How much money do you need to start investing?

It’s a myth that only rich people invest. Find out how much money you need to invest.

Investing makes a lot of people think about high-earning bankers with tailored suits, briefcases and heavy watches, but these days, investing is so accessible that everyone can get involved, with options for just about every budget. A Finder survey in May 2020 found 33% of UK adults owned shares, up from 22% in 2018. Find out how much money you need to start investing, a little bit about fees and what you should consider before you start.

How much do I need to start investing?

£1. That’s my final answer.

A lot of investment providers have a minimum deposit of £1, meaning that for less than the cost of a coffee, you can start investing. Some providers have a higher minimum deposit (and some can be extortionate for a beginner). There are a few things to consider, but this depends on whether you’ve opted for ready-made investments or a DIY strategy.

DIY

With a DIY provider, if you’re investing anything less than £100 it’s worth finding a provider that has a low (or no) minimum deposit and lets you invest in fractional shares. This means that the deposit you’re likely to make is more than the minimum amount and that you can still create a diverse portfolio from fractions of shares.

Here are some of the providers you could go with:

PlatformMinimum initial depositFractional sharesLink to invest
Freetrade logo£1YesInvest now
etoro logo$10YesInvest now
degiro logo£0.01YesInvest now

Ready-made

With ready-made providers, the chances are you can get started with just £1. As you’re putting it into a ready-made portfolio, it’s instantly diversified. You can either set up a direct debit to invest regularly, make one-off payments or choose a round-ups feature that uses Open Banking to round up purchases you make to the nearest pound.

Here are the robo-advisors that let you start with less than £10:

PlatformMinimum initial depositLink to invest
ii logo£0Invest now
HL logo£1Invest now

Beware the investment fees

  • Although some companies let you invest a very little amount, some charge a flat rate to use them. Moneybox and Dodl, for example, charge £1 per month. If you only have a few pounds, this amounts to more than you would likely make from your investment. It does help to have at least a small lump sum to start off.
  • Hargreaves Landown, which offers both robo-advice and share dealing, charges a percentage-based platform fee – it takes 0.45% of the total amount you have invested every year. This means that a low investment only takes a low fee.
  • Consider share dealing fees as well, if you’re going down the DIY route. Aforementioned Hargreaves Lansdown might have a low platform fee, but it costs £11.95 per trade. Freetrade and eToro charge nothing in commission for trades (except for foreign exchange fees).

Can you invest while in debt?

This depends. If you have some expensive debt, like a credit card, an unsecured loan or a payday loan, it’s probably better that you pay off your debt before you begin investing. This is mainly because you’re unlikely to make a profit that matches the interest rate you’re paying on your debt.

What to invest in with less than £100

It’s worth considering what you want to invest in, as this may impact your diversification and the fees you’ll pay. You could buy individual shares, but stockpicking tends to be more expensive than buying financial products such as funds. Someone with not much to invest may instead decide to invest in fractional shares or in a fund, which is a bundle of shares selected by a fund manager.

Other similar products include exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and index funds, which hold shares to match an index (think the FTSE All Share or similar) rather than being picked by a manager. These tend to be cheaper than actively managed funds. Some funds have minimum investments, so you may find your choices limited if you have very little to invest.

How often should I be investing?

This is really up to you – look into how much money you’ve got going spare each month and budget to invest around that every month, preferably getting the money to leave your account by direct debit on the day you’re paid. You can always scale up your contributions when you have more disposable income.

How long should I invest for?

Investing is not an instant-gratification kind of thing. From one day to the next the value of your holdings will rise and fall. You don’t want to have to sell your investments at a bad time and the longer you remain invested the more your returns (capital growth and dividend payouts) will be able to compound.

What’s next?

Choose a platform that has a low minimum deposit and weigh up the potential fees with the features you’ll get in return. You’re not tied into one provider for life, so you can choose one that suits you now and change in the future if you need more features. And as long as you’re aware of the risks and aren’t investing more than you can afford, you have the chance to start growing your portfolio sooner than you may have thought.

All investing should be regarded as longer term. The value of your investments can go up and down, and you may get back less than you invest. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. If you’re not sure which investments are right for you, please seek out a financial adviser. Capital at risk.

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