In order to get started investing you just need some willingness to learn and apply sound, proven to work principles. You can get started immediately without having much investment wisdom at all about the stock market or other investment instruments. When you begin investing you should be a conservative-moderate investor with a relatively low risk tolerance. This way you will have a way to grow your money with little risk, while you learn more about investing. However, a general rule of thumb in long-term investing is that the younger you are, the more risk you should take and aggressive you should be. However, this considers that you have performed your due diligence, have learned enough about all of your options, and properly assessed your investor profile.
One very easy first investment you can make would be an interest bearing savings account, chances are good you already have one. If you do not have one of these accounts you should; they can be opened with usually only $100, sometimes even less. A savings account can be opened at the same bank that you do your checking at, or at any other bank. One good idea may be to open this interest bearing savings account with an on-line bank that has no physical location near you, this way it forces you to keep the money in the account longer and make less frequent withdrawals. One of these types of interest bearing savings accounts should yield 2 – 4%.
Another good option you have when starting investing is to invest in money market funds. Money market investments can be made through nearly any bank. These funds have higher interest payouts than typical savings accounts, and they work much the same way. Money market accounts are also short to medium-term investments, because of this your money will not be tied up for a long period of time and still appreciate in value.
Certificates of Deposit are also investments with very little to no risk. Interest rates on C.D.’s are normally higher than those of savings accounts or Money Market Funds. You have the option to select the duration of your C.D. with interest paid regularly until the maturity (duration end) date. Another pro about C.D.’s is that they are insured by the bank and governmental agencies.
Other options for you to choose when first starting investing are treasury securities (low risk), bonds (low to medium risk), mutual funds (low to high risk), and exchange traded funds (low to high risk). However these options require more due diligence than those mentioned in the previous paragraphs, and the latter of these options (mutual funds, ETF’s) generally have more risk as they are related to stocks.
When just starting out, any one of these options above are great beginning points for delving into investing. All of these options will allow your capital to grow for you while you learn more about investing in other, higher yielding (higher risk typically) investment opportunities.
*Note: An excellent resource for checking saving account yield rates is Bankrate.com