I asked 12 of the best personal finance bloggers and money experts the following question to get an idea of where to start investing.
“Where should a brand new investor put $1,000 to work in the market?”
And, I was not disappointed by their answers. Here are what they said…
J Money from Budgets Are Sexy – It’s always hard to advise someone without knowing them at all or their comfortableness with risk, etc, but I know for me (a more riskier type of guy) I enjoy investing in stocks of companies I either use or love every single day because I believe in them. My wife, however, prefers to invest in more conservative long-term funds and thus goes with you typical index funds out there. She likes to earn “on average” and I like seeing the big spikes and sometimes even lows So I’m gonna cop out of this answer and say it really just depends on what makes you comforatble with this stuff, BUT the fact you’re wanting to invest $1,000 in the market is GREAT. So I think you’re on the right track already just in reading this right now.
Phil Taylor from PT Money – If that person has paid off their high interest debt and they have adequate cash savings (i.e. emergency fund) then I’d take that $1,000 and place it in a low expense index fund or low expense target date retirement fund. Either investments I would stash inside a Roth IRA.
Ryan from Cash Money Life - Investing can be like a complicated topic — there are literally thousands of ways to invest your money. When faced with so many options, it can seem impossible to make sure you are investing in the right places. One of the first things you should do is take a few moments to write down your investment goals – this will help you decide how and where to invest. If you have a short term outlook, you might want to avoid stocks altogether, and opt for more stable investments that will preserve your cash. More stable investments come at a price, however, and often generate lower returns. If you have a longer time frame (such as retirement), then you should consider investing in the stock market, where there is more risk, but also a greater chance for higher returns. While it is a good idea to invest in the stock market, it is generally best to avoid investing in single stocks until you have a larger investment portfolio and more knowledge about how to value individual stocks. In general, it’s good for first time investors to start with low cost index funds or Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), which offer a low cost way to purchase a piece of the stock market, often by owning a fraction of a share of hundreds of different companies. Investing in these types of funds helps you reduce your risk of overexposure in any one stock. But don’t stop there. Investing isn’t something you can do once and leave alone. It’s a good idea to continue learning about how investing works, and to set up automatic investments through your 401k, IRA, or other retirement plan. As you learn more about investing, you may decide to branch out into other investment opportunities.
Jeff Rose from Good Financial Cents – Assuming that they have no consumer debt, then I sending them straight to a Roth IRA with an online brokerage like Scottrade. As far as the actual investment, I would have them start with a stock mutual fund or ETF until they feel more comfortable exploring other investments.
June Walbert, CFP from USAA – Anyone – whether they have money or not –should have an emergency fund in place before looking to start an investment account. Assuming you have that in place, I think a diversified portfolio provided in an asset allocation or target retirement fund is a great place to start. It doesn’t seem very flashy but it’s financially fundamentally sound. It’s a great way to dip your toes into the investment world.
Jeremy from Modest Money – When most people first get into investing, it is probably best to start off with mutual funds. Usually people simply do not have the expertise to properly monitor stocks to know when to sell. With mutual funds, professionals will monitor their holdings and make adjustments if necessary. I personally invested in mutual funds for years, but am now ready to take the next step and move onto ETFs, bonds and individual stocks.
Shane from Beating Broke – Start small. Whatever you may think about the level of your knowledge and skill with investing, you’re wrong. Until you get started, there are many nuances that you won’t have a full grasp on and it could end up with you with a heavy loss. Learn as you go, and slowly grow your investments as you learn more about what it is that you’re doing.
Miranda from Planting Money Seeds – I’d start out by put the money in an index fund or an index ETF. There are a number of great options, they are easy to invest in, and they are low cost. They’re great for beginners. Plus, you can diversify a little. You don’t need to put the whole $1,000 into a single fund, and it’s also possible invest in dividend index funds that offer payouts as well. It’s always a good idea to do a little research to find what works best for you, but index funds are a good place to start.
Money Beagle - I think the first $1,000 should be used to lay a foundation for future investing. As such, I would advise that they go for something that’s low cost and low maintenance, such as an S&P 500 Index Fund.
Edward from EdwardAntrobus.co.cc - I’m a big fan of dividend paying mutual funds, especially when enrolled in a DRIP. They are a lot less volatile than stocks and the dividends are just free income that dribbles in.
Stephanie from Empowered Dollar - I think the best place to start for a first time investor is with a low cost index fund.
SB from One Cent At A Time – $1000 for short term (1 – 5 years) – Short-term the goal should be to preserve the capital first. So I’d go towards CD ladder, corporate short term fixed income papers or treasuries. If I have $10,000 to invest for 2 years I’d also put a part in to P2P lending to increase the rate of return. But I’d not put more than 20% in it. I’d not go in to anything else but stock with $1000 for longer term (6 and beyond). If you are good at picking stock go for direct stock buying, else, go for index fund or sector mutual funds.Some foreign exposure is also good for longer term. I will not have more than 30% in bonds and absolute no investment in CDs or saving accounts. One point though, don’t try to put your first $1000 in investment, save enough in emergency fund and then invest the residual money.
What about you? Where would you put $1,000 to work for you if you were a brand new investor?