How to Invest $100K

Contributor, Benzinga

Want to claim 6 FREE stocks? Head over to Webull to get started.

$100,000 is a life-changing amount of money. No matter if you’ve worked for it, inherited it, or won it in the lottery, making smart investments now can help you set up a healthier financial future for yourself and your family and grow your money exponentially over time. Before you spend, determine your risk tolerance and consider placing your money into one of these four smart investments.

First, Determine your Risk Tolerance

Your “risk tolerance” is the level of tolerance you can withstand when it comes to seeing returns on your money. If you have a high-risk tolerance, small returns are not the end of the world, and you won’t be in serious trouble should you lose all of your money; those with high-risk tolerances can afford to risk more and venture to see larger returns.

On the other hand, if you have a low-risk tolerance, you need to see returns or you will experience immediate negative life consequences. Some of the factors that contribute to your unique risk tolerance level include:

Your funds in the bank

Life comes with surprises—and many of them can be expensive. From a sudden job loss to an unexpected surgery, keeping an emergency fund robust enough to cover six months’ worth of expenses can help protect you and your family from debt in the event of an unfortunate surprise. If you don’t yet have an emergency fund in your budget planning, or your emergency fund is weak, put some of your money into a nest egg before you invest.

Your age

Younger investors have the benefit of time on their side. With more years until retirement, they can afford to be riskier with their money and make more mistakes because compounding interest can make up for dips in the market or poor returns in the long-term. Older investors will want to look for more guaranteed returns—especially if they are a year or two away from retirement.

Your employment stability

Do you know how much money will be on your next paycheck? If you’re in a salaried position, settled with a family, and not planning on making a career change any time soon, you can afford to take more risks with your money because your income stream is predictable. On the other hand, if you are self-employed or work only part-time, your income varies—you’ll want to make more secure investments.  

get started securely through Webull’s website
Best For
Intermediate Traders and Investors
N/A
1 Minute Review

Webull, founded in 2017, is a mobile app-based brokerage that features commission-free stock and exchange-traded fund (ETF) trading. It’s regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Webull offers active traders technical indicators, economic calendars, ratings from research agencies, margin trading and short-selling. Webull’s trading platform is designed for intermediate and experienced traders, although beginning traders can also benefit.

Webull is widely considered one of the best Robinhood alternatives.

Best For
  • Active traders
  • Intermediate traders
  • Advanced traders
Pros
  • No account maintenance fees or software platform fees
  • No charges to open and maintain an account
  • Intuitive trading platform with technical and fundamental analysis tools
Cons
  • Does not support trading in mutual funds, bonds or OTC stocks
get started securely through Moomoo’s website
Best For
Active Traders
N/A
1 Minute Review

Moomoo is a commission-free mobile trading app available on Apple, Google and Windows devices. A subsidiary of Futu Holdings Ltd., it’s backed by venture capital affiliates of Matrix, Sequoia, and Tencent (NASDAQ: FUTU). Securities offered by Futu Inc., regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Moomoo is another great alternative for Robinhood. This is an outstanding trading platform if you want to dive deep into smart trading. It offers impressive trading tools and opportunities for both new and advanced traders, including advanced charting, pre and post-market trading, international trading, research and analysis tools, and most popular of all, free Level 2 quotes.

Get started right away by downloading Moomoo to your phone, tablet or another mobile device.

Best For
  • Cost-conscious traders
  • Active and Advanced traders
Pros
  • Over 8,000 different stocks that can be sold short
  • Access trading and quotes in pre-market (4 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ET) and post-market hours (4 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET)
  • No minimum deposit to open an account.
Cons
  • No chat support
get started securely through Interactive Broker’s website
Best For
GlobalAnalyst Product
N/A
1 Minute Review

This latest groundbreaking technology is IBKR GlobalAnalyst, a new trading tool that helps investors compare the rate of PEG or price-earnings growth valuations and provide more immediate and comprehensive financial metrics of stocks, globally.

Recognizing that stock selection can be challenging for investors to compare the valuations of domestic and international stocks, Interactive Brokers created GlobalAnalyst to offer investors a simple, yet powerful tool to easily evaluate investment opportunities around the world.

Using GlobalAnalyst, investors can search for stocks by region, country, industry, market capitalization and currency to uncover undervalued stocks worldwide. The resulting table displays the current market and financial metrics, including the PEG Ratio. The PEG Ratio is the PE ratio divided by the three-year compound earnings growth rate, and smaller PEG Ratios typically indicate undervalued companies.

Best For
  • Price earnings growth valuations
Pros
  • Easily evaluate investment opportunities
Cons
get started securely through CenterPoint Securities’s website
Best For
Momentum traders
N/A
1 Minute Review

CenterPoint Securities is ideal for active traders who demand access to advanced tools and services. While investors and casual traders are likely to be content with the basic offerings of traditional online brokerages, active traders will benefit from CenterPoint’s suite of advanced trading tools. If you value execution quality, access to short inventory, advanced trading platforms, and accessible customer service, CenterPoint is an excellent choice.

Best For
  • Intermediate to Advanced traders
  • High-volume traders
  • Momentum traders
  • Short sellers
Pros
  • Unrivaled access to short inventory
  • Flexible order routing for improved executions
  • Discounts for active traders
  • Advanced platform with fast executions
  • Reliable customer service
Cons
  • Not designed for beginner or low-volume traders

Invest $100k the Least Risky Way

From student loan debt to credit card debt, paying back what you owe should be the first thing you do with your money if you’re looking for a secure investment. Debt accrues interest, can lower your credit score, and can also cause unnecessary stress in your home. Paying down your smallest accounts first and working up to your largest debt (likely to be your mortgage if you own a home) is a completely risk-free investment that will put you in a better position to invest your leftover funds.

There is one caveat to paying off your mortgage—if you have what’s called a prepayment penalty written into the terms of your mortgage, you will face a fee if you pay off the mortgage before the completion of the original terms. Prepayment penalties are less common today than they once were, and typically only apply if the homeowner pays off the mortgage within 2 to 5 years of the start of the loan. 

Invest $100k with Mild Risk

Most IRA providers draw in younger investors with low-minimum index funds, but many also offer high-minimum investment funds that cut expenses in exchange for a certain deposit. 

For example, Vanguard’s “Admiral Shares” function almost identically to its matching normal index funds, but require a minimum investment of $10,000 to $100,000 for actively managed funds. In exchange for this high minimum, the company lowers the expense ratio by about 40% for most Admiral-level funds.

Think of high-investment index funds as a sort of “elite club” for the most prominent investors. Index fund investing is a low-risk investment option; though any stock market venture comes along with an inherent level of risk, index funds are able to mitigate this through portfolio diversification.

Invest $100k with Moderate Risk

Currency trading (or forex trading) is the process of buying and selling the currencies of other countries. Most forex traders use an investment process called buying on the margin to see profitable currency trades because the value of currencies usually varies by only a few cents per day.

When you buy on the margin, you put a sort of down payment into your account, and your broker extends leverage to you as a ratio. For example, if you have a 100:1 ratio, your broker will allow you to trade with $100 for every $1 you place into your account. With $100,000 in your hand, you have the potential to become a very profitable forex trader—but it’s important to note that the global market is fickle and forex investing is one of the riskier types of financial ventures.  

Totally lost when it comes to finding a forex broker? Check Benzinga’s picks for the Best Forex Trading Brokerages. Don’t have time? Here’s a quick look at our favorites.

get started securely through FOREX.com’s website
Best For
Forex Investing
N/A
1 Minute Review

FOREX.com is a one-stop shop for forex traders. With a massive range of tradable currencies, low account minimums and an impressive trading platform, FOREX.com is an excellent choice for brokers searching for a home base for their currency trading. New traders and seasoned veterans alike will love FOREX.com’s extensive education and research center that provides free, informative forex trading courses at multiple skill levels. While FOREX.com is impressive, remember that it isn’t a standard broker.

Best For
  • MetaTrader 4 users
  • Beginner forex traders
  • Active forex traders
Pros
  • Impressive, easy-to-navigate platform
  • Wide range of education and research tools
  • Access to over 80 currencies to buy and sell
  • Leverage available up to 50:1
Cons
  • Cannot buy and sell other securities (like stocks and bonds)
get started securely through IG Markets’s website
Best For
Forex Execution
N/A
1 Minute Review

IG is a comprehensive forex broker that offers full access to the currency market and support for over 80 currency pairs. The broker only offers forex trading to its U.S.-based customers, the brokerage does it spectacularly well. Novice traders will love IG’s intuitive mobile and desktop platforms, while advanced traders will revel in the platform’s selection of indicators and charting tools. Though IG could work on its customer service and fees, the broker is an asset to new forex traders and those who prefer a more streamlined interface.  

Best For
  • New forex traders who are still learning the ropes
  • Traders who prefer a simple, clean interface
  • Forex traders who trade primarily on a tablet
Pros
  • Easy-to-navigate platform is easy for beginners to master
  • Mobile and tablet platforms offer full functionality of the desktop version
  • Margin rates are easy to understand and affordable
  • Access to over 80 currency pairs
Cons
  • U.S. traders can currently only trade forex
  • Customer service options are lacking
  • No 2-factor authentication on mobile

Invest $100k with the Most Risk

Owning and managing a rental property (or two!) can create a steady stream of income and set you up for an early retirement if you are able to buy in a profitable area. More and more of the country is pushing off buying their own home to rent, and you can capitalize on this trend by investing in an asset that is likely to increase in value while it’s earning money. You can even hire a property management company to handle the midnight phone calls for you and limit your landlord status to collecting rent.

Unfortunately, rental property management is not as easy as collecting a check every month and fixing an occasional broken sink. There are rules and regulations surrounding the landlord-tenant relationship that you’ll have to learn about in order to operate within the bounds of the law—for example, in most states, landlords forfeit the right to stop by their property to inspect it without at least 24 hours’ notice.

You’ll also need to be prepared to deal with squatters, delinquent tenants and the expensive eviction process should a tenant refuse to pay rent or leave. This doesn’t even begin to cover some of the horror stories that rental property owners have experienced with delinquent tenants who chose to vandalize the property before being forced out.

Get started securely through CrowdStreet’s website
Best For
Accredited Investors
N/A
1 Minute Review

Crowdstreet is an online real estate investment platform that lets investors choose from a wide range of real estate investment offerings to crowdfund. Crowdstreet investors are free to buy into managed funds, individual buildings or even build a bespoke investment portfolio that includes both kinds of deals.

CrowdStreet’s platform has a diverse range of property types, ranging from multifamily to office, industrial, self-storage and others.

 

Best For
  • Accredited investors
  • Long-term investors
  • Investors looking to diversify from stocks
Pros
  • User-friendly interface
  • Diverse investment offerings
  • Great investor resources
  • Proven performance history
  • Many offerings eligible for inclusion in self-directed IRA
Cons
  • Accredited investors only
  • Most offerings require a $25,000 minimum investment
get started securely through Groundfloor’s website
Best For
Non-accredited Investors
N/A
1 Minute Review

Groundfloor is open to non-accredited investors and private individuals looking for active real estate alternative investment. Groundfloor has great volume with more than 10 investments. 

Individuals with small portfolios will also like the low $10 minimum and 0 investor fees. However, most of the loans are given to house flippers, and there is a risk of borrowers defaulting on their loans. 

Best For
  • Non-accredited investors: It is a good option for non-accredited investors who want to invest in an individual capacity.
  • Private investors with small portfolios: Groundfloor charges a relatively small premium of $10, which private investors with small portfolios find attractive.
  • Active-investors: Groundfloor is also ideal for investors who want to actively maintain and control their real estate portfolio.
Pros
  • Charges the lowest minimums in the industry
  • 0 investor fees
  • Open to non-accredited investors
Cons
  • Offers no bankruptcy protection
  • High rate of an uncured default
  • Many loans are for judicial-only states
Get Started securely through Mainvest’s website
Best For
Investing in small businesses
N/A
1 Minute Review

Mainvest allows people to invest in local small business with a minimum investment of only $100.

Best For
Pros
Cons
Get started securely through Diversyfund’s website
Best For
Low Cost Real Estate Investing
N/A
1 Minute Review

-NOTICE- Benzinga has been alerted that Diversyfund has suspended its monthly dividend. This review will be updated once we investigate these changes to the platform’s dividend payments.

DiversyFund isn’t your average crowdfunding platform. You’ll find that the company puts a twist on the traditional everyday crowdfunding platform, beyond anything you can find online with a simple Google search. You only have to look under DiversyFund’s skin one layer to surmise that DiversyFund is a conscientious developer and sponsor and helps hedge risk through improved vetting.

DiversyFund offers a multifamily real estate investment trust, the DiversyFund Growth REIT, and its main goals are to increase cash flow and resale value. It’ll automatically give you access to multi-million dollar real estate assets.

Best For
  • Those looking for an alternative investment beyond stocks and bonds
  • Individuals who aren’t sure they want to be landlords in the traditional sense
  • Investors who aren’t accredited
Pros
  • Only need to pony up $500 to get started
  • Open to investors all over the world
  • No expensive broker fees
Cons
  • You’ll only be able to access “blind pool” investments, which means that you can’t opt out of specific properties
  • There’s only one real investment option, the DiversyFund Growth REIT

Final Thoughts

No matter which strategy and risk level is right for you, your first step should be to do plenty of research before you invest. Benzinga has a host of resources available for both new investors and seasoned veterans—our guide to the Best Index Funds of 2018 and Best Books on Investing are two great places to begin your journey.