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May 14, 2024

Best ways to invest $10K

By Team Stash
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Investing $10,000 can feel like standing at the brink of countless paths, each leading to different destinations. It’s a significant amount of money, enough to open doors to new opportunities, yet it also comes with a weight of responsibility. For beginner investors, the variety of investment options can seem overwhelming. Before making any decisions, consider factors such as your time frame, risk tolerance, desired returns, and overall goals.

In this guide, we will explore several effective ways to allocate your $10,000 investment in 2024, ensuring that you’re not only securing your financial future but also taking smart steps based on informed choices.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  1. Pay off high interest debt
  2. Build your emergency fund
  3. Saving for short-term goals
  4. Contribute to a 401(k) 
  5. Contribute to a Roth IRA
  6. Build a portfolio with a robo-advisor 
  7. Invest in ETFs
  8. Invest in your future-self 

1. Take care of immediate needs first

Best for: Those with high-interest debt

Before considering any form of investment, it’s wise to assess and manage your high-interest debts. The interest rates on some credit cards can soar up to 30% annually, far surpassing the potential returns of most investments. Strategically paying off these debts can save you more in the long run than any investment could yield.

Consider methods like the avalanche or snowball debt repayment strategies to efficiently manage and prioritize high-interest debts. This initial step is crucial for setting a solid financial foundation.

2. Build your emergency fund

Best for: Anyone without a financial safety net

An emergency fund is a shock absorber for life’s unpredictabilities. Before immersing yourself in the investment world, safeguarding your financial stability with an emergency fund is essential. An ideal emergency fund should cover 3-6 months’ worth of expenses, providing peace of mind and security against unforeseen financial challenges. 

Remember, the primary goal here is accessibility and liquidity, ensuring that you can meet unexpected costs with no trouble pulling money from where you’re holding it. For an emergency fund, consider keeping it somewhere accessible like your traditional savings account or a high yield savings account.

3. Consider saving short-term goals

Best for: Those planning to use the money within one to three years

Short-term financial goals range from saving for vacations to larger purchases such as a vehicle or down payment on a house. Separating funds for these goals is crucial to avoid tapping into long-term investments prematurely.

  • High-Yield savings accounts: A high yield savings account offers higher interest rates than traditional savings accounts and are perfect for funds you need short-term access to.
  • Money market accounts:A money market account provides higher yield than savings accounts and typically includes check-writing privileges.
  • Short-term Certificates of Deposit (CDs): A CD locks in funds at a fixed interest rate higher than savings accounts for periods that align with your goals.
  • Short-term bonds or bond funds: A short-term bond/ can offer safer investment opportunities with relatively quick returns suitable for short-term needs.
Investor tip: Earn money on your cash. Set aside what you need for regular spending, then maximize the interest you earn on excess cash by comparing high yield savings accounts, money market funds, and U.S. Treasurys.

4. Contribute to a 401(k) 

Best for: Those saving for retirement 

A 401(k) is a retirement savings plan offered by employers that allows employees to contribute a portion of their salary on a tax-deferred basis, with the potential for employer matching contributions. If your employer offers a 401(k) with matching contributions, taking full advantage of this benefit can significantly amplify your retirement savings. 

Essentially, employer matching is ‘free’ money, an immediate return on your investment (though this is really part of your benefits package from the company, so take advantage of your benefits). In 2024, the current yearly contribution limit is $23,000 a year or $30,500 if you’re 50 or older.

Potential for immediate return on investment through employer matching contributions.Employers may have specific criteria for matching contributions, such as a minimum percentage of your salary that you must contribute. 
Contributions are deducted from your taxable income, reducing your tax liability.Withdrawing funds before the age of 59 ½ may incur taxes and penalties.
401(k) contributions can be invested in various options such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds for potential long-term growth.Employers may only offer a limited selection of investment options.

5. Consider maxing out your Roth IRA

Best for: Those who want tax-free income in retirement

A Roth IRA is an individual retirement account that is funded with after-tax dollars, unlike a 401(k) which is funded with pre-tax dollars. This means that while contributions to a Roth IRA are not tax-deductible, the distributions in retirement are tax-free, making it an attractive option for those seeking tax-free growth on their investments.

Contributing to a Roth IRA allows your investments to grow tax-free, with withdrawals in retirement also being tax-free. With $10,000, you can fully fund your Roth IRA for the year and diversify with other investments. The current yearly contribution limit for 2024 is $7,000 a year or $8,000 if you’re 50 or older.

Tax-free growth and withdrawals in retirement.Only individuals under specific income levels can contribute to a Roth IRA, limiting accessibility for some investors.
No minimum distribution requirements, providing more flexibility in retirement planning.Withdrawing earnings from a Roth IRA before the age of 59 ½ may incur taxes and penalties.
Diversification with other investments for long-term growth potential.Unlike traditional IRAs or 401(k)s, contributions to a Roth IRA are not tax-deductible. 
Take control of your tomorrow with an IRA.

Set aside money for retirement and save on taxes with a traditional or Roth IRA.

6. Build a portfolio with a robo-advisor 

Best for: New investors wanting support or hands-off investors

For beginners or those with limited investment knowledge, using a robo-advisor can be a smart and efficient way to start investing and grow your wealth. A robo-advisor is an online platform that uses algorithms to create and manage investment portfolios for individuals. They offer a hands-off approach to investing, making it easy for beginners to start investing with little knowledge or experience. 

To start investing using a robo-advisor, all you need to do is answer a few questions about your risk tolerance, financial goals, and timeline. Based on your responses, the robo-advisor will recommend a diversified portfolio that aligns with your needs and goals. 

With a $10,000 investment, a robo-advisor can effectively manage your portfolio by automatically rebalancing it as needed and investing in low-cost index funds or ETFs. This allows for cost-effective and efficient management of your investments, ultimately maximizing potential returns. Additionally, robo-advisors typically have lower fees than traditional financial advisors, making them a more affordable option for managing your investments.  

Low fees compared to traditional financial advisors.Lack of human advice and personalized guidance may not suit all investors.
Offer automated, hands-off investment management, making it ideal for beginners or busy individuals.Limited control over investment decisions.
Utilize algorithms and diversification strategies to optimize portfolios based on your risk appetite and goals.May not adjust to market changes as quickly as a traditional financial advisor might.
Infographic of Stash's self-managed investment account, its benefits, and a special offer that waives the subscription fee for your first month if you sign up.
Infographic about Stash's Smart Portfolio, its benefits, and recognition as the number one robo-advisor of 2023.

7. Invest in ETFs

Best for: Investors looking for diversification with each investment

Exchange traded funds (ETFs) are investment vehicles that track a specific index (like the S&P 500 or Dow Jones) or sector and can be bought and sold on stock exchanges, similar to stocks. They provide instant diversification as they typically hold a basket of assets, such as stocks, bonds, or commodities. This allows for lower risk compared to investing in individual stocks. 

Additionally, ETFs have lower costs compared to mutual funds as they are passively managed, meaning they do not require active management by a fund manager. ETFs also offer flexibility as they can be traded throughout the day like stocks, making them a convenient option for investors who want to take advantage of market fluctuations. To invest in an ETF, you can buy shares through a brokerage account or online trading platform

Lower costs compared to mutual funds or other actively managed investments.While this is a pro in terms of lower costs, it may also mean missing out on potential gains from actively managed investments. 
Instant diversification, reducing overall risk.As with any diversified investment, you may not have much control over the specific assets included in the ETF.
Flexibility in trading, allows for taking advantage of market fluctuations. ETFs are still subject to market fluctuations and can experience significant losses during downturns.
Investor tip: Choose low-fee ETFs. It’s safer to invest in ETFs, or baskets of assets, than in any one asset. 

8. Invest in your future-self

Best for: every single one of you

Investing in personal and professional growth can offer unparalleled returns. Whether it’s furthering your education, attending a significant industry conference, or acquiring new skills, investing in yourself is always beneficial. These investments can lead to career advancements, salary increases, and personal satisfaction—returns that can far exceed those of traditional investments.

Continuously improving and increasing your value makes you an attractive candidate for higher-paying job opportunities, promotions, and even entrepreneurship ventures. Ultimately, investing in yourself is an investment that yields invaluable returns for your future self.  So, never underestimate the power of investing in personal growth and development. As they say, the best investment you can make is in yourself. 

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FAQs about how to invest $10K

Still have questions about how to invest $10,000? Find answers below. 

What is the best thing to invest 10k in?

The best thing to invest $10,000 in depends on your personal financial goals and risk tolerance. Some options discussed include investing in stocks, bonds, real estate, robo-advisors, ETFs, and yourself through personal and professional growth. Each option has its pros and cons that should be carefully considered before making a decision. It’s important to have a diverse investment portfolio and seek professional advice when necessary.

Where to put 10K right now?

If you’re looking to invest $10,000 right now, it’s crucial to first understand your financial goals and risk tolerance. Some recommended options include opening a brokerage account and investing in stocks or ETFs, putting money into a high-yield savings account for short-term goals, or investing in your personal and professional growth. It’s also important to diversify your investments and consult with a financial advisor for personalized advice based on your specific financial situation.


Written by

Team Stash

Investment account
Stash does not monitor whether a customer is eligible for a particular type of IRA or a tax deduction. Clients should consult with a tax advisor.
Roth IRA: Withdrawals of the money (Contributions) you put in are penalty and tax free. Prior to age 59 1/2, withdrawals of interest and earnings are subject to income tax and a 10% penalty. All earnings are tax free at age 59 1/2 or older, assuming your first contribution was more than 5 years prior. Income Eligibility applies.
While you can fund both an IRA and 401(k) in the same year, some income limits could apply.
Smart Portfolio
7. This is a Discretionary Managed Account whereby Stash has full authority to manage. Diversification and asset allocation do not guarantee a profit, nor do they eliminate the risk of loss of principal. Stash does not guarantee any level of performance or that any client will avoid losses in the client’s account.


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