Richard Jenkins over at MS Money thinks people can Start Investing With Just $100. He suggests starting out by buying the Vanguard Total Market Viper (VTI). He also says that the only brokerage he found with no minimums and relatively low fees is
Their cheapest plan allows for $4 trades but they ARE NOT real time trades. These trades take place on Tuesdays and you do not get to pick the price they buy at, which means you probably aren’t getting the best price. However, with a relatively small amount to invest, it probably doesn’t make much difference.
Your first $100 is only the beginning. Your next goal should be to save up additional amounts to invest. The best solution is to get on some sort of automatic investment program (Sharebuilder can set something up for you) and invest a regular amount once a month or quarter. As Richard suggests, you could even spread your investments around to build a diversified portfolio.
Keep in mind that Sharebuilder isn’t a good long-term solution. Once you build up an account of $2,500 – $5,000, you can avoid those $4 commissions by moving to Vanguard and investing in index mutual funds, which do not have commissions.
The other thing you can do is simply save your money until you have at least $2,500 and then go the mutual fund route. However, there is something about investing that empowers you to invest more and could be just the thing to get you on the road to building wealth.