How Can I Invest with Less Than $100?

Getting Started with Only Small Amounts Is Possible

Invest with $100 or Less
If you want to begin building a portfolio but can only invest $100 or less, it is possible.. Elizabeth Sanchez / EyeEm / Getty Images

Even though $100 might not sound like a lot, the power of compounding can be incredible.  It has been said, "Do not despise the day of small beginnings" and your portfolio is no exception.

If You Have Less than $100 to Invest, Consider Trying To Buy Stock Without a Broker 

In an article I wrote called Buying Stock Without a Broker, I laid out a couple of ways you might be able to begin acquiring ownership in businesses through the purchase of common stocks, most often blue chip stocks.

 These included taking advantage of direct stock purchase plans or investing through dividend reinvestment plans.  Some of these amazing programs, such as the ones in place for oil majors like Exxon Mobil, charge practically nothing if you agree to have $50 taken out of your checking or savings account automatically each month for six months to demonstrate your commitment to becoming an owner of the firm originally founded by John D. Rockefeller.

These types of programs are particularly popular among secret millionaires.  They are also great for gifts, including as a way to give stock to children.

On a related note, find out whether or not your employer offers an employee stock purchase plan.  Sometimes, you can have money withheld from your paycheck and receive a fairly hefty discount on the market value of the stock, making it a great perk for those who pay attention and enroll.  Of course, you need to make sure owning your employer is a reasonable investment given the risks, rewards, and your unique circumstances so consult with your investment advisor or other qualified professional first, such as a licensed CPA.

 The last thing you want is to end up losing your job at the same time your biggest investment implodes.

Next, Consider Opening a Brokerage Account with a Broker That Has No Transaction Fees on Certain Funds

Another good choice if you are trying to invest $100 at a time is to open a brokerage account at a discount broker.

 Some will let you open an account if you commit, say, $100 a month for several months while others will require you to save $1,000 up front, then move as little as $5 in thereafter.  In these cases, the trick is to look for one that has a really good collection of index funds, mutual funds, or ETFs that they will let you buy for no commission.  Charles Schwab has made a big push into this area in recent years as has Fidelity.  You pile up money as you can and then get to invest all of it with no frictional expenses other than a modest mutual fund expense ratio coming out of your pocket.

Finally, If You Only Have $100 to Invest, Consider the Power of Human Networks

In a handful of cases, I've had people with quite literally no savings at all - none - approach me and explain that they are young, serious about building a meaningful portfolio, and want to know if I'll work with them over the next few decades as they build from nothing.  They made their case like an attorney in a courtroom, catching me at unexpected times.

 In a few situations, they sold me.  I'm working to find a way that we can make an exception for them after we open our doors, bringing them on board alongside clients with millions of dollars.  I'll have to make some accommodations, such as using low-cost pooled investments unless they can put aside a decent chunk of change each year, but they convinced me, person to person, they were worthy of my faith.  The whole world is open to you if you know how to ask and appeal to a person's self-interest.  I once helped someone open a brokerage account.  This person didn't have a lot of money but wanted a diversified collection of stocks.  It was going to be cost prohibitive.  A phone call later, I had talked the broker into giving them hundreds of free trades.  It's all people.  That sounds simplistic but that's it... it's just people.  Knowing how to connect and converse with people is one of the most valuable assets your portfolio has in the beginning, especially if you are young and have a lot of compounding time in front of you.  Be creative and you can find $100 can help plant the seeds of a fortune.

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