Wealth management in the traditional sense has been for people who have a net worth of one million plus, or have at least $500,000 to invest. So what’s a non-millionaire to do in order to manage their money like one?
Following are some ideas to help you take advantage of what’s out there, along with options available for getting help making intelligent financial decisions, without paying out-of-reach fees.
A savings account is great for emergency or short-term needs, but unless you invest in the stock market, chances are you’ll be leaving money on the table. You don’t need thousands of dollars to get in. Be patient; there will be fluctuations over time. The stock market’s long-term average rate of return is about 10 percent—better than a savings account or CD.
Traditional Firms with Low-Minimum Options
Big, well-known brokerages and investment advisors have built their business serving High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI). However, a few of the biggest names have realized that there is a market for more modest investors who need simpler strategies and minimal fees.
New Firms with “Ease-in” Approaches
Since older investment firms have been slow to provide for the newer investor, several more nimble players have jumped in with low-cost, easy-to-understand plans. The fees, minimums and funds vary, but to get oriented to these providers you might check out Folio Investing, FutureAdvisor, Betterment, MarketRiders or Jemstep.
For Millennials who are low on money but adept at smartphone apps, Acorns might be a good choice. Just connect the app to a credit or debit card. When you buy something with that card, Acorns rounds up the amount and invests the difference into a low-cost ETF.
For the DIY Enthusiast
If you want to try managing your wealth on your own, there are plenty of ways to do that. This is where your bank can provide a lot of beneficial support.
Have a retirement plan
If your employer provides a 401K, max out your contribution. If you don’t have an employer-related plan, banks can help you set up a Traditional or Roth IRA.
Have an emergency fund
If you lose your job or suddenly acquire unexpected bills, you’ll want three to 12 months of savings that can keep you going while issues are resolved. Make sure this money is readily available in a savings account or CD—not the stock market. Again, your bank can help here with account options.
Be your own stockbroker
Don’t get fancy. Instead, consider what MotleyFool.com suggests: Do some research, find a few broad-based index funds (those that match the market’s performance), and add to it every year as you can.