We’re big on investing. It’s an important way to grow your money and set yourself up for retirement someday.
But is it dangerous to be too obsessed with the stock market?
You bet it is. Our financial advice columnist, Dear Penny, recently heard from a reader whose husband stopped funding his 401(k) so he can bet on the stock market, instead.
Is it OK that he’s stopped contributing to his 401(k) so he can trade stocks? the reader asked. How do I ask him what he’s actually investing in? I’m worried that he’s gambling money that we need for our retirement.
That’s not the way to go. Here are five safer ways to invest and grow your money.
1. Just Steadily Invest Like a Normal Person
Instead of betting all your money on the stock market, just steadily invest in it. Take the long view. The stock market is unpredictable, which means that sometimes stock prices go up, and sometimes they go down — but over time, they tend to go up.
If you haven’t started investing and have some money to spare, you can start small. Investing doesn’t require you throwing thousands of dollars at full shares of stocks. In fact, you can get started with as little as $1.*
We like Stash, because it lets you choose from hundreds of stocks and funds to build your own investment portfolio. But it makes it simple by breaking them down into categories based on your personal goals. Want to invest conservatively right now? Totally get it! Want to dip in with moderate or aggressive risk? Do what you feel.
Plus, with Stash, you’re able to invest in fractions of shares, which means you can invest in funds you wouldn’t normally be able to afford.
If you sign up now (it takes two minutes), Stash will give you $5 after you add $5 to your invest account. Subscription plans start at $1 a month.**
2. Grow Your Money 16x Faster — Without Risking Any of It
Save some of your money in a safer place than the stock market — but where you’ll still earn money on it.
Under your mattress or in a safe will get you nothing. And a typical savings account won’t do you much better. (Ahem, 0.06% is nothing these days.)
But a debit card called Aspiration lets you earn up to 5% cash back and up to 16 times the average interest on the money in your account.
Not too shabby!
Enter your email address here to get a free Aspiration Spend and Save account. After you confirm your email, securely link your bank account so they can start helping you get extra cash. Your money is FDIC insured and they use a military-grade encryption which is nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”
3. Stop Paying Your Credit Card Company
One way to make sure you have more money is to stop wasting money on credit card interest. Your credit card company is getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates. But a website called AmOne wants to help.
If you owe your credit card companies $50,000 or less, AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every single one of your balances.
The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 3.49% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month.
AmOne keeps your information confidential and secure, which is probably why after 20 years in business, it still has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
It takes two minutes to see if you qualify for up to $50,000 online. You do need to give AmOne a real phone number in order to qualify, but don’t worry — they won’t spam you with phone calls.
4. Cut Your Bills by $540/Year
Another way to grow your money: Stop overpaying on your bills.
For example, when’s the last time you checked car insurance prices? You should shop your options every six months or so — it could save you some serious money. Let’s be real, though. It’s probably not the first thing you think about when you wake up. But it doesn’t have to be.
A website called Insure makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and your age, and it’ll show you your options — and even discounts in your area.
Using Insure, people have saved an average of $540 a year.
Yup. That could be $500 back in your pocket just for taking a few minutes to look at your options.
5. Add $225 to Your Wallet Just for Watching the News
Here’s a safe way to earn a little cash on the side.
We’re living in historic times, and we’re all constantly refreshing for the latest news updates. You probably know more than one news-junkie who fancies themselves an expert in respiratory illness or a political mastermind.
And research companies want to pay you to keep watching. You could add up to $225 a month to your pocket by signing up for a free account with InboxDollars. They’ll present you with short news clips to choose from every day, then ask you a few questions about them.
You just have to answer honestly, and InboxDollars will continue to pay you every month. This might sound too good to be true, but it’s already paid its users more than $56 million.
It takes about one minute to sign up, and start getting paid to watch the news.
Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He tries not to be obsessed with the stock market.
*For Securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares starts at $0.05.
**You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the custodian.