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Your Investing Toolbelt: What Can You Invest In & How

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BM Article August 28th

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Have you ever thought about what tools you already have on deck to help you invest? Between your friends’ opinions on the stock market, your research online about which stocks are really worth buying into, and the way you were raised to view money, you already have so many preconceptions going into investing.

Some are helpful, but some are probably holding you back. Most were passive tools given to you that you never really intentionally developed on your own!

But you can be deliberate about the tools you choose and use moving forward. There are so many easy to use, inexpensive applications that really take investing technology to the next level. Taking the time to educate yourself and gather up some quick and easy investing applications can make your life so much easier.

Before biting the bullet and buying a bond or stock, we should break down your main options within the investing world. This way, you can be fully educated on what exactly your money is funding!

Sometimes it can get overwhelming to hear and differentiate between all the investing terms. In order to be an informed investor, you should be able to identify and understand the types of investments you hold, and decide which types of investments you’re comfortable with buying into moving forward.

Real Estate – one of the most popular investments on the market today, and it’s pretty self explanatory.

You are buying into actual, physical, properties that a corporation is buying, maintaining, and selling on your (and other investors’) behalf. Technically, “investing” in real estate can also be done by simply buying a property yourself and using it for income!

Stocks – probably the most well known form of investing. With a stock, you’re really buying into a company by purchasing a share, that represents a piece of the organization on paper.

It’s helpful to know about the company’s values and trajectory before buying a stock!

Bonds – traditionally, bonds have represented a loan made by an investor to a borrower. Technically, when you invest in a bond, you are actually a lender in a way, as you provide a piece of the “loan.”

Options – options really don’t give you many options, but they limit them with parameters. They provide specific “guidelines” when you invest. Technically qualified as contracts for a stock, they have a certain price they can be sold for by a certain date.

Commodities – when you think of a commodity, think materials. Investing in a commodity means you are investing in an actual good, like steel or gold.

Futures – companies that have a vested interest in a specific good will agree upon and contract a future price, allowing investors to buy into this agreement. The higher the actual price of the good in comparison with the contract price, the more your investment will be worth as time goes on.

Cryptocurrencies – have you heard of bitcoin? This is the most widely known cryptocurrency. These are “virtual” values stored in code, thus the phrase “crypto.” As we learned from bitcoin, these can be risky, but they continue to rise in popularity!

Now that you’re more familiar with the main types of investments that are out there, it’s time to put your knowledge to good use! One of the easiest ways for first time investors to get started is through an investment application. You have the ability to invest at the tip of your fingers!

You might have heard the buzz about Robinhood, a super user friendly investing app that gives you a free stock when you sign up. You can also win more free stocks as you invite friends to join. You have the ability to buy and sell as you choose, and can invest any amount you wish.

It’s a great place to get your feet wet in the investment world, without any commission paid to a financial professional to manage your money.

Stash is a similar app that allows you to purchase a portion of a share. This way, you can actually afford and benefit from a higher priced stock’s performance! You even get $5 for free to start investing on Stash. It’s a twist on traditional investing that allows for flexibility.

Atom is a handy investment app that consolidates your investment accounts to one dashboard so you can see them all together! Atom even provides features that allow you to compare and contrast investments you’re interested in buying into.

If vetted, socially responsible companies are more your jam, you can turn to Betterment for your investing needs. There’s several other different money management tools included with the app, and no minimum amount to start investing. Think of Betterment as a hub of socially responsible investment choices.

If you’re into retail therapy, Clink allows consumers to allocate a portion of their credit card spending towards investments! No minimum contribution here either. If you’re looking for an automated way to contribute to your investments in a unique way, check out Clink.

Webull is known for its ease of use, and plethora of simple graphic analysis of stocks and options you can track right from your phone! Again, there’s no minimum deposit, and when you open an account you get two free stocks.

You really can’t lose when you’re starting out on one of these apps with a small investment to test the waters. As you learn the market and decide at what frequency you like to trade, you’ll realize that investing is quite an enjoyable and rewarding hobby.

Now that you’ve had a refresher on the main types of investments out there, and the applications that can help you get started, what are you waiting for? Put your money to work for you!

Contributor’s opinions are their own. Always do your own due diligence before investing.

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