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How to Invest Your $1,400 Stimulus Check

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The House passed President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan early Saturday and the legislation will now move on to the Senate. As the 3rd round of stimulus checks works its way through Congress, you might wonder what you should do with your money. 

But first, how much will you get? The $1,400 “base amount” will go to eligible individuals. Married couples who file a joint tax return will get a base amount of $2,800. For each dependent in your family, the government will tack on an additional $1,400.

You may want to do more than pay bills with that money. Let Benzinga help you decide how to invest your stimulus money and don’t forget to check out the best and worst ways to use your stimulus check. 

Considerations for Your Stimulus Check

You may phase out of stimulus eligibility altogether if you’ve got a higher income ($100,000 and $200,000 for individuals and couples, respectively). Congress aims to target the checks at lower income earners than those who qualified for the first 2 stimulus payments last year, while keeping the income requirements the same.  

President Biden has pushed to include adult dependents as well as children and families with mixed-status citizenship. 

Now that you know that, let’s dip into more about how you might want to invest your stimulus money.

Define a Goal for Your Investment

Know thyself: It’s the best way to determine how you want to invest your money. What goals do you have for yourself over the course of 5 years, 10 years or more? Do you want to save for a vacation in the short term and retirement for the long term? Examining your risk tolerance can also help you figure out which investment types you want.

Idea 1: High-Yield Savings Accounts 

You may want to make your life easier and keep your savings account and checking account at the same bank, but what if your savings account doesn’t offer much in the way of savings? Enter high-yield savings accounts. Online savings accounts and cash management accounts provide higher rates of return than you’ll get in a traditional bank savings or checking account.

A high-yield savings account offers interest rates of 20 to 25 times the national average of a standard savings account.  

How does it make a difference? Let’s say you have $5,000 in a regular savings account with an average 0.10% APY. The regular savings account would give you just an extra $5 over the course of a year. Let’s say you put that $5,000 in an account earning 2% — a high-yield savings account. You’d earn $100 at the end of a year instead. 

Compare interest rates at online banks to land on the right high-yield savings account for you.

Current APY
Premium Checking: 0.05%
Minimum balance
$4,000 balance to waive $19 service fee
Get started securely through BBVA’s website
Current APY
Up to 1.25%
Minimum balance
No minimum balance after opening $50 deposit
Get started securely through Axos Bank’s website
Current APY
1%
Minimum balance
$100
Get started securely through M1 Finance’s website

Idea 2: Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

A certificate of deposit (CD), offers a federally insured savings account option with a fixed-interest rate for a defined period of time.

If you have a goal of needing a specific amount of money at a fixed date in the future, such as a down payment for a house, you may want to use a CD. You can specify how much time you want your money to grow, whether that’s in 1, 3 or 5 years — and you’ll get a guaranteed amount at the end of that time frame. 

Keep in mind that your money must stay in that CD. If you try to get your money out of a CD early, you usually have to pay a fee. Don’t buy a CD with money you might need soon.

Look for CDs at a bank or credit union and compare interest rates before you buy.

Idea 3: Money Market Funds

When you invest in a money market fund, you buy high-quality, short-term government, bank or corporate debt. It’s a safer investment than stocks and keeps your money in an account earmarked for future investment. 

Note that you won’t see a ton of growth. You can compare this amount to high-yield savings account earnings.

Open a brokerage account to invest in a money market fund.

Idea 4: Bonds 

You may have heard of corporate, municipal or treasury bonds and know that they function as a debt security to raise capital for the government, local companies and to finance projects. Bonds offer lower-risk opportunities to lend money, then receive a (usually small) return back. 

Governments and corporations agree to pay you back the face value of the loan on a specific date and pay you periodic interest payments along the way, usually twice per year. 

You can search for the right bonds for you through an online brokerage.

Best For
Social Investing
Overall Rating
Get started securely through eToro’s website
Best For
Social Investing
N/A
1 Minute Review

eToro is a cryptocurrency broker that offers access to 15 of the world’s most popular cryptocurrencies and a few unique education and useability tools. Traders can begin buying and selling both major cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) as well as smaller names (like Tron Coin and Stellar Lumens) in as little as 10 minutes.

eToro’s unique CopyTrader feature allows new investors to “copy” the buy and sell orders of professional investors, while the company’s new eToro Club feature provides investors with a range of additional education tools and resources. Though eToro doesn’t offer the widest possible range of cryptocurrencies, it remains an easy and usable platform for beginners and experienced users. 

Best For
  • New cryptocurrency traders looking for an easy-to-use platform
  • Cryptocurrency traders who want to trade only the most popular cryptos
  • Traders who want to practice their trades using a virtual account before entering the market
Pros
  • Simple platform that is easy to master
  • CopyTrader feature that allows new traders to copy the same strategies used by professionals
  • Virtual dummy account that gives you $100,000 to practice trades
Cons
  • Only 15 major coins available to trade
Best For
Forex Trading
Overall Rating
Get started securely through AvaTrade’s website
Best For
Forex Trading
N/A
1 Minute Review

A fully regulated broker with a presence in Europe, South Africa, the Middle East, British Virgin Islands, Australia and Japan, Avatrade deals with mainly forex and CFDs on stocks, commodities, indexes, forex, cryptocurrencies, etc. This brokerage is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland and began offering its services in 2006. It offers multiple trading platforms and earns mainly through spreads.

Best For
  • Beginners
  • Advanced traders
  • Traders looking for a well-diversified portfolio
Pros
  • Controlled by regulatory agencies of multiple countries
  • Choice offered in terms of trading platforms
  • Support available in 14 languages and trading platforms in 20 languages
  • Practice/demo account available for trying out
  • Breadth of trading assets
Cons
  • Does not accept customers from the U.S. as it isn’t regulated in the U.S.
  • Transferring funds to the account may take up to five days; withdrawals could take up to 10 days
Best For
Forex Execution
Overall Rating
Get started securely through IG Group’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
Best For
Global and Active Traders
Overall Rating
get started securely through Interactive Brokers’s website
Best For
Global and Active Traders
N/A
1 Minute Review

Interactive Brokers is a comprehensive trading platform that gives you access to a massive range of securities at affordable prices. You can buy assets from all around the world from the comfort of your home or office with access to over 135 global markets. Options, futures, forex and fund trading are also available, and most traders won’t pay a commission on any purchase or sale.  

IBKR is geared primarily toward experienced traders and investors but now with the availability of free trades with IBKR Lite, casual traders can also acclimate to IBKR’s offerings.

Best For
  • Access to foreign markets
  • Detailed mobile app that makes trading simple
  • Wide range of available account types and tradable assets
Pros
  • Comprehensive, quick desktop platform
  • Mobile app mirrors full capabilities of desktop version
  • Access to massive range of tradable assets
  • Low margin rates
  • Easy-to-use and enhanced screening options are better than ever
Cons
  • Beginner investors might prefer a broker that offers a bit more hand-holding and educational resources

Idea 5: Mutual Funds 

Mutual funds, professionally managed investments, pools your money with other investors. Fund managers then buy securities on behalf of the group.

The advantage to buying a broad portfolio of stocks and bonds in 1 transaction means you diversify your investments and don’t expose yourself to as much risk. However, you may pay more in fees because you pay a fund manager to manage your money.

Look for mutual funds at a brick-and-mortar financial advisory firm or an online brokerage.

Best For
ETF and Mutual Fund Investing
Overall Rating
Get started securely through Vanguard’s website
Best For
ETF and Mutual Fund Investing
N/A
1 Minute Review

Vanguard was the first to offer low-commission trading on inexpensive index funds based on consumer-friendly investment principles. Day traders might not find Vanguard’s old-school style appealing, but retirement savers, buy-and-hold investors and companies that seek employer-sponsored programs might want to take a gander. Vanguard is a sensible choice for common-sense investment advice and efficient products. It’s a company that sticks to the morals of its hardy pioneer, Jack Bogle.

Best For
  • Retirement savers
  • Buy-and-hold investors
  • Investors looking for a simple stock trading platform
Pros
  • Large family of inexpensive ETFs and mutual funds
  • Strong stock research selections
  • Non-intimidating platform and mobile app
Cons
  • Only 10 technical indicators available for charts
  • No futures or forex trading
  • Not ideal for day traders
Best For
Fund Investing
Overall Rating
Get started securely through Charles Schwab’s website
Best For
Fund Investing
N/A
1 Minute Review

Charles Schwab is a solid choice for traders of all skill levels. It offers full access to the U.S. equity and options markets as well as 30 international markets. Traders can create a diverse portfolio with $0 commissions and no account minimums. Schwab’s margin trading is expensive but Schwab makes up for it with affordable futures and options trades, along with a comprehensive mobile offering.

Best For
  • 3 trading platforms perfectly in sync makes matching your platform to your skill level a snap
  • Excellent futures trading education for new traders
  • $0 account minimum means anyone can start trading
Pros
  • Wide range of available assets to trade, including futures and 30 global markets
  • SmartStreet Edge platform is powerful enough for advanced traders, yet easy enough for new traders to utilize
  • Unique educational resources (like infographics and podcasts) make learning fun
Cons
  • Margin rates are more expensive than competitors
  • More limitations on available margin than competitors
  • Expensive mutual funds

Idea 6: Robo-Advisors

You might want to opt for a robo-advisor. Think of these as robots that invest your money. Robo-advisors use algorithms to invest your money for you.

Robo-advising apps offer convenient, affordable options with low investment minimums. You won’t pay for a broker to invest your money and you’ll pay far less compared to traditional management firms. 

Best For
Customizable Robo Investing
Overall Rating
Get started securely through M1 Finance’s website
Best For
Customizable Robo Investing
N/A
1 Minute Review

M1 Finance is a unique investing platform that allows investors to allocate their funds through a strategy called “pie investing.” When you open an account with M1, you can choose from 1 of 80 expert portfolio allocations, which the platform calls “pies.” Each pie is made up of a unique mix of stocks and ETFs and each represents a “slice” of your overall account.

Pies distinguish themselves by their asset allocation and investment choices. For example, investors who want to hold onto their investments until they retire might choose a pie with a focus on slow, steady growth, while investors who value corporate responsibility may want to choose M1’s socially responsible investment portfolio. 

You can also create your own pie by selecting individual stocks and ETFs. Every time you make a deposit into your M1 account, the broker will automatically divide your funds between your investments.

M1 offers only basic educational tools and its customer support leaves much to be desired. However, if you’re looking for a way to put your investments on autopilot, M1 Finance might be the right choice for you. 

Best For
  • Don’t want to take an active role in portfolio management
  • Need a large amount of hand-holding when it comes to selecting investments
  • Want the option to invest in a socially responsible portfolio
Pros
  • Pie investing system offers a unique visual component to investing
  • Streamlined mobile app offers full functionality of the desktop platform, plus access to M1’s banking components
  • Socially responsible portfolio option is perfect for investors who want to invest only in companies that offer positive business practices
Cons
  • No access to mutual funds, futures, forex or options investing
  • Limited charting tools and indicators
  • Poor customer service selection
  • Basic educational offerings cater only to very new investors
Best For
Cost-conscious investors
Overall Rating
get started securely through SoFi’s website
Best For
Cost-conscious investors
N/A
1 Minute Review

The wealth management arm, which aids in both passive and active investing, provides personalized advice based on the client’s unique financial situation and goals. Advisors offer assistance and robo-advising is also available through portfolio building and auto rebalancing.

Best For
  • Beginners
  • Passive investors
  • Cost-conscious investors
  • Portfolio builders
Pros
  • Affordable pricing
  • Free for borrowers of a SoFi loan
  • Tools for goal setting and retirement analysis
  • Availability of advisors at no extra cost
  • Automatic portfolio rebalancing
Cons
  • Limited product options
  • Doesn’t possess tax-optimization features such as tax los harvesting
Pricing
Depends
Account Minimum
$3,000
get started securely through Vanguard’s website

Idea 7: Index Funds

You have the potential to earn more money by investing in an index fund (such as the S&P 500) compared to bonds or any bank products. However, you may experience volatility with index funds compared to bonds. 

Index funds comprise some of the largest, most successful companies in the world. You also get immediate diversification because you own a small piece of every single company. You won’t pay a lot for an index fund — they come with low expense ratios. 

Check a robo-advisor or online brokerage to choose the best index funds for you.

Best For
Intermediate Traders and Investors
Overall Rating
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
  • Commission-free trading in over 5,000 different stocks and ETFs
  • No account maintenance fees or software platform fees
  • No charges to open and maintain an account
  • Leverage of 4:1 on margin trades made the same day and leverage of 2:1 on trades held overnight
  • Intuitive trading platform with technical and fundamental analysis tools
Cons
  • Does not support trading in mutual funds, bonds or OTC stocks
Best For
Advanced traders
Overall Rating
Get started securely through Moomoo’s website
Best For
Advanced 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
  • Novice traders
  • Active/Advanced traders
Pros
  • Free Level 2 market data for all users who open an account
  • Commission-free trading in over 5,000 different stocks and ETFs
  • Over 8,000 different stocks that can be sold short
  • $0 contract fee for trading options, no commission either
  • Strong market data and analysis tools with over 50 technical indicators
  • 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.
  • Active trading community with more than 100,000 app users
Cons
  • No phone or chat support
Best For
Options Trading
Overall Rating
Get started securely through TD Ameritrade’s website
Best For
Options Trading
N/A
1 Minute Review

This publicly listed discount broker, which is in existence for over four decades, is service-intensive, offering intuitive and powerful investment tools. Especially, with equity investing, a flat fee is charged, with the firm claiming that it charges no trade minimum, no data fees, and no platform fees. Though it is pricier than many other discount brokers, what tilts the scales in its favor is its well-rounded service offerings and the quality and value it offers its clients.

Best For
  • Novice investors
  • Retirement savers
  • Day traders
Pros
  • World-class trading platforms
  • Detailed research reports and Education Center
  • Assets ranging from stocks and ETFs to derivatives like futures and options
Cons
  • Thinkorswim can be overwhelming to inexperienced traders
  • Derivatives trading more costly than some competitors
  • Expensive margin rates

Idea 8: Dividend Stock Funds 

Why not earn cash while you invest? Stocks that pay dividends can offer a great investment opportunity. Companies pay dividends, or portions of a company’s profit, on a quarterly basis to shareholders. You’ll expose yourself to risk with dividend stocks, though they’re safer than growth stocks or other non-dividend stocks.

Look for consistent dividend increases, companies with a good reputation and those that offer the best historical performance. Invest with an eye toward long-term investment. 

Purchase dividend stocks through your broker of choice or check to see whether the company has a direct-purchase option. 

Best For
Options Trading
Overall Rating
Get started securely through TD Ameritrade’s website
Best For
Options Trading
N/A
1 Minute Review

This publicly listed discount broker, which is in existence for over four decades, is service-intensive, offering intuitive and powerful investment tools. Especially, with equity investing, a flat fee is charged, with the firm claiming that it charges no trade minimum, no data fees, and no platform fees. Though it is pricier than many other discount brokers, what tilts the scales in its favor is its well-rounded service offerings and the quality and value it offers its clients.

Best For
  • Novice investors
  • Retirement savers
  • Day traders
Pros
  • World-class trading platforms
  • Detailed research reports and Education Center
  • Assets ranging from stocks and ETFs to derivatives like futures and options
Cons
  • Thinkorswim can be overwhelming to inexperienced traders
  • Derivatives trading more costly than some competitors
  • Expensive margin rates
Best For
Intermediate Traders and Investors
Overall Rating
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
  • Commission-free trading in over 5,000 different stocks and ETFs
  • No account maintenance fees or software platform fees
  • No charges to open and maintain an account
  • Leverage of 4:1 on margin trades made the same day and leverage of 2:1 on trades held overnight
  • Intuitive trading platform with technical and fundamental analysis tools
Cons
  • Does not support trading in mutual funds, bonds or OTC stocks
Best For
Futures Trading
Overall Rating
Get started securely through TradeStation’s website
Best For
Futures Trading
N/A
1 Minute Review

TradeStation is for advanced traders who need a comprehensive platform. The brokerage offers an impressive range of investable assets as frequent and professional traders appreciate its wide range of analysis tools. TradeStation’s app is also equally effective, offering full platform capabilities.

Best For
  • Advanced traders
  • Options and futures traders
  • Active stock traders
Pros
  • Comprehensive trading platform and professional-grade tools
  • Wide range of tradable securities
  • Fully-operational mobile app
Cons
  • Confusing pricing structure to leave new traders with a weak understanding of what they pay
  • Cluttered layout to make navigating TradeStation’s platform more difficult than it should be

Idea 9: Retirement Accounts

When you’re looking for some of the best tax advantages possible, look into retirement accounts. Not only can you tap into tax advantages, you save for your future! Take a look at the following retirement account types, though this doesn’t include all retirement account types you can invest in. 

Note: You can’t fund your retirement accounts with the money directly from your stimulus check because the money must come from your paycheck. However, the extra cash padding once you receive your stimulus check may mean you can feel comfortable opening your retirement accounts. 

401(k)

A 401(k) offers a robust savings vehicle, particularly when you pair it with the money your employer can add. Many employers will fund your account by managing the contributions you make. If you have the option to invest in a 401(k) and haven’t opened one, you’re leaving free money on the table and risking your future.

You can contribute up to $19,500 to your 401(k) plan for 2020 and 2021. Anyone age 50 or older can take advantage of an additional catch-up contribution of $6,500 in 2020 and 2021.

Traditional IRA

A traditional IRA lets your earnings grow tax-deferred. You pay taxes on your investment gains only when you make withdrawals in retirement.

You may want to get a Traditional IRA if you don’t have a retirement plan at your job. In 2020 and 2021, you can save $6,000 annually, or $7,000 if you’re 50 or older.

Roth IRA

You make after-tax contributions with a Roth IRA — the money grows tax-free while you save. You won’t pay taxes on your withdrawals in retirement. Roth IRAs combined cannot exceed $6,000 or $7,000 (age 50 or older) in 2021.

Pricing
$1,200 to $6,000/year, depending on acct type
Account Minimum
$0
Pricing
There are no fees to open or maintain your account. Other account fees, fund expenses, and brokerage commissions may apply.
Account Minimum
$0
Get started securely through Charles Schwab’s website
Pricing
Depends
Account Minimum
$3,000
get started securely through Vanguard’s website

Idea 10: Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) 

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) involve a collection of securities in a single diversified investment. ETFs offer diversified, low-cost and tax-efficient access to the world’s investment markets and track the performance of specific indexes with fewer fees.

Look for ETFs through brokerages or robo-advisors.

Best For
Options Trading
Overall Rating
Get started securely through TD Ameritrade’s website
Best For
Options Trading
N/A
1 Minute Review

This publicly listed discount broker, which is in existence for over four decades, is service-intensive, offering intuitive and powerful investment tools. Especially, with equity investing, a flat fee is charged, with the firm claiming that it charges no trade minimum, no data fees, and no platform fees. Though it is pricier than many other discount brokers, what tilts the scales in its favor is its well-rounded service offerings and the quality and value it offers its clients.

Best For
  • Novice investors
  • Retirement savers
  • Day traders
Pros
  • World-class trading platforms
  • Detailed research reports and Education Center
  • Assets ranging from stocks and ETFs to derivatives like futures and options
Cons
  • Thinkorswim can be overwhelming to inexperienced traders
  • Derivatives trading more costly than some competitors
  • Expensive margin rates
Best For
Futures Trading
Overall Rating
Get started securely through TradeStation’s website
Best For
Futures Trading
N/A
1 Minute Review

TradeStation is for advanced traders who need a comprehensive platform. The brokerage offers an impressive range of investable assets as frequent and professional traders appreciate its wide range of analysis tools. TradeStation’s app is also equally effective, offering full platform capabilities.

Best For
  • Advanced traders
  • Options and futures traders
  • Active stock traders
Pros
  • Comprehensive trading platform and professional-grade tools
  • Wide range of tradable securities
  • Fully-operational mobile app
Cons
  • Confusing pricing structure to leave new traders with a weak understanding of what they pay
  • Cluttered layout to make navigating TradeStation’s platform more difficult than it should be
Best For
Mobile Trading
Overall Rating
Get started securely through eTrade’s website
Best For
Mobile Trading
N/A
1 Minute Review

E*TRADE is an online discount trading house that offers brokerage and banking services to individuals and businesses. One of the first brokers to embrace online trading, E*TRADE not only survived both the dot-com bubble and Recession — it thrived. You can choose from two different platforms (one basic, one advanced). E*TRADE is a suitable broker for traders of most skill levels, whether you want to buy mutual funds and hold them for decades or dabble in options swing trading. E*TRADE offers a library of research and education materials to help you out.

Best For
  • Active traders
  • Derivatives traders
  • Retirement savers
Pros
  • Sophisticated trading platforms
  • Wide range of tradable assets
  • Exceptional customer service
Cons
  • Limited currency trading
  • Higher margin rates than competitors
  • No paper trading on its standard platform

Idea 11: Crowdfunding 

Crowdfunding allows you to invest in peer-to-peer ventures such as lending and real estate. Crowdfunding lets businesses, organizations and individuals fund a project or venture with small donations from those sources. It allows new ventures to get off the ground or launch new projects.

Learn about crowdfunding through Benzinga’s recommended crowdfunding courses.

Idea 12: Individual Stocks

Stocks offer the biggest potential return on your investment but expose your money to some risk (and in some cases, it exposes your money to great risk). One share of stock represents a small portion of ownership in a company. 

Instead of investing in individual stocks, you may want to turn to the diversification offered through mutual funds, ETFs and index funds.

You can buy individual stocks directly from individual companies, through a robo-advisor or online broker. 

Best For
Intermediate Traders and Investors
Overall Rating
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
  • Commission-free trading in over 5,000 different stocks and ETFs
  • No account maintenance fees or software platform fees
  • No charges to open and maintain an account
  • Leverage of 4:1 on margin trades made the same day and leverage of 2:1 on trades held overnight
  • Intuitive trading platform with technical and fundamental analysis tools
Cons
  • Does not support trading in mutual funds, bonds or OTC stocks
Best For
Advanced traders
Overall Rating
Get started securely through Moomoo’s website
Best For
Advanced 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
  • Novice traders
  • Active/Advanced traders
Pros
  • Free Level 2 market data for all users who open an account
  • Commission-free trading in over 5,000 different stocks and ETFs
  • Over 8,000 different stocks that can be sold short
  • $0 contract fee for trading options, no commission either
  • Strong market data and analysis tools with over 50 technical indicators
  • 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.
  • Active trading community with more than 100,000 app users
Cons
  • No phone or chat support
Best For
Options Trading
Overall Rating
Get started securely through TD Ameritrade’s website
Best For
Options Trading
N/A
1 Minute Review

This publicly listed discount broker, which is in existence for over four decades, is service-intensive, offering intuitive and powerful investment tools. Especially, with equity investing, a flat fee is charged, with the firm claiming that it charges no trade minimum, no data fees, and no platform fees. Though it is pricier than many other discount brokers, what tilts the scales in its favor is its well-rounded service offerings and the quality and value it offers its clients.

Best For
  • Novice investors
  • Retirement savers
  • Day traders
Pros
  • World-class trading platforms
  • Detailed research reports and Education Center
  • Assets ranging from stocks and ETFs to derivatives like futures and options
Cons
  • Thinkorswim can be overwhelming to inexperienced traders
  • Derivatives trading more costly than some competitors
  • Expensive margin rates

Idea 13: Real Estate

Ready to finally get rid of the rent checks and invest in a home? Your stimulus check can provide the kickstart you need to invest in your first home. You may also want to invest in a second or rental home and your stimulus check can provide the seed money for a down payment.

Financial advisors can offer assistance and recommendations on where you should put your money so you reach your goals.

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

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
Best For
Investing in Homes
Overall Rating
Get started securely through Roofstock’s website
Best For
Investing in Homes
N/A
1 Minute Review

Roofstock is a registered real estate broker and marketplace specializing in single-family rental properties. Unlike its competitors, Roofstock isn’t selling shares of properties through trusts or LLCs — they’re connecting buyers and sellers directly. Roofstock properties are carefully vetted by a qualified home inspector and come with a rental income guarantee. That’s right, Roofstock will pay you rent even if your property stays vacant.

Financial data on each property is available even to those who are not clients and nonaccredited investors are welcome to join free of charge. Cash and financing options are available when making a purchase, but Roofstock will tack on their own fees in addition to closing costs.

As the solitary owner of your property, you’ll be expected to fund repairs out of your own pocket. Still, Roofstock is a great way to get a foot in the door of the real estate industry and their fees are much lower than most of the competition.

Best For
  • Nonaccredited investors
  • Real estate investors with limited capital
  • Investors looking for income through rental properties
Pros
  • Free to sign up
  • No investment minimum
  • Ownership of real assets
  • Low fees 30-day money back guarantee
Cons
  • Single-family homes only
  • Need to finance repairs yourself
  • Requires down payments
Best For
Private Real Estate
Overall Rating
get started securely through Fundrise’s website
Best For
Private Real Estate
N/A
1 Minute Review

Fundrise makes real estate investing affordable to investors. The easy-to-use crowdfunding platform gives you a fixed rate of return on top real estate properties in the U.S. 

Here’s why investing your money through Fundrise can improve your portfolio and earn you a reliable source of income.  

Best For
  • Investors with a limited financial budget
  • Investors looking to instantly diversify their portfolio
  • Long-term investors with at least 5 years of commitment
  • Investors looking to earn fixed returns higher than 8%
  • Passive investors who do not want to monitor the market regularly
  • Investors looking for a transparent investment process
Pros
  • Low minimum balance to sign-up for an account
  • Plenty of low-cost real estate investments
  • Many listed properties project a lower risk rate
  • Wide range of real estate investments in prime locations
  • Open to non-accredited investors
  • Regulated by the SEC
  • Consistent track record of high returns
Cons
  • Charges a fee on early withdrawals from investments
  • Customer support does not feature live chat
  • Liquidity issues as eREITs and eFunds are not exchange traded

Idea 14: Alternative Investments

You may also want to look into alternative investments, and the sky’s the limit for these types of investments. You could invest in cryptocurrencies, venture capital, commodities, gold, silver, private equities, hedge funds, coins, stamps, alcohol or art. 

You won’t find a specific website that offers all of these types of alternative investments, so lean on Benzinga for our expert advice on alternative investments.   

Best For
Art Investing
Overall Rating
Get started securely through Masterworks’s website
Best For
Art Investing
N/A
1 Minute Review

Have you ever dreamed of owning a Basquiat painting or one of Warhol’s pop art masterpieces? You can with Masterworks — even if you don’t have $1 million in the bank. 

Masterworks is a new platform that allows investors to own shares of famous works of art. Artwork is held in a climate-controlled, secure environment while Masterworks searches for an independent collector or buyer to sell at a profit. When a piece is sold, you’ll receive a share of the profits proportional to your initial investment.

Investors will enjoy Masterworks’ easy-to-follow system and choice of famous art investments.

Best For
  • You want to diversify your portfolio with alternative, specifically art, investments
  • Earn returns up to 8-30%
  • You’re interested in investing in art
Pros
  • A dedicated art membership rep that will help you invest and answer questions
  • Clean, attractive, easy to use platform design
Cons
  • Requires a phone interview before you can invest
  • Fee can be confusing for new investors

Idea 15: Crypto Savings Account

You can deposit your cryptocurrency and earn a standard rate of return over time with a crypto savings account. 

Your rate of return will vary depending on the type of cryptocurrency you have, whether you have Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin or another type of altcoin. Depending on the type of crypto savings account you have, you may even be able to choose the type of cryptocurrency you get paid in interest. 

Best For
No or Low Fees
Overall Rating
get started securely through BlockFi’s website
Best For
No or Low Fees
N/A
1 Minute Review

Maybe you think cryptocurrency is the future, or perhaps you were swept up in the initial waves of Bitcoin. BlockFi may be your next step if you’re ready to evolve as a crypto investor.

Whether you’re a native crypto user or curious enough to start investing, BlockFi seeks to bring institutional-grade financial products to crypto markets that often face restricted access. It strives to bring clients low-cost, simple applications designed to maximize the potential of crypto assets. Learn more in our BlockFi review.

Best For
  • Crypto native clients. You own Bitcoin now. You’re the friend who fills in the blanks when conversation turns to cryptocurrency, and you devour crypto literacy content like it’s your job (and maybe it is). BlockFi’s platform can help take your crypto assets to the next level.
  • Crypto fringe clients. If you’ve dabbled in buying alternative assets like crypto or know enough to be interested, BlockFi can help you take the next step.
  • Crypto curious clients. If you’re both intrigued by bitcoin and the type of person who obsessively learns everything you can about things you’re new to, BlockFi’s crypto asset platform might be the entry point you’re looking for.
Pros
  • Mostly fee-free platform
  • Market-best interest rates
  • Earn interest, trade and borrow from a centralized hub using the BlockFi app
Cons
  • Mostly restricted to those with a base knowledge of cryptocurrency
  • No dedicated relationship with an investment advisor, so best for those who have a solid handle on crypto trading
Best For
New Investors
Overall Rating
try for free securely through Gemini Crypto’s website
Best For
New Investors
N/A
1 Minute Review

Gemini is a cryptocurrency exchange and custodian that offers investors access to 26 coins and tokens. Founded in the US, Gemini is expanding globally, in particular into Europe and Asia. Offerings include both major cryptocurrency projects like Bitcoin and Ethereum, and smaller altcoins like Orchid and 0x.

Gemini is 1 of the only brokers with multiple platform options based on skill level. New investors will love the streamlined interface of Gemini’s mobile and web apps, while advanced investors might appreciate all the tools that come with ActiveTrader. 

In addition to a host of platform choices, Gemini users also have access to insured hot wallets to store tokens without worrying about digital asset theft. Learn more about what Gemini can do for you in our review.

Best For
  • New investors looking for a simple mobile and web app
  • Experienced investors who need a more advanced platform with more tools
  • Users looking for a 1-stop-shop to buy, sell and store all of their coins
Pros
  • Easy and quick signups — can get started in as little as a few minutes
  • Multitude of platforms to accommodate traders of all skill levels
  • Hot wallets include insurance to protect your from theft and hacking attempts
Cons
  • Charges both a commission and a convenience fee for users buying and selling through the desktop or mobile app
Best For
Mobile Traders
Overall Rating
get started securely through Voyager’s website
Best For
Mobile Traders
N/A
1 Minute Review

Voyager is a leading name in the sphere of cryptocurrency investing, giving you access to over 50 tokens and coins. Buy, sell and swap assets using Voyager Crypto’s simple mobile platform available as a free download for iOS and Android users. 

When you invest through Voyager, you’ll pay nothing in commissions, which is a major benefit when compared to other cryptocurrency brokers. Voyager is also one of the only brokers we’ve seen that allows users to earn interest on their crypto investments. 

Though the broker could do more to improve its customer service, it’s an excellent option for beginner investors and seasoned professionals alike.

Best For
  • Cryptocurrency investors looking for a wide selection of supported projects.
  • Investors who prefer mobile trading.
  • Anyone interested in earning interest on their crypto investments.
Pros
  • Simple, straightforward and intuitive mobile platform
  • Wealth of investment opportunities
  • Allows users to earn interest on select crypto investments
Cons
  • Only available for mobile users — no desktop platform
  • Limited routes to contact customer service team
Best For
Crypto futures traders
Overall Rating
get started securely through Kraken’s website
Best For
Crypto futures traders
N/A
1 Minute Review

Kraken is a cryptocurrency that offers access to more than 50 supported coins and tokens, staking capabilities, futures trading and more. Kraken offers a variable maker-taker fee schedule, which often results in lower fees compared to flat-rate brokerages.

In addition to a wide range of crypto choices, Kraken offers customizable ordering platforms and mobile apps that you can use to fully refine your trading experience. There’s plenty to love about trading on Kraken. It appeals to both seasoned professionals and new investors looking to learn more about the market.

Best For
  • Cryptocurrency investors looking for a wide selection of supported assets
  • Crypto futures traders
  • Beginner investors looking for maximum account security
Pros
  • Wide selection of supported tradable assets
  • Straightforward platform is easy for new users to master
  • 24/7 customer service available via live chat
Cons
  • Maker-taker fee schedule may confuse some users
  • No option for phone or email customer service

Invest Your $1,400 Check — But Avoid Scams

Still not sure how you want to invest your stimulus check? You can tap into expert advice through a fiduciary financial advisor. A financial advisor can share what you need to know about your stimulus check and can also help you avoid stimulus check scams.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I get a stimulus check if I didn’t file taxes?

1
Q: Can I get a stimulus check if I didn’t file taxes?
asked
1

You can use the non-filers tool to enter your information. If you missed the November 21, 2020, deadline, you can still claim your money as a Recovery Rebate Credit by filing a 2020 federal income tax return.

answered

Q: How do I check my 2021 stimulus payment?

1
Q: How do I check my 2021 stimulus payment?
asked
1

Check out the IRS website for information about stimulus payment information.

answered

Turn to Webull

0 Commissions and no deposit minimums. Everyone gets smart tools for smart investing. Webull supports full extended hours trading, which includes full pre-market (4:00 AM - 9:30 AM ET) and after hours (4:00 PM - 8:00 PM ET) sessions. Webull Financial LLC is registered with and regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). It is also a member of the SIPC, which protects (up to $500,000, which includes a $250,000 limit for cash) against the loss of cash and securities held by a customer at a financially-troubled SIPC-member brokerage firm.