Money
How to invest your first $500,-

How to invest your first $500,-

Starting investing can be challenging. When you have just saved up some money it is hard to choose what to start with. In this article, I give my view on how you could invest your first $500,-.

* The topic of this post is in dollars but of course these tips could be implemented if your currency is euro, pound, yen, or any other currency.

Invest in yourself 

When your finances are still limited your money has the most impact if you invest it in yourself. This definitely counts for the younger readers. I highly believe in the fact that if you want to earn more money, investing in yourself and learning should be very important. Building expertise often comes with either a nice pay raise or the ability to do things (that can be monetized) that weren’t possible before. Therefore, always keep learning! Try things out and grow in your career and personal life. By investing in yourself you can unlock your full potential. Below are some examples of how you could invest in yourself. Of course, there are many other possibilities as well so don’t feel limited to just these.

Books

Books are a great way to invest in yourself. In this day and age, there are so many books, on paper as well as ebooks, with great information. Whilst reading (non-fiction), you won’t only learn about the topic you are reading about but you will also enhance your reading skills. This on its own is already so important, since in most jobs reading is required. Not only will you improve in the understanding of the text you will also improve your reading speed, and your ability to detect the important sections of a text. 

So I highly support spending at least a bit of your first $500 on books. Some books which I have recently read and inspired me are:

The power of habit by Charles Duhigg
Show your work by Austin Kleon (will be posted soon)
Atomic Habits by James Clear
Rich dad, poor dad by Robert Kiyosaki (will be posted soon)

Classes or courses 

Classes and courses can also be an amazing source of information and therefore an amazing way to invest in yourself. The great thing about classes and courses is that they are often available online. Meaning it will be easier to attend to them since you can literally join from anywhere. Do keep in mind that this does come with a downside as well. It is great to meet like-minded people face-to-face, when classes and courses are online it is oftentimes harder to connect to your class or course mates than it would be at a location-based event. Luckily nowadays many classes and courses have both options available so you can decide yourself. 

I myself am currently learning Python from Zero to mastery which I really enjoy (check out the post here). With classes and courses, it is advisable to do some more extensive research before joining, since the prices of these could be a little higher. 

Some great websites offering online classes and courses:

https://www.coursera.org/
https://www.skillshare.com/
https://www.udemy.com/
https://skillshop.withgoogle.com/

Seminars, workshops, and conferences

Seminars, workshops, and conferences can be great opportunities to learn about certain topics whilst meeting like-minded people. However, most seminars, workshops, and conferences are location-bound and thus currently canceled due to Covid-19.

Note when investing in yourself 

Be aware that a lot of information is free online so don’t spend too much money and do your research. There is definitely a benefit of having the information collected and organized for you so don’t entirely write off classes and courses. Just be wise with your money. 

Start a business 

With some available money, it is also a great idea to start your own business. Have you always had a hobby or great business idea but just did not have the money to execute it? This could be the time. Of course, for some business ideas more than $500,- will be needed, however, you can still make a start. Figure out what you can do to set the first step in your entrepreneurial plans. Just make sure it is something you love doing. 

When starting a business you should consider a few things: make sure you know the market and conduct some market research, write a business plan (not always needed but can be insightful), decide what type of location your business needs and if this is affordable, pick a business structure (LLC, CORP, or any other) make sure you protect yourself, register your business at federal or state government (depending on the country).

Some great sources of information when starting out:

The Netherlands: How to start a business in the Netherlands – a checklist

US: Small Business Administration

Canada: Starting a business – Canada.ca

Index funds

There are many different ways of investing your money. But when your finances are still limited index funds could be interesting. By investing in index funds you won’t be investing in one company but in all sorts of different companies (the selection depends on the specific index fund). This also means that if one of the companies performs poorly this will have a limited effect on the stock because there are many more companies in that specific stock. Furthermore, most index funds are passively managed. Meaning that the fees for these types of stocks are generally lower than actively managed stocks. 

Besides index funds investing in individual stocks. However, reports suggest that oftentimes index funds outperform actively managed (individual) stocks.

*To ensure that investing in index funds is something that works for you consult with a CPA or financial advisor first. Also know the risks of investing, it is possible to lose money in the stock market.

Brokerages

There are many different brokerages available nowadays. This is also depending on the country you live in. After checking the reliability and other basic factors, the most important thing is to look at are the fees that you pay when trading. These will have a direct effect on how much money you make in the stock market. 

Stockbrockers.com checked out the most popular brokerages internationally and per country. You can check out their post here.

Since I am located in the Netherlands I am using DeGiro as a brokerage. For all the Dutch people interested in investing I can highly recommend this brokerage. You can check them out using this link

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