I grew up really poor, my parents were terrible with money and I want to make sure now that I have a family of my own that I don't follow the same path and leave nothing but a life of hard work and not a lot of hope for my daughter. I don't have a lot of funds and want to start investing in more than just my 401k but I'm really not sure which option(s) would work best for my family.

We have about 500.00 which we could start investing. Mostly spend our time paycheck to paycheck so extra money is rare for us.

Is there a good rule to follow about what types of investing to focus on with a lower amounts of assets? I've looked into a few things and to be honest my head starts spinning but I'll briefly put in what I've looked into

  • Precious metals, but I don't feel like what I could afford (silver) has enough growth to bother and everything I've found charges way more than what listings show the value at.

  • Robo-advisors didn't sound appealing after hearing ads for STASH but I came across Wealthfront with seemed to have a much better system, I just don't know what kind of return I could hope for from a service like this vs me doing it on my own.

  • High rate savings account, I feel like this is the safest bet but I've been told that it tends to require more than what I have.

  • Mutual funds, my dad father was a freelance insurance salesman (I'm really not sure why but somehow the companies he worked for were connected to mutual funds) and always praised these, but he also fell for 4 money marketing schemes so I've never really trusted his judgment with finances.

  • Personal stock investing, this mostly left me feeling like I was looking at latin, so outside of me trying to invest in a company I know by name that might continue to do well (all of those seem like their shares are insanely expensive for me), I feel like I was just playing really, really long game of roulette waiting for the the ball to drop.

  • ???? I don't know the name of this one, I worked with a guy who was becoming a trader for this type of stock-esque investments, but roughly equated to buying oil or other raw goods that are just sitting on barges out at sea and waiting for the price become good enough to bring inland.

Sorry for the jumble of information, thanks in advance for any helpful tips!

  • Welcome to money.se This question as worded is too broad and opinion based and not fit for this site. A good way is browser questions here and come back with specific questions.
    – Dheer
    Commented Feb 3, 2018 at 3:36
  • A key here is to first adjust your earning and spending so you are not living paycheck to paycheck.
    – Pete B.
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 12:02

2 Answers 2


Mostly spend our time paycheck to paycheck so extra money is rare for us.

If you live paycheck to paycheck, then investing is not for you.

High rate savings account, I feel like this is the safest bet but I've been told that it tends to require more than what I have.

Manifestly false. Many online banks (like Ally, Capital One 360, GS Bank, Synchrony) have a $0 minimum balance requirement, and no fees.

We have about 500.00 which we could start investing.

Start your Emergency Fund with it, in an online bank, so that the next time something unexpected happens, you can (partially or in full) pay for it instead of putting it on your CC.

Which leads to the next point: do you carry balances on your credit cards? If so, then your hair is on fire (because CC debt is so expensive). Ruthlessly find ways to cut spending, build up a $1000 Emergency Fund, and kill that debt ASAP.

  • Thanks RonJohn, currently we have no CC, or debt from one, I do have another 500 currently in the emergency fund and the main reason for our paycheck to paycheck is from poor early life choices ruining our credit (which is almost fixed again, maybe a year before my wife and I have anything besides our car and student loans to pay) and the car we had paid off died beyond hope of repair, we got a new car but at an insanely high rate we had to accept, I've recently did a refinance and plan to again in about 6 months after my credit score goes up from paying off all my collections. Commented Feb 3, 2018 at 4:07
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    I agree with this, investing can be a priority after you have a nice emergency fund and no high-interest debts, and have excess money every month, but getting ~1% on a savings account helps a little in the interim.
    – Hart CO
    Commented Feb 3, 2018 at 4:16
  • Agree with the comments above. Once you do get enough money to start investing, I would keep it simple and start out with low cost index funds (SPY is a low cost one to follow the market). Also, consider dollar cost averaging (investing $x every month) so that you don’t get burned as bad in case of a tipping point.
    – Jack Moody
    Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 1:12

Prior to investing : you need to set en emergency fund. The rules of thumb is to have 6 to 12 month of salary in this found.

Investing : Almost all famous and succesfull investors say that the best investement is in your education. Before internet, you needed to pay to have special course, as today you can find a lot of free informations about investing (book in pdf). There is no easy investing, and the higher the return the higher the risk, so you need be carefull.

Investing take a lot of time ( to understand what you are investing in). If you don't have this time it is best you put the money in the bank with a "normal" rate ( it will depend on the country). If you have time you can start by reading some book, such as :

Rich dad poor dad - to understand to difference between employee and business, very easy to read.

how to grow rich - Napoloeon Hill ( old book but very interesting about the state of mind)

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