Cha-ching! Many people have already received their 2021 welcome gift from Uncle Sam! I have heard some complaining about not getting $2000 per person. “$600 is not going to do anything for me..blah blah blah.” Well, I am here to give you 5 tips on how to invest your stimulus check to turn your frown upside down!
Now remember, I am a guy on the internet. Please do your own research before investing as this is for educational/entertainment value only.
“ONLY $600?? What am I going to do with this $600?” While $600 may not be enough to account for all the suffering and hardship we are going through, I am not going to turn away $600. This $600 we are getting could change someone’s life.
“But, its only $600!”
Yes, but with so many people struggling, this $600 used correctly could multiply into something much more if you invest your stimulus money wisely. These are in no particular order of importance.
1. Invest Stimulus Money in Retirement Accounts
Let’s say that you are gainfully employed, have a budget and coming out with a surplus of money every month. You may want to consider investing your Stimulus Money in Retirement accounts like a ROTH IRA or a Traditional IRA depending on your tax situation.
While this may not pay immediate dividends, literally and figuratively, it is a great way to save money for the future. The maximum amount you are allowed to put in an IRA per year is $6K per individual, so $600 is 10% towards maxing out an IRA. No small feat! Take a look at this article from Kiplinger on retirement plan contribution caps.
One advantage of putting the money in a retirement account like an IRA is that you either save a certain percentage of taxes upfront in a traditional IRA. Or you can pull the money out tax free later on in life with a ROTH IRA. Obviously, this is not a detailed guide on retirement accounts.
However, maxing out 1 year’s worth of an IRA at 30 years old could end up being worth over $50K upon retirement age. Of course I am going to invest in low cost index funds, I like to call them “Stocks for the Future.” We never can tell what exactly the market will do (take 2020 for example) but over time it has grown around 10% with a pretty much passive portfolio- I will take it!
2. Pay off Bad Debt
If Santa deemed you were financially naughty, and are still hanging on to old debt like high interest credit cards, and hopefully nothing like a payday loan, then you should pay it off!
Especially if your debt starts to get into the double digits in interest rate. You can’t build a solid financial foundation without a solid concrete foundation. Otherwise, it will topple over like a house of cards (credit cards, that is).
How exactly you apply it is up to you. Some like Dave Ramsey may suggest paying off the smallest first to give you the most confidence that you can get out of debt. Others may advocate for paying off the one with the highest interest rate first.
Really, it is up to you how you want to do it. I don’t know you, nor does Dave Ramsey, or any other financial calculator. Smart money says that you should pay off the high interest debt first, however if you are liable to go get back into more debt, you might want to take a look at a Dave Ramsey course. Or even some group to help you emotionally as you pay it off. However, you should not use your stimulus money to invest in joining a group or buying some course, just towards the debt.
3. Invest Your Stimulus Money in Yourself!
No don’t eat the money. But, remember Rich Dad Poor Dad, “Mind your business.”
You are a business, you have income and expenses. You also are a person. If you are not healthy, physically or mentally, then what is the point of growing money? Remember, health is wealth.
Now, this does not give you permission to go and spend it all on gym clothes thinking that it will “motivate you.” However, if there is something you need that will help you overall as a person, go for it!
A few examples, maybe you have been really avoiding seeing a mental health professional because of the co-pay. First of all, this is something that should be budgeted for. Second, well here you go $600 could really help towards a high deductible plan, or even for covering many co-pays. If you are not well mentally, it makes this whole thing harder.
It is winter, maybe you have some sort of medical condition where a few extra bucks would help. Perhaps your New Year’s resolution was to lose a few pounds, maybe you can find something that will help you with that.
Also, maybe you want to learn a new skill? Investing your stimulus money to learn a skill that will make you much more money in the long run is totally worth it! Maybe it is coding, web development, perhaps it is something related to the medical field to get your foot in the door at a place with benefits.
There are many ways to invest in yourself. You know you. Don’t use it as an excuse to blow it on something you don’t need or won’t do.
4. Start a Business/Side Hustle
You could always invest your stimulus money by adding an additional income stream. $600 is plenty to get going with so many different businesses. Done successfully, this could scale to something big!
I wrote my most popular post thus far showing different side hustles one could do. There are many videos out there right now of people who are flipping couches. $600 is the perfect seed stock to get some couches going and turn that $600 to $1200 in a few weeks.
Obviously, that idea doesn’t appeal to everyone, there are literally hundreds of businesses you can start for $100, let alone $600. Here is a link to Entrepreneur.com where they made a list of over 100 businesses you can start for less than $100!
This may not be for everyone. But if you are still grinding it out towards your path to wealth, an extra $5K-$10K/year for the Average Joe can be super helpful. This is how you get rich, in case you forgot!
These side hustles and extra businesses really come in handy when there is an economic downturn. Provided your side hustle is still there, you may have another source of income in case you lost your primary income stream. If not, then maybe it can fund your IRA! See #1!
5. Rental (Home) Improvements
Let me clarify. This does not mean buying new curtains, or new tools to play with.
If you own a rental property, $600 can go a long way to either covering a repair, or enhancing the value of your property. For $600, a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for an apartment. In fact, you could probably do many apartments for $600 if you paint them yourself.
Increasing the aesthetic value could mean increasing the rent. Increasing the rent by providing a better unit means more income for you. It also increases the value of your rental when you go to sell. So for a measly $600, how far can you stretch it?
Remember flooring. We have re-done old dirty flooring in walk in closets and utility rooms for around $30/each. Keeping your eyes out at any hardware stores for discounted flooring could help you in your search.
We have replaced all the electric heaters in an apartment for $300 (hire an electrician if you don’t know what to do). I’ve seen bathroom vanity’s on sale for $100. Heck, you could even potentially add a shed on your rental and add an additional income stream! Or again, just increase the value of your rental. It may even keep your tenant happy saving you turnover costs.
Invest your stimulus in your rental properties! You may end up with an ROI much greater than the $600 you invested.
Don’t take this opportunity for granted. Many people are being given a choice right now. Unfortunately, I think that quite a few people are going to be spending this money on something very soon instead of investing in their future. Don’t be that person. I’m not complaining about getting $600, I’m looking at it as a challenge to see what I can do with it! What are you going to do with yours?