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Once, not too long ago, being able to invest in mutual funds meant that you had a lot of extra money to spend. They were investment vehicles that had serious requirements, including an initial investment of thousands of dollars and the promise that you wouldn't touch them.
Mutual funds are still pretty strict about what they can and cannot allow users to do, but the regulations have relaxed a bit. These days, it's possible to find good, low-cost mutual funds for every budget—even if you're the person who's just started their first job.
Wondering which funds are worth checking out? Here's the scoop on the best ones in each category of minimum deposits.
$0 Minimum Investment: Schwab S&P 500 Index (SWPPX)
A lot of the best mutual funds for every budget come from Charles Schwab, primarily because they offer good returns, lots of safety, and have much lower than average minimum investments. This, in turn, makes them accessible to everyone.
The Schwab S&P 500 Index (SWPPX) has a very low expense ratio, returns that average far above the norm, and a composition that's composed of over 80 percent stocks from the S&P 500 Index.
So, yes, this is technically an index fund that also happens to be a mutual fund. Either way, it's an amazing investment vehicle for people who can't quite scrape together too much money.
$100 Minimum Investment: Schwab Balanced Fund (SWOBX)
Let's say you're just beginning to invest in the stock market, and you really aren't able to pull together too much money. Aside from downloading apps to help you save money on regular purchases, you will probably have to find a mutual fund that doesn't have the standard minimum investment amount.
Though this definitely ranks as low cost, the Schwab Balanced Fund definitely has a lot to offer. It has around 55 percent stocks and equities, with the rest being in fixed-income items for added security.
SWOBX is one of the best mutual funds for every budget, primarily because it beats market growth and offers a lot of risk mitigation without heavy costs per year.
$100 Minimum Investment: Schwab Fundamental US Large Company Index Fund (SFLNX)
Another option, if you have a spare $100 around, is the Schwab Fundamental US Large Company Index Fund (SFLNX), which uses "smart beta" technology to create a portfolio of the best 623 companies in the Russell 3000 index.
In plain English, all the stocks picked in SFLNX are designed to outperform the market. If you're looking for high returns, cutting-edge research to performance, and ease of access, this is it.
Truthfully, the kind of technology involved in this fund prove that there are mutual funds for every budget that are high quality, low-cost, and good trading options.
$250 Minimum Investment: American Funds Growth Fund of America (AGTHX)
Rated as one of the "Best of the Best" by Morningstar, the American Funds Growth Fund of America currently rests as one of the best mutual fund for every budget out there.
The minimum investment is only $250, and for that, you get a very affordable mutual fund that has great growth in relation to its risk. Expenses are very low, at around $66 for every $10,000 you put in.
Getting AGTHX into your portfolio means you'll have shares of stock from companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon helping you make your money work for you. Many of the stocks in AGTHX are stocks billionaires own in their own portfolio, by the way. Not bad, eh?
$500 Minimum Investment: Homestead Small Company Stock (HSCSX)
The truth is that you can't expect to rely on major companies if you want to see amazing returns, and that's why you will need to look for more small-business-oriented mutual funds, too. It's hard to find these kinds of mutual funds for every budget, but Homestead Small Company Stock (HSCSX) makes for a great example.
This mutual fund has magnificent returns, low fees, and even managed to make the Kiplinger 25 due to its excellent management. Needless to say, this gets a thumbs up. So far, this fund averages out at a 12% return—way more than most others in its price range.
$1,000 Minimum Investment: Hussman Strategic Total Return Fund (HSTRX)
The Hussman Strategic Total Return Fund (HSTRX) is one of those few mutual funds that works that does strategic allocation as a way to decrease the expenses required to run the fund. Unlike many of the others offerings you'll find among mutual funds for every budget, HSTRX works by using hedge fund tactics to maximize return.
This is one of those funds that's ideal for people who are worried about stock volatility and want to ensure that they get the right piece of the pie for them. This is notoriously low-risk, however, it also is a relatively low reward fund.
$3,000 Minimum Investment: Vanguard Explorer Fund Investor Class (VEXPX)
Vanguard's mutual funds have long been a favorite among investors—and understandably so! They are known for having exceptionally low expense rates, excellent returns, and remain some of the strongest mutual funds in their class.
The thing about Vanguard is that they really don't offer mutual funds for every budget. You often will need a couple of thousand dollars to get into their game. Their most aggressive mutual fund, the Vanguard Explorer Fund Investor Class (VEXPX), requires $3,000 as a minimum investment.
This mutual fund has about 600 different stocks that compose it, making it a solid option for long term investors.
$2,500 Minimum Investment: Dodge & Cox Stock (DODGX)
Dodge & Cox Stock (DODGX) has become one of the finance industry's darlings, and for good reason. This mutual fund is a large-cap fund that has gained a following due to its low expenses, high returns, and excellent management.
Dodge & Cox has become a favorite for people who want a more traditional, but low-expense mutual fund. Admittedly, the minimum investment puts it out of many peoples' reach, but it's a great option for those who want to have expert management involved.
$25,000 Minimum Investment: Direxion Mthly NASDAQ-100 Bull 2X Fund (DXQLX)
Those who have $25,000 to their name will love to know that they can invest in one of the highest-return mutual funds for every budget over $10,000. Way lower-than-average expense rates, combined with annualized returns of over 21 percent in a 10-year span make this a majorly profitable mutual fund.
The Direxion Mthly NASDAQ-100 Bull 2X Fund (DXQLX) is one that will help your wealth boom in price. Some years, it gives returns as high as 70 percent or more. Need we say any more?
$1 Million Minimum Investment: Columbia Dividend Opportunity Inst3 (CDOYX)
Are you already loaded due to a random inheritance? Well, you might be able to afford the Columbia Dividend Opportunity Inst3 (CDOYX). This is one of the best mutual funds for any budget over $1 million, primarily because it has great performance and also is geared towards giving you more dividends.
More dividends, of course, means you get more money to do whatever you want with. This mutual fund is extremely sustainable, which makes it a great vehicle for long term gains.