I am right now a college student with very little experience investing. I have a little bit of money now that I am looking to invest to increase it. how should I go about this? I have access to stock trading but i was wondering if there is a better or safer way to invest?

Edit: I currently have a steady job to cover all my expenses and then some. I am looking to cash in a modest amount over a few months of an investment of only a few hundred.

closed as too broad by Chris W. Rea, Dheer, JTP - Apologise to Monica Jun 1 '15 at 20:21

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • What time period are you looking at? How much return are you expecting? How much risk are you willing to take? Please edit your question. Thanks – user19894 Jun 1 '15 at 13:52
  • do you have earned income? – mhoran_psprep Jun 1 '15 at 13:55
  • Your question is too broad. A lot of this ground has been covered here before, so please have a look at these similar questions first, and then edit your question if you have something more specific to ask. – Chris W. Rea Jun 1 '15 at 14:04
  • Try educating yourself first in the type of investing you prefer and then possibly doing some virtual trading with virtual money, before loosing your own money. – user9822 Jun 1 '15 at 21:28

If you have wage income that is reported on a W2 form, you can contribute the maximum of your wages, what you can afford, or $5500 in a Roth IRA.

One advantage of this is that the nominal amounts you contribute can always be removed without tax consequences, so a Roth IRA can be a deep emergency fund (i.e., if the choice is $2000 in cash as emergency fund or $2000 in cash in a 2015 Roth IRA contribution, choice 2 gives you more flexibility and optimistic upside at the risk of not being able to draw on interest/gains until you retire or claim losses on your tax return). If you let April 15 2016 pass by without making a Roth IRA contribution, you lose the 2015 limit forever.

If you are presently a student and partially employed, you are most likely in the lowest marginal tax rate you will be in for decades, which utilizes the Roth tax game effectively.

If you're estimating "a few hundred", then what you pick as an investment is going to be less important than making the contributions. That is, you can pick any mutual fund that strikes your fancy and be prepared to gain or lose, call it $50/year (or pick a single stock and be prepared to lose it all). At some point, you need to understand your emotions around volatility, and the only tuition for this school is taking a loss and having the presence of mind to examine any panic responses you may have. No reason not to learn this on "a few hundred". While it's not ideal to have losses in a Roth, "a few hundred" is not consequential in the long run.

If you're not prepared at this time in your life for the possibility of losing it all (or will need the money within a year or few, as your edit suggests), keep it in cash and try to reduce your expenses to contribute more. Can you contribute another $100? You will have more money at the end of the year than investment choice will likely return.

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