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How to invest $50K

Discover 7 diverse investment ideas for your $50K.

Investing $50,000 is an exciting opportunity to grow your wealth and secure your financial future. Whether you’ve been saving diligently or have come into an unexpected windfall, deciding how to invest a significant sum of money like $50,000 takes careful consideration.

You’ve got plenty of investment options with $50,000 in capital, each with a level of risk and potential returns. Investment opportunities typically grow the more money you have.

Here are seven ways to invest $50,000, how this money can grow over time in different assets and money moves to consider before you invest.

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7 ways to invest $50K

  1. Buy individual stocks
  2. Simplify investing with ETFs
  3. Max out your IRA
  4. Diversify with alternative investments
  5. Build a portfolio of private real estate
  6. Invest in cryptocurrencies
  7. Hire a financial advisor

Who is most likely to be researching how to invest $50k?

Finder data suggests that men aged 35-44 are most likely to be researching this topic.

ResponseMale (%)Female (%)
Source: Finder sample of 595 visitors using demographics data from Google Analytics

1. Buy individual stocks

Most people can’t beat the market when it comes to investing and are better off investing in ETFs, but you may choose to invest a portion of your $50K in individual stocks of companies.

Stocks are considered to offer the greatest potential for growth over the long term. Historically, the stock market has delivered annual returns of about 10% — 7% or so after inflation. If you’re willing to take on more risk, spend time researching companies or don’t want exposure to certain stocks that may be included in an ETF, there may be a place in your portfolio for investing in individual stocks.


  • Great performance over time. The average annual return of the stock market is around 10% historically. Dividend stocks provide the added benefit of income.
  • Variety of options. More than 4,500 companies are listed on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, from small-cap companies to large blue-chip stocks.
  • Fractional shares. Trade stocks for as little as $1 with many brokers.
  • High liquidity. Buy or sell most stocks during market hours without limitations.


  • Volatility. Stocks can be volatile — some more than others. If you don’t plan to hold the stock for the long term, you could end up selling for a loss.
  • Stock picking requires time. While you can pick stocks willy-nilly, developing a strategy and performing proper research on companies takes time and effort.

2. Simplify investing with ETFs

Hands-on investors who want to limit risk but still enjoy choosing their own investments may consider a fund-investing strategy — in particular, exchange-traded funds (ETFs). ETFs give you exposure to a basket of stocks, bonds, futures or other assets through pooled investments similar to mutual funds, but with generally lower costs. A single share of an ETF can instantly diversify your portfolio and potentially lower your risk exposure.

ETFs come in many types, but ETFs that match the moves of indexes, such as the S&P 500 or NASDAQ Composite, provide a simple way to invest and gain broad market exposure without requiring much market knowledge.

Examples of popular index ETFs include the SPDR S&P 500 Trust ETF (SPY), which tracks the performance of the S&P 500, and Invesco (QQQ). This ETF tracks the performance of the component stocks of the Nasdaq-100, an index of the largest 100 non-financial stocks listed on the Nasdaq.


  • Variety of investment options. Some funds only hold stocks in particular sectors, like technology and healthcare. Bond ETFs, commodity ETFs, currency ETFs and other types of ETFs are also available.
  • ETFs trade like stocks. Buy and sell ETFs any time during market hours.
  • Convenience. Instead of buying stocks individually, ETFs give you exposure to numerous securities through a single fund.


  • Expense ratio. A type of fund management fee, most ETFs cost less than 1% annually. But this is still a fee you must pay that doesn’t apply to individual stock picking.
  • Lack of control. Though you can choose the ETF, you can’t choose the individual stocks in the fund.

3. Max out your IRA

The IRA is a foundational investment account that offers tax benefits for saving for retirement and should be one of your primary investment accounts until you reach the contribution limit.

Contribute up to $7,000 ($8,000 if you’re age 50 or older) to an individual retirement account (IRA) in 2024.

IRAs are versatile investment accounts in that they let you invest in everything from stocks and bonds to exchange-traded funds (ETFs), options and futures, all while offering tax benefits for saving. Meanwhile, self-directed IRAs let you diversify your retirement savings with alternative assets, including real estate, gold, cryptocurrencies and pretty much every other investable asset that exists.

The best IRAs offer plentiful investment options, low costs and fees and a trading platform suitable for your experience and needs as an investor.


  • Tax benefits. Pay taxes on your contributions now with a traditional IRA or in retirement with a Roth IRA.
  • Matching contributions. While matching contributions have typically been reserved for 401(k) accounts, Robinhood offers a match on up to 3% of all contributions if you subscribe to Robinhood Gold.
  • Trade most assets in an IRA. Federal law permits most investments in an IRA, which gives you great flexibility in how you invest your money.


  • Withdrawal penalties. Withdraw your funds before you reach age 59 and a half and you’ll pay a 10% early-withdrawal penalty.
  • Deposit limitations. IRA contributions max out at $7,000 in 2024.
  • Income limitations. You cannot contribute to a Roth IRA if your modified adjusted gross income exceeds $240,000 for married couples filing jointly.

4. Diversify with alternative assets

Alternative assets are those outside traditional stocks, bonds, ETFs or mutual funds and include things like real estate, private equity and fine art, among other things. In addition to the potential for outsized returns, alternative assets bring diversity to one’s portfolio. And since many alternatives offer low correlation to traditional markets, they can help reduce overall portfolio risk.

Today’s investing platforms make it incredibly easy to diversify your portfolio with alternative assets. Both Fidelity Investments and Interactive Brokers, for instance, offer precious metals investing. Meanwhile, investing app Public offers a growing list of alternative assets, including cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), fine art and collectibles.


  • High return potential. Alternatives carry more risk but also have the potential for strong returns.
  • Portfolio diversification. Diversify your portfolio beyond traditional investments, such as stocks, bonds, ETFs and mutual funds.
  • Generally uncorrelated to the stock market. Many alternatives move without relation to the stock market, which can help reduce portfolio risk.


  • May be illiquid and difficult to sell. Many alternatives have lock-up periods, which prevent you from selling for a certain time. And a lack of a secondary market can make it difficult to find a buyer for certain assets.
  • Can be highly volatile. Certain alternative investments can be extremely volatile. The value of certain cryptos, for instance, can change dramatically and unexpectedly.

5. Build a portfolio of private real estate

You no longer have to buy physical property yourself to invest in real estate. Crowdfunding platforms like Fundrise, Yieldstreet, RealtyMogul and Ark7 have brought real estate investing to the masses with user-friendly platforms that let you invest in private real estate with just a few clicks. And with much less upfront capital.

These platforms typically offer fractional investments in private real estate investment trusts (REITs) and single real estate projects. REITs are companies that invest in income-producing real estate such as office buildings, shopping malls, hotels, resorts and apartment complexes, all without the burden of having to physically own and manage the property.


  • Earn rental income. REITs are required to distribute 90% or more of their taxable profits to shareholders in the form of dividends.(2)
  • Capital appreciation. Equity ownership in property lets you profit from property appreciation when the property sells.


  • High taxes. Depending on your tax bracket, you could pay as high as 37% for REIT’s dividend payments.
  • Low liquidity. Privately-held REITs inherently come with lower liquidity, so selling your investment whenever you want could be hard.

6. Invest in cryptocurrencies

Crypto is a high-risk, high-reward asset class that continues to grow in popularity. First launched in 2009, Bitcoin is the face of crypto worldwide, with a level of popularity that drove the value of its coin through the roof — from a value of $0.0009 per Bitcoin in October 2009 with the first Bitcoin transaction to a peak of over $68,000 per coin in November 2021.

Unlike just about any other asset class, crypto trades 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. And while its price has pulled back dramatically from its high, Finder’s expert panel expects Bitcoin to exceed $100,000 per coin by 2025.


  • Potentially high returns. The global crypto market cap is around $1.17 trillion as of August 2023, according to CoinMarketCap, which is less than half the $2.8 trillion market cap of Apple (AAPL). If cryptocurrencies become mainstream in the future, the growth potential is could be significant.
  • 24/7 trading. Cryptocurrencies trade 24/7, meaning you can buy or sell whenever you want.
  • Strong market infrastructure. Lend out or stake the most popular cryptocurrencies, which lets you earn income.


  • Volatile. Don’t be surprised if your crypto portfolio sees major swings to the upside and down. Because the crypto market is smaller than the stock market, it can be more easily affected by large amounts of money entering and exiting the market.
  • Variety of risks. The crypto market is mostly unregulated, which comes with risks such as exchange collapses and scams. If you’re not using a hardware wallet or you forget your private keys, you risk losing your cryptocurrencies.

7. Hire a financial advisor

Fifty thousand dollars isn’t chump change and may be best left in the hands of a professional with expertise in various aspects of investing, especially if you don’t have the time or interest to manage your own investments. Even if you don’t want to outsource portfolio management entirely, an advisor’s knowledge can help you make informed decisions and navigate the different markets.

Financial advisors get to know you and your goals and how much risk you’re willing to take. They build a personalized, holistic financial plan tailored specifically to you. Advisors of this sort typically charge a one-time planning fee or annual management fees if they manage your portfolio on an ongoing basis. This fee is typically between 0.5% and 2%.(1)

If you want to outsource the management of your $50K portfolio, you may consider hiring a trusted financial advisor.


  • Great for hands-off investors. Let a professional build and manage your portfolio based on your specific needs, goals and nuances of your situation.
  • Saves you time. Financial advisors help investors without the time or interest to manage their portfolios. Otherwise, you need to research investments yourself and stay on top of market news.


  • Fees can add up. You’ll pay that 1% annual advisory fee no matter how your portfolio performs. For $50K, that’s $500 a year.
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How $50,000 can grow

With $50,000, you can start building serious wealth with smart decisions and enough time. Here’s how it might grow in three common investment classes.

$50,000 saved or investedHigh-yield savings accountBondsStocks
1 year$52,350$52,550$53,500
5 years$62,908$64,119$70,128
10 years$79,147$82,224$98,358
15 years$99,580$105,441$137,952
20 years$125,286$135,215$193,484
25 years$157,629$173,396$271,372
30 years$198,322$222,357$380,613

For this table, we assumed:

  • An APY of 4.70%, based on the average APYs of 20 high-yield savings accounts, as of May 2024.
  • An average bond return of 5.1%, based on Vanguard’s historical return data.
  • A 7% return on stocks, based on the market’s average long-term annual return after inflation.
  • No additional contributions.

Bond returns vary widely based on bond types, and the stock market has down years while individual stocks can go to zero. So consider these as benchmarks only and consider risk as well as return.

3 money moves to consider before you invest $50,000

  1. Pay off your debt. If you’re paying more in interest on your debt than you will likely earn on your investments, you’re losing money. Consider paying off your debt first.
  2. Create an emergency fund. An emergency fund can provide a cushion if you lose your primary source of income. Experts recommend saving at least three-to-six months’ worth of essential expenses.
  3. Save for other goals. With interest rates as high as they are, now could be a good time to put aside some money for other savings goals, whether that’s a vacation, a new car or an addition on your house.

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Frequently asked questions

What should you invest $50,000 in?

What you should invest $50,000 in depends on your time frame and risk tolerance. Investors typically turn to bonds and other fixed-income products for reliable returns, while stocks can provide higher returns but with more risk.

How much interest will $50,000 earn in a year?

How much interest $50,000 earns in a year depends on where you invest the money and that investment’s rate of return. If you invest your $50,000 in a bond that earns 5.1% in yearly interest, you can expect $2,550 in interest in a year.

How can I turn $50K into more money?

While there’s no guarantee, you can typically turn $50K into more money by saving and investing.

How to create passive income with $50K?

One way to create passive income with $50K is to invest in income-producing assets, such as dividend stocks and real estate.

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