We invest a lot. It’s an important way to grow your money and prepare for your retirement one day.
But is it dangerous to be too obsessed with the stock market?
You bet it is. Our financial advice columnist, Dear Penny, recently heard of a reader whose husband stopped funding his 401(k) so he could bet on the stock market instead.
Is it normal that he stopped contributing to his 401(k) so he could trade stocks? asked the reader. How to ask him what he really invests in? I’m afraid he’s gambling the money we need for our retirement.
This is not the way to go. Here are five safer ways to invest and grow your money.
1. Invest regularly like a normal person
Instead of betting all your money on the stock market, invest in it regularly. Take the long term. 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 yet and you have some spare cash, you can start small. Investing doesn’t require you to throw thousands of dollars at full stocks. In fact, you can start with as little as $1.*
We like Stash, as it lets you choose from hundreds of stocks and funds to build your own investment portfolio. But it keeps things simple by breaking it down into categories based on your personal goals. Do you want to invest prudently now? Totally understood! Do you want to dive with moderate or aggressive risk? Do what you feel.
Plus, with Stash, you can invest in fractional shares, which means you can invest in funds you wouldn’t normally be able to afford.
If you register now (takes two minutes), Stash will give you $5 after adding $5 to your investment account. Subscription plans start at $1 per month.**
2. Make your money grow faster – without risking anything
Save some of your money somewhere safer than the stock market, but where you’ll still make money.
Here’s the thing: if you don’t use Aspiration’s debit card, you’re missing out on extra money. And who doesn’t want extra cash right now?
Yeah. When you register for a debit card called Aspirationyou can get up to 5% off when you swipe at select stores. Plus, they offer you up to 50 times the normal national interest rate on your savings balance.
This is great for earning extra cash for things that are already on your shopping list. You were going to buy these things anyway – why not get that extra cash in the process?
This card had a huge waiting list, but now you can join for free.
Just enter your email address here and link your bank account to see how much extra money you can get with your free Aspiration account. And don’t worry. Your money is FDIC insured and under military grade encryption. It’s nerd language for “it’s totally safe”.
3. Ask This Website to Help You Pay Your Credit Card Bill This Month
No, like… the whole bill. All.
While you’re stressed about your debt, your credit card company is getting rich on these crazy interest rates. But a website called Fiona could help you pay that bill tomorrow.
Here’s how it works: Fiona can match you with a low-interest loan that you can use to pay off every credit card balance you have. Earnings? You only have one bill to pay each month, and since the interest rate is much lower, you can get out of debt much faster. Also, no credit card payments this month.
If your credit score is at least 620, Fiona can help you borrow up to $250,000 (no collateral required) with fixed rates starting at 2.49% and terms from 6 to 144 months.
Fiona won’t make you wait in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free check online. It only takes two minutes and could save you thousands of dollars. Really worth it.
All that credit card debt — and the anxiety that comes with it — could be gone by tomorrow.
4. See if you can reduce your car insurance by up to $500/year* in 2 minutes
When was the last time you compared auto insurance rates? Chances are you are paying too much with your current policy.
If more than six months have passed since your last auto insurance quote, you should look again.
And if you browse a website called protectedyou could save up to $500 per year.
Some questions only take two minutes to answer, and Pretected’s smart matching technology will show you the best insurance companies for you. And don’t worry – Pretected uses advanced data security and encryption technology, so all your information is safe.
The website is free and can even save you up to an additional 20% if you add another vehicle to your policy. That’s a good amount of money to put back in your pocket!
Millions of Americans have already used Pretected’s smart matching technology to find affordable car insurance. See how much money you could save with a new policy.
*average spend $88/month
5. Add $225 to your wallet just to watch the news
Here’s a surefire way to earn some cash on the side.
We live in historical times and we are all constantly refreshing for the latest news updates. You probably know more than one news junkie who thinks they’re a respiratory disease expert or a political mastermind.
And search companies want to pay you to keep looking. You can add up to $225 per month to your pocket by signing up for a free account with InboxDollars. They’ll show you short snippets of news each day, then ask you a few questions about them.
Just answer honestly, and InboxDollars will continue to pay you every month. It may sound too good to be true, but it has already paid out over $56 million to its users.
It takes about a minute to register, and start getting paid to watch the news.
Mike Brassfield ([email protected]listen)) is a lead writer for The Penny Hoarder. He tries not to be obsessed with the stock market.
*For securities priced above $1,000, purchasing fractional shares starts at $0.05.
**You will also bear standard fees and expenses reflected in the ETF pricing on your account, as well as fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the Custodian.
Aspiration Spend & Save accounts are cash management accounts offered by Aspiration Financial, LLC, a registered broker-dealer, member FINRA/SIPC and an affiliate of Aspiration Partners, Inc. (“Aspiration”). Aspiration is not a bank.