Investing (whether it’s in stocks, businesses, or even people) can be a great way to earn more money and build wealth. And while there are certainly risks to being an investor, putting your money in the stock market or investing in companies and things that you believe in is definitely better having your cash just sit in a bank earning very little interest.
If you’re thinking about investing but aren’t quite sure where to start, you are certainly not alone. A lot of people out there know that they should start doing more with their money, but are paralyzed with fear, lack of information, or in some cases too much information.
Fortunately, more and more websites that streamline the investment process for users are emerging. If you are a tech-savvy user (and you obviously are, because you’re reading this blog) and you’re considering investing your money, the following websites are great places to start with.
1. Betterment – Best for people who are new to investing, Betterment simplifies the process of investment and asset allocation. This company automatically diversifies and rebalances your assets, so you don’t need to dig into the nitty-gritty details of finance and investing. In other words, no need to pick individual stocks or bonds; Betterment does all the work for you, depending on your goals and risk tolerance.
For example, if you’re very conservative, then Betterment will only invest your money in low-risk bonds. However, if you can afford to take chances, then your money will be invested in higher-risk stocks. Either way, Betterment presents your data in a clear, easy-to-digest dashboard that doesn’t bombard you with numbers and data that you don’t understand.
What’s more, Betterment ensures that your portfolio is diversified, meaning your assets will distributed across various stocks and bonds so you won’t have to worry about losing too much money in case a certain company or industry tanks.
2. Motif Investing – If you’re more interested in investing in a particular industry or idea (i.e. biotech, mobile, social media, etc.) then Motif Investing could be for you. This site allows you invest in motifs—researched and weighted portfolios of up to 30 stocks that reflect trends and investment ideas.
Simply put, Motif allows you to invest in groups of companies that fall under a particular industry, theme, or idea. For example, if you think that the mobile industry will boom in the future, then you can choose to invest in the mobile motif which consists of a number of stocks in the mobile industry, such as Apple, RIM, Verizon, and more.
3. The Lending Club – If you’re not too keen on investing in stocks and bonds, then perhaps you’ll be more comfortable with loaning your money, and getting a return by allowing it to accrue interest. The Lending Club connects lenders with borrowers so that people who need loans can get money, while those who have the cash can lend it and earn money through interest in the process.
Being an investor in Lending Club is pretty easy. Simply sign up for an account and browse through the loan applications of borrowers.
Lending Club gives you details on the credit-worthiness of each borrower. You’ll be able to view financial data for each person, including their FICO score, payment history, and more, to help you decide if you should lend them your money. Interest rates at the Lending Club range from 6.03% to 24.89%, depending on the borrower’s credit worthiness.
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