Here’s How to Start Investing When You Only Have $50 to Spare

A close look at a woman handling money
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

Investing in the stock market might sound like something that only rich people do. But you can start with only $50 — and immediately double your money with a $50 match.

Swell Investing makes this super easy. You can get started online or through its app with $50 — the cost of a dinner for two at Olive Garden. Plus, when you invest $50, Swell will immediately match that with a $50 bonus! Just use the code PENNY after making your initial investment.

This is a much lower minimum than traditional investment companies will require for you to start investing — so you don’t have to be Warren Buffett or Thurston Howell III to become an investor with Swell.

Invest in Causes You Care About

If you’d like to be a socially conscious investor, Swell lets you support companies that share your values. Swell is an SEC-registered investment adviser with a socially responsible philosophy. It only invests in sustainable companies that are committed to solving global challenges.

With Swell, you can invest in any of seven portfolios of stocks that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Clean Water, Disease Eradication, Green Tech, Healthy Living, Renewable Energy, Zero Waste or Swell’s Impact 400.

Each thematic portfolio includes 40 to 70 companies making a positive impact in these areas. Additionally, the Impact 400 portfolio features 400 companies across multiple sectors.

You can choose a custom blend of portfolios to invest. Or, to make things even simpler, Swell has created predetermined mixes of multiple stock portfolios. The mixes have names like the Environmentalist, the Generalist and the Tech Optimist. This way, you don’t have to choose yourself how to allocate your investment from scratch.

Now, just because you’d like to save the Earth, that doesn’t mean you can’t make some money at the same time.

Swell’s website and its iOS app make it easy to track each portfolio’s performance and change in value over the past week, month, six months, year — or all the way back to Swell’s launch in 2016.

No one can ever guarantee you a certain rate of return. But historically, investing in the stock market has shown to grow your money faster than keeping it in a savings account. If you want to start saving for retirement — or just save for the future — it’s best to start growing your money as quickly as possible.

Save Money by Avoiding Sneaky Fees

Through Swell, you get to invest in companies that share your morals. You probably wouldn’t want to invest in a company that’s destroying our oceans or cheating the system. With traditional investing you might be. For example, the top five retirement funds in the U.S. support oil companies.

Swell’s fee structure is simple. It won’t change depending on the product you use or the portfolio you invest in.

For example, Swell doesn’t charge any trading fees, there are no price tiers or expense ratios, and you won’t find any other obscure fees that might catch new investors by surprise. To save you from these hassles, it simply charges a 0.75% annual fee. For example, if you invest $500, that’s about the cost of one latte ($3.75) per year.

Depending on how much you invest, you could ultimately save hundreds of dollars this way. A traditional brick-and-mortar investment firm will charge you fees based on how much stock you own, how often you trade stocks and other factors.

So, got $50? Bingo! Just like that, you’re a member of the investor class.

Disclosure: We have a financial relationship with Swell Investing LLC and will be compensated if consumers apply for an account and/or fund an account with Swell through links in our content. However, the analysis and opinions expressed here are our own.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.