Here’s How to Start Investing, Even If You Only Have $5

A young black man dressed smiles at the camera while leaning against a red brick bulding.
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder
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We’ve all heard the old “make your money work for you” adage, right?

That means taking basic Finance 101 steps — like investing. Sounds great. But who has that kind of money just lying around? We’re busy working for a living and trying to make our budgets work.

But investing can be for everyone — even if you only have $5.

You don’t need thousands of dollars to start investing. Here are some of our favorite ways to invest — one option even lets you start with as little as $5.

How to Invest With $500

a laptop displaying the fundrise app
Ting Shen for The Penny Hoarder

If you’re at a point where you have a few hundred dollars you can invest, we’ve found a great way to try real-estate investing — without playing landlord. Oh, and you don’t have to have hundreds of thousands of dollars, either. You can get started with a minimum investment of just $500.

A company called Fundrise does all the heavy lifting for you.

Through the Fundrise Starter Portfolio, your money will be split into two portfolios that support private real estate around the United States.

This isn’t an obscure investment, though. You can see exactly which properties are included in your portfolios — like a set of townhomes in Snoqualmie, Washington, or an apartment building in Charlotte, North Carolina.

You can earn money through quarterly dividend payments and potential appreciation in the value of your shares, just like a stock. Cash flow typically comes from interest payments and property income (e.g. rent).

(But remember: Investments come with risk. While Fundrise has paid distributions every quarter since 2014, dividend and principal payments are never guaranteed.)

You’ll pay a 0.85% annual asset management fee and a 0.15% annual investment advisory fee.

How to Invest With Just $5 in Spare Change

Rounding up purchases to the nearest dollar is all the rage right now. Those remaining pennies add up fast.

Acorns is embracing the trend and allows you to start investing with just $5. It’s all done with a few taps on your phone. Plus, you’ll get a $5 bonus when you sign up.

Once you download the free app, you’ll pick your portfolio based on your age, income level and your goals. Acorns handles the rest; you don’t have to pick and choose individual investments.

Then, if you choose to round-up your transactions to the nearest dollar, that spare change will stack up until it hits $5, which Acorns will invest for you.

Each month, you’ll pay $1 for the service. If you work your way over $5,000, you’ll be charged 0.25% of your balance per year.