While you can technically invest any amount of money, many people only seriously consider investing their money when they have at least a thousand to spare.
If you've hit that 1k benchmark, you invest wisely and have some patience; you can grow your thousand into another thousand and beyond. Here are our top five suggestions for investing a thousand dollars.
Open a Savings Account
If $1000 is still a pretty significant chunk of money for you that you'll need to access quickly and easily in the future, a savings account is a safe, reliable investment option. You can open a savings account at a traditional brick and mortar bank, but an FDIC insured online savings account will offer you better interest rates in most cases. Citizens access offers a 2.35% and is a great place to start.
Buy an Exchange-Traded Fund
An ETF is a marketable security that tracks a stock index, a commodity, bonds, or a basket of assets. Bought and sold on public exchanges, the money you make from ETF's are typically taxed significantly less than other investors are for their capital gains. If you invest in a passive ETF, you also can probably avoid the high administrative fees and management costs that come with mutual funds.
Let Robots Invest For You
Robo-advisors operate much like human advisors, for a fraction of the cost. They take some of the best investing strategies and use artificial intelligence to implement them, giving you an actively managed investment portfolio with very little work on your end. The two most popular robo investor options are Betterment and M1 Finance.
Get a Certificate of Deposit
A certificate of deposit operates as a high yield savings account. This is another very safe option, as you'll know your money is safe and secure and FDIC insured as you get some pretty decent returns. The important difference between this and a regular savings account is that you won't have easy, quick access to your money, but if you're willing to be patient, this can be a great option.
Invest in Bonds
While investing in bonds alone won't give you huge returns, they're a great option for diversifying your portfolio. There are lots of options for people who aren't up for high risk, such as Treasury bonds, savings bonds, and floating-rate notes (FRNs). The good news is $1000 goes a long way in bond investments.
Peer to Peer Lending
If you aren't familiar with the concept, peer to peer lending is best explained as crowdfunding a loan and then benefitting from the interest (along with all the other people who invested). This is easier than ever with services like Lending Club, where you can easily diversify your investments and gain higher interest on higher risk borrowers, reducing your own financial risk.
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Whether you are looking for a new job or trying to grow in your current one, getting a certification can be a great way to improve your skills.
Anyone can put that they are proficient in a computer program on their resume but having a certificate can help you stand out amongst the competition and give credence to the strength of your skills.
But what's the best way to invest in yourself without breaking the bank? Some certification programs can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. We are going to walk through six of the best certifications you can get for $100 or less.
Who is it best for: Those who work with analyzing and presenting data.
Cost: $100 for Tableau Desktop Specialist; additional certifications are available for a larger fee.
More companies than ever see themselves as data companies. Being able to understand data and use it to guide decisions at your company is often critical to taking on a leadership role. Not to mention, being able to present the data in a clean, attractive, and compelling way can help get buy-in from others in your organization or clients. That's why Tableau is a great tool to have in your toolbox.
Tableau allows you to create interactive visual analytics dashboards. In layman's terms, you can take data; create graphs, maps, or charts; and then allow end-users to interact with these graphics to better understand the information. It's a fantastic tool allowing non-technical users to gain insights for data-driven decision-making.
Tableau Desktop Specialist certification starts at $100 and has no expiration date. There are many videos on Tableau's site to prepare for your exam as well as Tableau Starter Kits allowing you to play around and learn the different capabilities of the program. Tableau offers a 14-day free trial as well as free license for one year for students.
Additional certifications after Desktop Specialist are Desktop Associate and Desktop Professional. Those working with a Tableau server may also be interested in a separate certification as a Server Associate or Server Professional.
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When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.
A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.
One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.
The Federal Reserve
The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.
This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.
The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.
Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.