Micro-investing: how to grow your wealth with minimal effort

Playing the stock market used to be the domain of the wealthy elite. Now there are ways to trade with just a small amount and over time, learn as you earn. 


  • Micro-investing helps you build your savings and investments without needing a lot of money up front.
  • This involves investing a small amount of money regularly, even if it’s just a few dollars.
  • Apps like CommSec Pocket make it easy to set up and manage your investments right from your phone. 


Barriers that once prevented many people from trading in stocks came tumbling down about 15 years ago when the financial and tech worlds collided. The nature of investing evolved and new ways to enter the market were created – namely micro-investing, which removed the hurdle of large cash injections needed to get started.

“When I was 18, my parents had never invested in shares and it seemed intimidating,” says Steven Daghlian, a CommSec market analyst. He recalls being put off by overconfident people talking up the “next big thing”. Ignoring them, he took his time to do research before buying his first stocks in his early 20s. He could have moved faster if he’d had access to something like CommSec Pocket, an investing app from CommBank that’s one of several in the market helping to simplify the process of stock trading. Almost anyone can access them and get started with smaller amounts. “You can invest as little as $50 and learn how the market works as you trade,” Daghlian says.

While no investment is a sure bet, and markets can often be volatile, in general the longer you’re in it, the better. “Starting young can be helpful, and CommSec Pocket gives you access to different types of investments via exchange-traded funds (ETFs).” The ETF options Daghlian is referring to enable investors to buy units in exchange-traded funds – essentially baskets of shares or other investments grouped in themes, such as, in the case of CommSec Pocket, Global 100, Aussie Top 200, Sustainability Leaders and Tech Savvy. 

“If you don’t have experience in the market and haven’t done much research but are looking to start investing, it’s easier to make a wrong decision with individual shares,” Daghlian says. Each ETF is made up of a mix of many investments, smoothing your exposure and reducing your margin of error. “The Aussie Top 200, for example, tracks the 200 largest companies on the ASX, which would be difficult to do on your own, and invests a little bit across 200 stocks to build your portfolio.” 

Another barrier to holding a smaller balance sheet used to be high fees; that’s also changed. “The brokerage when you’re trading through the app is only $2 when you invest or sell up to $1000, whereas you’d pay more than that when you’re investing directly in shares,” explains Daghlian. “ETFs are mostly passively managed, which keeps management fees lower.” And importantly for small investors, CommSec Pocket doesn’t charge account-keeping fees.

For those who find themselves frozen on the starting blocks, keep this in mind: “There’s no right or wrong approach to shares and every investor is different,” says Craig James, Chief Economist at CommSec. “The main factor common to both big and small investors alike is a belief that the share market is a good place to grow wealth over time. If a micro-investor regularly invests in a range of ETFs, one potential benefit is reducing investment risk through diversification.”

Once you’ve settled on an ETF, you can make it easier for yourself to grow your wealth by setting up a recurring payment. This short-circuits our tendency to focus earnings on what is immediately in front of us, instead of spending that leads to long-term gains. “That regular recurring payment only needs to be a small one, like a Netflix subscription,” says James, noting that this can also take the emotion out of investing. “You’re not waiting to see if the market has risen or fallen – it’s automated.” Instead, you’re quietly growing your investments – and wealth – with very little effort.

Things you should know

Commonwealth Securities Limited ABN 60 067 254 399, AFSL 238814 (CommSec) is a wholly owned but non- guaranteed subsidiary of CBA. Investing carries risk. Consider the PDS and TMD for each ETF prior to making an investment decision. Fees & charges apply. 

This article was originally published in Brighter magazine

This article provides general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as personal financial product advice. The views expressed by contributors are their own and don’t necessarily reflect the views of CBA. As the information has been provided without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs, you should, before acting on this information, consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and Terms and Conditions, and whether the product is appropriate to your circumstances. You should also consider whether seeking independent professional legal, tax and financial advice is necessary. Every effort has been taken to ensure the information was correct as at the time of printing, but it may be subject to change. No part of the editorial contents may be reproduced or copied in any form without the prior permission and acknowledgement of CBA.