How to Invest and Make Your Money Work for You

Lidia Staron, author at OpenLoans
Lidia Staron   Head of Content
Personal Finance
I enjoy navigating people through important financial decisions.

You've worked hard to earn your money. But you're still paying interest instead of earning interest like the wealthy seem to do. How is it that they're making lots of money hand over fist while you're eking out an existence with your blood, sweat, and tears? That's because they're putting their money to work, instead of working for it. So, the question you really need to ask is, how do you make money work for you? There are several steps you can take to help you build wealth over time with the least amount of sweat.

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Create a Budget

You can't put money to work if you have no control over where your money goes. With a budget, you are in charge of your finances. You are able to monitor your income and spending. You are also able to get a clear picture of your financial situation, allowing you to come up with a plan on how much you will spend, save, and invest so you can build wealth.

Get Out of Debt

You can't make your money work for you if most of it is going to the interest of your personal loans, student loans, and credit card debt. If the portion of your monthly budget set aside for debt could be put into a sub-savings account, just think how quickly you'd be able to save for all the things you want and need.

Debt is a burden that keeps you from becoming financially independent. It also limits your opportunities for growing your money. By paying off your debt, you're actually saving money in interest. Money that you can use to earn more money.

So, how do you get out of debt? The first thing you need to do is to find out how much debt you actually have. The next step you need to make is to create a "plan of attack." You can choose to pay off smaller debts first before tackling the bigger ones, using the money you saved on interest from paying off your other debts. Or, you can opt to consolidate your debt by getting a loan. There are plenty of personal loans for fair credit that can help with this. Even those with bad credit may receive personal loans that can help them consolidate debt. Just take care to choose one that has a much lower interest rate than what you currently have. For entrepreneurs, small business loans online can help you refinance and eventually pay off your other debts.

Open a High-Yield Savings Account

After freeing yourself from debt, you now have some extra money on hand. So, it's time to make that money work for you. First things first – put the money into a high-yield savings account. Your regular savings account will usually offer an interest rate of 0.01%, while a high-yield savings account can offer an interest rate of over 1%. You can typically find this type of savings account at an online bank; these financial institutions can lower their costs simply because they don't have a brick and mortar location.

Why is this important? This is because you need to be aggressively saving your money. The more extra money you have, the more money you can put to work for you. In addition, you should always keep in mind the importance of an emergency fund and be sure that you have money set aside for it. This way, you won't have to borrow money when something unexpectedly expensive comes along.

If you want to save money for multiple purposes, then you can use sub-savings accounts. A sub-savings account is an account within your main account. You can label it according to the financial goals you want to reach. For example, you can have one sub-account labeled "Emergency Funds," while another is labeled "Investments." Doing this simplifies the process of saving for multiple goals and keeping track of all your money.

Pro Tip: Automate your finances. It's a set-it-and-forget-it approach because you simply have to set it up and let the money go where it needs to go. You won't be tempted to use money that should go into your savings for something else. You'd be surprised how quickly you'll reach your goals this way.

Earn Extra Income

To help you pay off your debts faster and get your savings up and running, you'll need to learn how to make extra money. You'll find plenty of extra income ideas online. You can choose to sell stuff that you're no longer using. You can take part in paid surveys to earn a couple of hundred dollars a month. Become a consultant or do freelance gigs on the side. You can sell stuff on Etsy if you're good at crafts and the like. Renting your car out or driving for Uber can also earn you extra money. Babysitting, pet walking, doing yard work, and baking desserts are just some of the extra income ideas that you also might want to check out. If none of our suggestions work for you, don't be afraid to search how to make extra money online. You're bound to find something that fits your skills and schedule.

Invest Extra Money

Invest your money

The most obvious way to make money work for you is to invest it. It's passive income – you earn money without doing anything. Of course, the question is, where do you invest it? There are plenty of options available. It's best if you get more than one revenue stream up and running. If one doesn't work out, you've still got one or two more to rely on.

Invest in a 401(k) or a Roth IRA

You may already be aware of these two types of investment accounts that people use to save for retirement. These are tax-advantaged accounts. When we say tax-advantaged accounts, this means that you get to save on your taxes either at present or in the future.

The 401(k) is a company-sponsored retirement plan that is funded by your pre-tax pay. What does that mean? When you put money into your 401(k), your contribution is made prior to your income being taxed. And when your contribution reaches a certain percentage, the employer may make a matching contribution (1:1). Take note that you can't withdraw your money from this account without penalty; any earnings on this account are tax-deferred which means that upon withdrawal, the money will be taxed

A Roth IRA, on the other hand, is a special retirement account that is funded by contributions that have already been taxed. This means that you can withdraw your money without penalty (tax-free).

When you invest in one or both types of retirement accounts, your savings have the potential to grow exponentially with no extra effort from you. This means that you'll have money when you reach retirement age; you won't need to worry about continuing work in your old age.

Invest in Real Estate

Real estate is a great way for you to earn long-term returns on your investment. You can buy property to rent out in order to generate passive income. You can also use your money to invest in real estate investment trusts (REITs). An REIT is a company that owns, operates, and finances properties that produce income such as office buildings, shopping centers, and apartments. When you become an investor in an REIT, you get dividends from the company based on the gains, sales, refinances, and income on the property.

Invest in the Stock Market

Investing in stocks is a great way to put your money to work. Once you've maxed out your 401k and Roth IRA, you can start investing in the stock market. And you don't need to know everything about the market before you can make a profit. You can invest easily with a robo-advisor. A robo-advisor is an automated portfolio-management solution. In other words, it is a software product that will manage your portfolio for you. You will need to provide basic information on your investment goals, which the software will use to create a portfolio of diversified investments to help you reach these goals. You can also find investing easy if you participate in ETFs or exchange-traded funds and target-date funds. These two types of investments will not require much effort on your part because an investment company will do the work for you.

Invest in a Business

One way for a business to get more funding for its operations or expansions is to find private investors. If you don't want to run your own business, you can choose to become a private investor in one. There are two ways you can do this. One, you can buy equity; you become part-owner of the company and will receive a percentage of the profits. Two, you can loan money and earn money through interest. How do businesses find private investors? Well, aside from the usual (e.g., government programs, business community groups), small businesses can also use crowdfunding websites. Peer-to-peer lending sites can make it easier for you to find and connect with businesses that match your investment goals.

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