin

10. Hire a CPA – to help you reduce your taxes if you make $75k +

11. Subscription to IBD, WSJ or Kiplinger’s

12. Condo down payment fund

13. Start a business

14. Have a garage sale to raise more funds

15. Hire an organizer

16. Buy a bus pass

17. Invest in a computer to start an online business

Although you can consider all of these, if you are around age 30 or under, making your first real investment, I’d start with the Vanguard All Market Index ETF.

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