How much should you be investing? Here’s what experts have to say (2024)

If you’re new to investing, you might be asking yourself how much you should invest, or if you even have enough money to invest. The truth is: you don’t have to wait until you have hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank to start investing.

Investing can look different across demographics and tax brackets. Determining how much you should be investing starts by taking stock of your unique financial situation and then figuring out an investment strategy that works for you and your budget.

How much should you invest?

Many of the experts we spoke with suggested, as a general rule, to invest a set percentage of your after-tax income. Although that percentage can vary depending on your income, savings, and debts. “Ideally, you’ll invest somewhere around 15%–25% of your post-tax income,” says Mark Henry, founder and CEO at Alloy Wealth Management. “If you need to start smaller and work your way up to that goal, that’s fine. The important part is that you actually start.”

Some budgeting strategies account for this, such as the 50/30/20 budgeting strategy, which breaks your monthly budget into three categories: your needs (50%), wants (30%), and the remaining 20% for debt repayment, savings, and investments.

For some, investing 10% of their monthly income isn’t feasible, but that shouldn’t be a reason to not invest altogether.

According to the Pew Research Center, even among families who earn less than $35,000 per year, one-in-five have assets in the stock market. Investing is less about how much you’re investing and more about how much time your investment has to compound or appreciate in value.

“[It’s] all about balancing financial priorities,” says Jeremy Bohne, Founder at Paceline Wealth Management, LLC. “This starts with near-term cash needs [such as] large purchases [or] [an] emergency fund, and once that is achieved the priority is understanding cash flow [or] excess money that can be invested against what would be needed to achieve one’s financial goals, like retiring at a certain age.”

If investing 15% of your income sounds like more than your budget can handle, you can start with a set dollar amount and be consistent about it. Investing even a few dollars each month can sometimes be enough to see a return if you’re using the right investment strategy.

Consider the current state of your finances

In some cases, investing even $10 can feel like you’re stretching your budget too thin if your financial house isn’t in order. Before landing on how much you want to set aside, consider these key factors:

  1. Your income: Take a close look at your monthly income and consider how much money you have leftover after you’ve covered your non-negotiable expenses. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, you may want to prioritize putting extra funds into an emergency savings account or toward a debt payment.
  2. Your debt balances: Debt, especially high-interest debt, can become very difficult to manage if you don’t have a plan in place to pay those balances down. Take a look at how much you owe and the corresponding interest rates. Determine how much you can comfortably afford to invest, while still making at least the minimum payments on your debts. As you pay down your debt, you can revisit how much you’re investing each month and increase it accordingly.
  3. Your emergency savings: According to the latest data from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, 24% of consumers have no savings set aside for emergencies, and 39 percent have less than a month of income saved for emergencies. Having an emergency fund is crucial if you hope to avoid taking on debt when the unexpected happens. If you’re still working on building up three to six months’ worth of essential expenses, consider investing a smaller amount of your available income while you work to hit that benchmark.

Settle on your investing goals

Setting clear investment goals can help you determine if you’re investing the right amount, at the right time, and in the right mix of assets. It can help you set a timeline for yourself and give you a starting point for how much you need to start investing, and what that will translate to for your monthly or yearly budget.

Think about:

  • What you’re investing for: Perhaps you’re investing for retirement, or maybe your end goal is to purchase a home or fund your child’s education. Deciding what your end goal is can help you set a realistic timeline for reaching your goal and make it easier to land on how aggressively you should be investing to make those goals a reality.
  • What your timeline looks like: Your timeline will look different depending on what your goal is. If your end goal is retirement, depending on when you start investing, you could have decades to invest and grow your retirement fund. You have the flexibility to start small and gradually increase those contributions over time as your income increases. This timeline could look different if you’re investing for a shorter-term goal like purchasing a home or retiring early.
  • Your risk tolerance: Investing will always involve some level of risk, regardless of the kind of asset you’re investing in. Ask yourself how comfortable you feel with assuming that risk. “Beginner investors should think carefully through the mix of investments they’d like to have in their portfolio, as it’s good to have diversity,” says Michael Wang, CEO and founder at Prometheus Alternative Investments. “Traditionally high risk-high reward investments, like cryptocurrency or growth-focused stocks, offer more volatility for investors. For those looking to take less risk in their portfolios, traditionally safer investments include treasury bonds, money market funds, and “blue chip” stocks that pay dividends to investors.”

Reevaluate periodically

Expect that your investment strategy can and likely will change over time. It’s important to check in with yourself and your budget regularly to make sure that the amount you’re investing each month still feels reasonable. In some cases, you might decide to invest more if you see an increase in your income, or you might decide to hit pause on contributing more to your investment account if you’ve recently experienced some sort of financial hardship.

“Investments should be re-evaluated on a month to month basis. Especially now, as macro conditions change frequently,” says Wang. “Investors should take notice of how their investments are doing and might want to consider adjusting their investment strategy.”

How much should you be investing? Here’s what experts have to say (2024)


How much should you be investing? Here’s what experts have to say? ›

While 15% seems to be the benchmark of how much to invest, the reality is it really depends on your end goal.

How much money should you be investing? ›

Generally, experts recommend investing around 10-20% of your income. But the more realistic answer might be whatever amount you can afford. If you're wondering, “how much should I be investing this year?”, the answer is to invest whatever amount you can afford!

How much does Dave Ramsey say you should invest? ›

There's a good reason you should invest 15% of your income. The math breaks down as follows. According to Ramsey, the median U.S. household income is about $70,800. Investing 15% of this amount would be $10,620 a year, or $885 a month.

How much of your income do experts say you should save? ›

This budgeting rule states that you should allocate 50 percent of your monthly income for essentials (such as housing, groceries and gas), 30 percent for wants and 20 percent for savings.

How much of your worth should you invest? ›

However, a general rule of thumb is to invest between 10-15% of your net worth. If you're extremely conservative with your investments, you may want to keep your investment level closer to 10%. On the other hand, if you're willing to take on more risk for the potential of higher returns, you may want to aim for 15%.

Is $100 a week enough to invest? ›

Invest $100 per week in dividend stocks

Investors should allocate $100 each week and buy shares of dividend-paying companies equipped with strong fundamentals. So, if you invest $100 a week, your equity portfolio would balloon to $5,200 in a year and $26,000 in five years.

Is $100 a month enough to invest? ›

Investing $100 per month, with an average return rate of 10%, will yield $200,000 after 30 years. Due to compound interest, your investment will yield $535,000 after 40 years. These numbers can grow exponentially with an extra $100. If you make a monthly investment of $200, your 30-year yield will be close to $400,000.

How much is $100 a month for 40 years? ›

According to Ramsey's tweet, investing $100 per month for 40 years gives you an account value of $1,176,000.

What are the 4 funds Dave Ramsey recommends? ›

And to go one step further, we recommend dividing your mutual fund investments equally between four types of funds: growth and income, growth, aggressive growth, and international.

What is the 80 20 rule Dave Ramsey? ›

There's an 80-20 rule for money Dave Ramsey teaches which says managing your finances is 80 percent behavior and 20 percent knowledge. This 80-20 rule also applies to constructing a healthy life. Personal wellness is 80 percent behavior and 20 percent knowledge.

How much do I need to retire at 60? ›

And by age 60, you should have six to 11 times your salary saved in order to be considered on track for retirement. For example, a 35-year-old earning $60,000 would be on track if she's saved about $60,000 to $90,000.

What is the $1000 a month rule for retirement? ›

The $1,000-a-month retirement rule says that you should save $240,000 for every $1,000 of monthly income you'll need in retirement. So, if you anticipate a $4,000 monthly budget when you retire, you should save $960,000 ($240,000 * 4).

What is a good monthly retirement income? ›

Let's say you consider yourself the typical retiree. Between you and your spouse, you currently have an annual income of $120,000. Based on the 80% principle, you can expect to need about $96,000 in annual income after you retire, which is $8,000 per month.

What is the safest investment with the highest return? ›

These seven low-risk but potentially high-return investment options can get the job done:
  • Money market funds.
  • Dividend stocks.
  • Bank certificates of deposit.
  • Annuities.
  • Bond funds.
  • High-yield savings accounts.
  • 60/40 mix of stocks and bonds.
5 days ago

What is a good net worth by age? ›

Average net worth by age
Age by decadeAverage net worthMedian net worth
4 more rows

How much do I need to invest to make $1000 a month? ›

A stock portfolio focused on dividends can generate $1,000 per month or more in perpetual passive income, Mircea Iosif wrote on Medium. “For example, at a 4% dividend yield, you would need a portfolio worth $300,000.

Is $5,000 enough to start investing? ›

The possibilities widen at the $5,000 level. You have more options for mutual funds, individual company shares, index funds, IRAs, and for investing in real estate. While $5,000 isn't enough to purchase property or even to make a down payment, it's enough to get a stake in real estate in other ways.

Is investing $1,000 a month a lot? ›

Investing $1,000 a month may seem like a big task, as it's a total of $12,000 per year. But the average full-time worker earned $59,540 in the last quarter of 2022. So, investing $12,000 a year would mean putting away about 20% of your annual income if you earn around the average salary.

Is it worth investing $20,000? ›

£20,000 is a great amount to invest and – if you make the right choices – can make a real difference to your future financial security. Get the lowdown on how to invest £20,000 in 2024 to make sure you make the right decisions for you.

Is $1,000 enough to start investing? ›

If it's your first time investing, you may want to invest $1,000 in an exchange-traded fund (ETF). A beginner-friendly alternative to traditional mutual funds, ETFs contain a mix of stocks, bonds, and other securities, giving you access to a broad range of asset classes within a single fund.


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