One of the activities that I enjoy quite a bit, in addition to bourbon, cigars, and wine, is investing. I have been interested in this topic for quite a while. My MBA had a finance concentration and capital management is a big part of what I do on a day to day basis. This past year has been extremely profitable in the stock market, and there are a lot of people asking about how they can get started investing. My primary advice would be to start with a 401(k) or similar program through your employer, and/or open an IRA (both the traditional and roth IRA’s have advantages and disadvantages depending on your tax situation) using these retirement strategies will save you on taxes immediately, no matter where you invest, or the market’s performance, and will serve you well later in life. All that being said, though, for people who want to get started in simply investing into their desired stock.
Well, starting off small, there are some brokerages that are offering free investment money in order to begin investing.
Stockpile is one brokerage that is interesting because it allows you to purchase partial or fractional shares of a stock (Amazon, for example, is over $1000 a share, but with stockpile you can buy $10 worth of Amazon) They also only have a $.99 commission fee, which is way less than most brokerages. They also have a lot of trading tools and teaching opportunities (their goal is to get more people to invest) The main reason that I mention them in this context, though, is because they have an offer out on Groupon to get $20 worth of stock for $10. Choose the stock or ETF you want to invest in, and even if you sell the next day, you’re making a 100% ROI. Here is a link: Groupon StockPile
I opened an account to get this deal and bought into a S&P 500 ETF. I may sell soon, or I may just hold it, since I am essentially making capital gains on leveraged money.
Another option is Robinhood – this is a mobile app based brokerage that offers free commissions (yes, free… which is pretty cool) but they also offer a free share of stock for people opening new accounts through a referral. I have an account with them as well. There is no minimum investment (most brokerages are around $500) and once again, commission free trades. My referral link is: Robinhood Free Stock Referral – the stock that you receive is random, and could be anything from $2.50 to $200 in value, but it is a free share of a company.
I wish I had opened my account through someone else’s referral, actually, because when I did, I didn’t have anything to show for it.
Both of these options are for folks that are just starting out and they have training and learning applications to help you get started. It isn’t much, but holding appreciating assets like this can be beneficial and help you start to understand investing more. You could sell at any point and then put those additional funds to use elsewhere, or, a better option in my opinion, invest them into dividend funds or real estate holding companies that pay you monthly or quarterly income to expand your gentlemanly and scholarly interests.