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In 2015, a gas station attendant in Vermont passed away at the age of 92.
His name was Ronald Read.
By all accounts, Mr. Read worked all his life at manual jobs. He lived modestly and never appeared to wear or drive anything that would not fit his working-class income. However, something was very unique about Mr. Read.
When he passed away, he left an $8 million dollar fortune to charity.
Mr. Read is proof that it is possible to start investing and realize real wealth with a low-income job. If you are looking to get started investing, take a look at some of the steps that can help you potentially become the next Ronald Read.
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1. Save every month
Saving and investing has to become a healthy habit like eating vegetables every day or exercising on a regular basis. Be sure to save and invest every month. Even if you get started with $20 a month, that is better than nothing. The idea is to build up a habit.
2. Start with buying fractional shares
Shares of stocks like Tesla and Amazon can cost several hundred or several thousand dollars. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t add these amazing companies to your portfolio. Trading platforms such as Robinhood allow you to purchase fractional shares of any stock.
3. Consider ETFs
Don’t know which individual stocks to purchase? No problem. You can purchase ETFs or Exchange Traded Funds. These funds can allow you to invest in a basket of stocks that either represent a stock market index, a sector or a trading strategy.
Two of the two ETFs include the SPRD S&P 500 ETF (SPY) and the Invesco Nasdaq 100 Trust ETF (QQQ). These ETFs can allow you to build a portfolio with less individual stock risk.
4. Open a retirement account
You can open a 401K retirement plan that allows you to defer your capital gains taxes until you withdraw your money when you retire.
A 401K fund is an employee retirement where your employer matches your contributions. If your employer doesn’t offer a 401K plan, then you can open an IRA or an individual retirement account.
5. Have long term goals
The key to Ronald Read’s success as a trader was that he had a long-term perspective. Mr. Read bought high-quality, blue-chip companies like Coca-Cola and held onto them for decades.
Don’t think about what the stock market is going to do tomorrow. Consider the performance of the stock market over several decades.
6. Consider a side hustle
If your job doesn’t allow you to make enough money to invest, then consider getting a side job or a side hustle to get that investment money.
There are a number of ways you can make an extra $50 to $200 a month. Here are some ideas:
- Flip items from garage sales – Find items at garage sales and sell them on eBay as a profit
- Deliver food – You can sign up for services like Instacart, Uber Eats or GrubHub and deliver food in your spare time.
- Find online work – You can do everything from write content to design logos to make a little extra money on sites like Fiverr.
7. Avoid risky stocks
Once you start investing, you will be attracted to hot stocks that may double in a month. However, it is difficult to build sustaining wealth on these stocks. That’s because some of these high-flying stocks are speculative and risky. Start your portfolio with large, established companies that have a history of profit.
Here are some historically well performing stocks that have provided solid returns for at least the past 25 years:
- Microsoft (MSFT)
- Coca-Cola (KO)
- Sherman Williams (SHW)
- Wal-Mart (WMT)
- McDonald’s (MCD)
- Disney (DIS)
- Abbot Labs (ABT)
8. Sell stuff that you don’t use
Looking for money to invest and don’t have time for a side hustle? Consider selling items around the house that you no longer use. This could get you started on building your nest egg. Here are some items to consider:
- Lawn equipment
9). Think beyond stocks
While stocks are a great way to get started investing. There are a number of other investment opportunities out there. Here are some other ways that you can invest.
- Bonds – Bonds are assets that pay interest from a loan. When you buy a bond, you are essentially loaning someone your money. In return they pay you a fixed rate.
- Commodities – Gold, silver, oil and copper are commodities that can sometimes go up when stocks go down.
- Cryptocurrencies – Cryptocurrencies are a virtual currency that are used for transactions as well as stores of wealth.
10). Stay consistent
One of the biggest keys to success in investing is staying consistent. You want to make sure that you stay in the market as long as possible. That’s where the power of compounding comes in. Here’s an example of how compounding can make you rich:
If you start investing $2,000 a year in the S&P at age 19 and stop at the age of 24, you will have only invested $10,000. However, that money will compound at an average of 9% and give you over $1,000,000 by the age of 65.
Stay consistent and stay in the market and you will be surprised by your returns.
So, to summarize the 10 steps to investing in the stock market with a low income are:
- Save every month
- Start with buying fractional shares
- Consider ETFs
- Open a retirement account
- Have long term goals
- Consider a side hustle
- Avoid risky stocks
- Sell stuff that you don’t use
- Think beyond stocks
- Stay consistent
Start small and dream big
Investing isn’t exclusively a rich person’s game. You can start with a few dollars and gain an extraordinary amount of money. Just remember to be consistent with your investing and stay in the market as long as possible. If a gas station attendant can become rich in the stock market, so can you!
Which investment strategy appeals the most to you and why? Leave a comment below.