An extra $1,000 can be a strong starting point for building wealth, or can give an existing portfolio a boost. Whether you use your money to amplify your current plan or to explore other ways to invest, you have plenty of flexibility. Wondering where to invest $1,000 right now? Here are nine investment options that offer a diverse range of exposure and risk to help you achieve your goals.
When you buy a stock, you’re essentially buying a share of ownership in a company, which gives you access to the upside or downside of the business. There are two primary ways to buy stocks:
- Brokerage accounts give you the control to start researching companies listed on the major stock exchanges, transfer money online from your financial institution, purchase shares of public companies when you want, and keep track of your investments. With a brokerage account, you’ll take a DIY approach to investing, which means you’re responsible for choosing your own stocks.
- Managed investment accounts are owned by investors but managed by someone else, typically a financial expert. While managed investment accounts have historically been exclusive to high-net-worth investors, Titan is a new-guard investment platform bringing this style of premier investment management to everyone.
ETFs are a pooled form of investment that is designed to track an index, sector, or commodity. They’re traded like stocks, so you can research each ETF’s historical performance. ETFs can include hundreds of stocks. If a few companies perform poorly, experts believe your exposure will be more limited than if you had put all your cash in one pick. There is, however, still the same level of risk as any stock market investment. Experts advise researching the best ETFs for your portfolio and risk tolerance.
You can buy ETFs directly from your brokerage account, or you can invest in a managed account or robo-advisor account that will buy ETFs on your behalf.
3. 401(k) or IRA
401(k)s and IRAs are investment vehicles, not actual investments. These tax-deferred accounts are designed for retirement savings—meaning that the money you invest in these accounts is off-limits until you’re at least 59 ½ years old, with a few exceptions.
A 401(k) is typically offered through your employer. An employee designates a certain percentage of their salary to flow directly into that account before any taxes are paid on that money. An IRA is a type of tax-deferred account that isn't tied to an employer. You can set up an IRA with a bank, a life insurance company, or a brokerage.
Each of these accounts come with annual contribution limits, so experts advise checking your current contribution levels to make sure you’re eligible to add more.
When you invest via a 401(k) or traditional IRA, you can experience tax advantages:
- You can deduct the money you invest in these accounts from your yearly income, which can lower your tax bill today. In that way, these accounts help reduce your taxes over the course of your lifetime.
- You won’t pay taxes on any investment gains you make in these accounts until you withdraw during retirement. This could help you accumulate more money, faster.
You can also invest the extra $1,000 in a Roth IRA. You can’t deduct the contribution from your taxes this year, but you won’t have to pay taxes on any gains, and you won’t pay taxes on that money when you withdraw it, either. To open and contribute to a Roth IRA, you must meet the following income requirements:
- Single taxpayers: less than $125,000 for maximum contribution
- Married filing jointly: less than $198,000 for maximum contribution
You may still qualify to make smaller contributions if your income is less than $140,000 for single filers and less than $208,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly.
Cryptocurrency is a form of digital currency. There are hundreds of different types of cryptocurrencies, each with their own valuations. Bitcoin is the most widely known (and expensive) form of cryptocurrency.
Investing in cryptocurrency can help you diversify your portfolio beyond the stock market, since its performance isn’t tied to traditional markets. The crypto market is, however, known for volatility, and requires some expertise to navigate, as each crypto has its own structure of how and when new coins may be produced.
You can buy crypto through a managed investment account, brokerage account, or through a crypto exchange. With a brokerage account, you’re typically required to leave the digital currency in your account. With a crypto exchange, you can hold your currency in a crypto wallet, which offers more security.
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5. Peer-to-peer lending
Peer-to-peer (P2P) investings allows you to lend money directly to consumers or businesses through online platforms. You then earn interest from their loan repayments, in addition to earning back your principal. The level of risk depends on the loan applicant. The lending platform will assign each potential loan a credit-risk rating so you can pick and choose how much you want to invest in each category.
The higher the risk, the higher interest you’ll receive on the loan. The downside is that P2P loans are typically unsecured. If a borrower defaults, you have no recourse to get your money back. Rather than putting your entire $1,000 into one personal loan, you may spread it across multiple loans to lower your risk. Experts say you could also compare multiple P2P lending platforms for their average default rate.
6. Real estate funds
It can be expensive and time consuming to purchase and manage your own income property. Instead, you could use your $1,000 to invest in a real estate investment trust (or REIT). You can choose between a traditional REIT or an eREIT.
- Traditional REITs: These are publicly traded funds. REITs are required to pay investors 90% of their taxable income each year. Additionally, they’re eligible for the 20% pass-through deduction. So while you’ll pay income tax, the returns aren’t taxed at the corporate level, leaving more earnings to pass on to investors.
- eREITs: An eREIT is a type of REIT that is not publicly traded but allows investors to participate with a low barrier to entry. The structure of each eREIT varies by company, so experts advise researching what you’re buying into. Additionally, dividends are not guaranteed with an eREIT so you may not see regular returns—especially if the company decides to reinvest in new properties. They’re also much less liquid with no guarantee of redeeming shares.
As with any investment, all types of REITs can be volatile. For instance, commercial real estate has suffered greatly from lockdowns during COVID-19. Fees can also vary depending on the REIT.
7. High-yield savings account
With a high-yield savings account you will get an interest rate that is significantly lower than the potential gains you could make from other investments, but your cash will be federally insured and your money will be liquid. Any time you want to use the money, you can make withdrawals.
There are some important features to compare when evaluating high-yield savings accounts. These include:
- Minimum opening deposit
- Monthly service fee
- Annual percentage yield (APY)
You may be able to earn a cash bonus by meeting certain requirements, like maintaining a specific minimum balance or enrolling in direct deposit.
8. CD ladder
A CD ladder lets you spread out your $1,000 investment across multiple certificates of deposit, each with a different maturity date. The goal is to earn better fixed interest rates while still keeping a portion of the cash available.
CDs come with fixed rates, so you’re locked in whether savings rates rise or fall. Terms last anywhere from a few months up to five years at most banks. You’ll incur a penalty if you withdraw funds early, which is why some people opt for a CD ladder. You can spread out your money over terms of different intervals, such as:
- $200 in a one-year CD
- $200 in a two-year CD
- $200 in a three-year CD
- $200 in a four-year CD
- $200 in a five-year CD
When one CD term ends, you would then reinvest it in a five-year CD to get the higher rate. By the time your original five-year CD matures, you’ll be on a schedule that has each five-year CD maturing every year. You can then either reinvest to keep the ladder going, or withdraw the money.
A robo-advisor is a digital investment tool that automates portfolio management for taxable brokerage accounts and tax-deferred retirement accounts. Your target asset allocation is determined by your current financial situation and your future goals. Algorithms are built by economists and financial advisers to tailor investment decisions to an individual’s financial status and future goals.
Remember: Algorithms don’t eliminate risk. You’ll also likely pay a small percentage of your assets under management in robo-advisor fees.