When we asked what content you guys would like see we got an overwhelming response on how to navigate the world of investing with little money. There is a popular misconception that you have to be filthy rich, own white suit and a Swiss watch in order to invest. Well, newsflash - you don’t. We’re not! We do it, and we are about to tell you how we do it. NB: This is simply how we, the gals at Fempire Finance invest with the little money we have. It’s not financial advice whatsoever.
We’re tired of financial media and popular culture only portraying investing as an activity made for the rich. Truth is. You don’t need a lot of money to start investing. But we must admit there isn’t a lot out of content there showing us otherwise. The principle of investing is to multiply your money and come out the end with more that you started with. NB: Please remember the value of your investments can go down as well as up, and you could get back less than invested.
But theoretically, that principle is open to anyone.
We want to stress that there are no get rich quick schemes with investing. It's all about educating yourself, keeping your head above the water and remembering that when you invest, your capital is at risk.
So lets imagine we have £50, what do we do with it? To buy stocks, a broker needs to be involved. This is a professional person or digital platform who handles the transactions of stocks for you. They can come in many forms, we're going to cover 4.
1. A full-service broker
2. A online broker
3. A robo-advisor
So, let's begin....
A full-service broker manages investment transactions and provides advice for a fee.
1. Full service brokers tend to be highly trained, skilful, and experienced professionals who have the expertise to serve the best interests. They are legally allowed to advise and recommend stocks and funds that are suitable.
2. Hiring a full-service broker does not require a lot of time, skill, or interest from our side. Their job is to research companies and keep an eye on the stock market.
3. A personalised service. They help examine our financial situation and develop a custom plan. Additional services may include helping to understand other elements of finances such as; insurance, or tax relating to our investments and the overall financial picture.
1. With any help, there’s a fee. The price tag for a full service broker may be costly due to the transaction costs.
2. As the cost of using a full brokers service may be high, there may also be a screening process which might require higher minimum investments.
3. Remember, brokers are sales people too. They may sell investment products that are more profitable for their interests i.e. earning a commission (this is something called Churning, which is buying and selling stocks for the sole purpose of generating commissions) This is something we always look out for.
An online broker
1. Lower Fees. There are reduced transaction costs involved in trading using an online broker.
2. It’s immediate. With online trading, we can execute a trade almost immediately, with the option to monitor investments in real time. There is need to schedule a physical meeting within the 9-5 hours or over the phone.
3. You avoid Brokerage Bias (i.e. brokers acting in their own interest) Remember when we spoke about brokers potentially making moves to suit their own interests i.e. earning a commission. Well this can be eliminated with an online broker. You can also avoid the personality differences of having to deal with a 50 year old man (because, let's be honest that’s the demographic of most full service brokers)
4. An impressive suite of tools to help get the best out of your online trading. Don’t you just love technology?
1. There is no-one to personally advise us. We don’t have don’t have a professional person to help navigate the uncertain waters of the investing market. And sometimes, we all need someone to guide us. A fully fleshed stock broker does all the research that can be useful in the early stages in investing.
2. Access to good Internet connection is imperative. If the internet connection is too slow or is interrupted, you can lose out on a potentially important or lucrative trade. Although technology is great, buying errors can occur with due to computer mishaps.
Again, a low cost service. Robo-advisors provide financial advice with moderate to minimal human intervention as they are based on mathematical rules, algorithms or replicate someone else's investment activity.
We are cautious that there has been a lot of controversy around robo-advisor schemes, it’s so easy to get carried away, so we would like to reiterate 3 key values; Understand What You're Doing, Educate Yourself and Keep Afloat. Examples of robo-advisors include: Betterment, Wealthfront and Merrill Edge Guided Investing
A lot of the benefits of robo-advisors are similar to those of online brokers, they’re often cheaper, easier, and there are a lot of options out there.
1. It should be noted that these apps aren’t humans (no kidding) but similar to all humans, these apps have certain limitations.
2. It’s hard to get a handle on your overall financial situation. With a focus on just investments, it’s safe to say robo-advisors do not give the full picture and go into topics such as as managing debt or building an emergency fund that we might expect from a full service broker.
3. You don’t get personal advice. As they’re are not people, they don’t give personal advice, which is sometimes appreciated as investing is a Rocky Mountain to climb (with lots of ups and downs)
Crowdfunding is a way we help companies (usually start ups) raise money.
How does it work?
Well, individuals or organisations (we) invest in crowdfunding projects to develop the investments for a stake in a growing company. We can get shares in start up companies for a matter of pounds. A company which we use to crowdfund is called is Crowdcube
Again, low cost, easy to use and being fully in control of choices are the main advantages.
1. Crowdfunded Investments Are Transparent. When we invest in a start up, we get to know the ins and outs of how the company operates, their growth trajectory and feel like a significant part of the company from early on.
2. Avoid market volatility
Crowdfunding investments aren’t linked to the stock exchange (until they float on the stock market). Which can be good as it means that our investment isn’t heavily dependent on instability or volatility of market variations and economic events.
1. Returns aren’t guaranteed due to the nature of of start ups.
It must be remembered that with investing, your capital is at risk. It can go up or down. But with crowdfunding, let’s not forget that these companies are in their start up stage and statistically a higher number of start ups fail when compared to established businesses.
2. Crowdfunding can be a waiting game
We usually invest in the early stages of a start up, so it can be quite a while until they are making any real profits, taking months or even years to get any traction.
*This post does not constitute as investment advice and remember you invest at your own risk.