How much do I need to start investing?

Discover how to start investing with any budget and learn crucial strategies for growing your investments over time. 

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How much to start?

The question of how much money is required to start investing looms large for many Australians, especially those new to finance. 

It is a common belief that investing is only for the affluent, demanding substantial sums to begin. However, we aim to dispel that myth, demonstrating that investing is accessible to a broad spectrum of individuals, regardless of their financial status. 

With the rise of micro-investing and various online trading platforms, investing has become more democratic. It's opening opportunities for even those of modest means to grow their wealth.

The 'big investment' myth

One of the biggest misconceptions about investing is the perceived need for a large capital outlay to start. This myth often creates psychological barriers, deterring many from taking their first step. But the reality is much more inclusive. 

Advancements in financial technology and the emergence of various investment platforms have dramatically lowered barriers to entry. 

Today, individuals can begin investing with small amounts, sometimes as little as the cost of a cup of coffee. Micro-investing platforms, for instance, allow you to invest small sums regularly, making it possible to build a portfolio gradually over time.

The rise of micro-investing has revolutionised the investment landscape by enabling individuals to invest smaller amounts. Micro-investing platforms make investing accessible, challenging the traditional notion that investing is only for wealthy people. This has helped open the potential for financial growth to a broader population.

Micro-investing explained

Micro-investing allows individuals to invest small amounts of money, often as little as a few dollars. It works by pooling these small contributions into larger, collective investments. Several popular micro-investing platforms in Australia offer these services, including Raiz Invest, Commsec Pocket, and Spaceship Voyager. 

Raiz Invest was one of the first micro-investing platforms to debut in Australia. It allows users to automatically invest spare change from purchases into diversified portfolios with varying risk levels. These portfolios range from conservative, lower-risk options to more aggressive, higher-risk options.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) offers Commsec Pocket and requires a linked CBA transaction account. It provides investment options based on different themes, including diversified equities, emerging markets, and sustainability leaders. 

Spaceship Voyager allows investment in three different portfolios. These are Spaceship Universe (companies like Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ: MSFT), Spotify Technology SA (NYSE: SPOT), and Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA)); Spaceship Origin (companies making a positive impact); and Spaceship Earth (top 200 global and Australian companies)

These platforms vary in approach and offerings, but their core principle is to make investing achievable and manageable for everyone. Their low barriers to entry make investing accessible to a broader audience, including those who may not have the means or desire to make significant initial investments.  

Please note that while we highlight these platforms for informational purposes, our intention is to educate investors on available options rather than endorse any specific service.

ASX requirements

When investing in companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), the standard minimum investment required is $500. This makes investing in ASX shares a viable option, even for those with a modest budget. 

The ASX hosts a diverse range of companies, offering potential investors a variety of sectors to choose from – from mining and resources to technology and healthcare. When investing in ASX shares, beginners need to understand the basics of stock market investing – such as how share prices fluctuate, the importance of diversification, and the concept of risk versus return.

Another approach is to invest in exchange-traded funds (ETFs). These pooled investment funds traded on the ASX can provide exposure to a broad range of stocks or a specific sector. ETFs are an excellent way to achieve diversification, as they hold multiple assets, reducing the risk associated with individual stock investments.

Investing options for small budgets

ETFs represent an attractive option for those with limited funds looking to start investing. They offer the advantage of immediate diversification, sometimes across hundreds of stocks, which can mitigate risk. 

This makes ETFs an attractive entry point for investors with smaller budgets,  allowing exposure to a wide range of assets without the need to invest large sums in individual stocks.

An ample variety of ETFs listed on the ASX cater to various investment interests and strategies. 

Options include funds tracking well-known indices such as the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) and those focused on specific sectors such as technology, healthcare, or commodities. 

Some ETFs invest in international markets, providing exposure to global economies. Others focus on environmentally friendly and socially responsible companies. 

The variety and flexibility of ETFs mean that even with limited funds, investors can find options that align with their investment goals, risk tolerance, and interests. This diversity helps spread risk and allows investors to be part of growth stories across different industries and global markets.

Tips for growing your investment over time

Consistency is key when it comes to growing your investments. Regular contributions, even if they are small, can add up over time. 

Another critical factor is compound interest, which can significantly enhance the growth of your investments. 

By reinvesting the earnings you make from your investments, you allow your money to generate more earnings, creating a snowball effect. Even modest investments can grow substantially over time when managed wisely and consistently.

Diversification is another vital strategy for growing your investments over time. Diversifying your investment portfolio across different asset classes, sectors, and geographic regions can help mitigate risk and optimise returns. 

This means spreading your investments across various shares, bonds, ETFs, and possibly other assets like real estate or commodities rather than putting all your funds into a single stock or sector. Diversification helps protect your portfolio from market volatility, as different investments react differently to economic changes. 

Staying informed about market trends and adjusting your investment strategy as needed can also contribute to growth. 

Keeping an eye on economic indicators, company performance, and global events allows you to make more informed decisions, whether rebalancing your portfolio, taking advantage of new investment opportunities, or avoiding potential risks. 

A well-planned and adaptive approach to investing is often more successful over the long term.

Start your investment journey today 

Starting your investment journey is more about taking that first step than the amount you begin investing with. 

The investing journey is ongoing and will evolve with your financial goals and circumstances. Whether you start small through micro-investing or take the plunge with ETFs on the ASX, what's important is that you start. 

Every investor's path is unique, and there's no 'one size fits all' approach. Start with what you're comfortable with and increase your investments as your confidence and understanding grow. 

Educate yourself, stay informed about market trends, and consider seeking advice from financial professionals if needed. Over time, you'll learn to navigate the complexities of the market, make more informed decisions, and adapt your strategy to align with your changing goals. 

The key is to remain committed and patient, as the rewards of investing often come to those who are consistent and persistent. By taking the first step today, you're investing not just in your financial portfolio but also in your knowledge, experience, and future economic well-being.

Want to learn more about investing?

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This article is part of Motley Fool Australia's comprehensive Investing Education series, covering everything from budgeting and saving to basic investing concepts and how much money you'll need to start.

Packed with easy-to-understand and regularly updated information, our articles contain the answers to your most frequently asked questions about share market investing.

Motley Fool's Education series is tailored for beginner and experienced investors alike and also includes helpful tools and resources, an A-Z glossary of Investing Definitions, and guides to specific topics of interest, including retirement planning, gold and property investment.

This article contains general educational content only and does not take into account your personal financial situation. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be considered, and you may need to seek independent financial advice.

To the best of our knowledge, all information in this article is accurate as of time of posting. In our educational articles, a 'top share' is always defined by the largest market cap at the time of last update. On this page, neither the author nor The Motley Fool have chosen a 'top share' by personal opinion.

As always, remember that when investing, the value of your investment may rise or fall, and your capital is at risk.

Motley Fool contributor Katherine O'Brien has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Microsoft, Spotify Technology, and Tesla. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.