How I’ve Been Working to Increase My Investment
A few years ago, I made it a goal to learn more about investing and really make an effort to invest more of my money. Well, while I’ve had some great successes since — including my wife and I both maxing out our IRAs on an annual basis — I’ll admit that I haven’t been steadily contributing to my Vanguard account as I originally envisioned. So, recently, I’ve been revisiting the idea that I ought to be investing more and found some small ways to do just that.
2 Small Ways I’ve Been Making a Big Difference in My Investments
Making the most of “found money”
Whether you want to call it “found money,” “house money,” or just “money you didn’t really earn,” these types of funds are ripe for investing.
In my case, I recently closed out an account I had with an app called Bumped that allowed me to earn bits of stock when I shopped with certain brands. Well, really, it wasn’t my decision to close it out as the service sadly shut down. It also proved to be a pain to get that money — but that’s a different story. Anyway, when I was finally able to claim my money, I moved it over to Robinhood. My plan from there was to simply transfer it to one of my savings accounts. Instead, however, I figured I should use my brokerage account as a, you know, brokerage account. Thus, just today, I took my $250 and bought shares of $VOO (Vanguard 500 Index Fund ETF).
Another option I’ve been considering involves credit cards. In my mind, tapping the cashback you earn from credit cards and using it to invest seems like a stellar idea… even if I haven’t done it yet. In my defense, one issue I have currently is that my biggest credit card point balance is with American Express and turning those points into cash would mean settling for a 0.8¢ per point valuation (which is what I’d earn by transferring to my American Express Rewards Checking).
On that note, if you like the idea of using credit card rewards to invest, then there’s actually a pretty solid option: Platinum Card from American Express for Charles Schwab. This card has all of the awesome benefits of my beloved Platinum Card but adds the ability to transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to your Schwab account at a rate of 1.1¢ per point. Sadly, that’s decreased from the former 1.25¢ per point, but it could still be a good option.
The bottom line is that, while my first thought is usually to tap my “found money” for splurges, I’m now trying to think of “investment” instead.
Using smart automation
Another way I’ve been adding more to my investments is by having funds from my checking automatically move to my brokerage. Basically, it feels like I’m pilfering from my current self in favor of future me.
Specifically, I’ve continued using the app Oportun — formerly and better known as Digit. Since the last time I updated my review of the app (which I need to do again), I’ve left on its automation and allowed it to deposit funds into an investment account on a near-daily basis. Even though I did eventually go in and cap these daily contributions at $5, that account now has more than $1,400 in it. That’s not too shabby considering that the whole process has been painless to the point where I’ve barely even noticed it was happening.
Even if you don’t want to use an app like Oportun or Acorns, there may still be ways to leverage automation and set up a similar system to help you ramp up your investment little by little.
Alas, my lofty goal of pouring hundreds of dollars a month into a brokerage hasn’t worked out for me. Luckily, though, all hope is not lost. As I’ve found, taking smaller actions means I’ll actually do them! So, for now, I’ll continue tapping my “found money” and using smart automation to build up my brokerage account.