Best ways to invest $1,000 now

Small start, big payoff
You may scoff at the idea of doing any investing right now. After all, times are tough. By some calculations, inflation-adjusted net worth of U.S. families was lower in 2010 than in 1989, and I doubt it's improved much since.

Not many people have cash to burn. And over the past decade or so, a lot of investors have lost big.

I hear you, and I fully support the common personal-finance mantra of socking away at least three months' salary for emergencies before you invest.

But it's also true that the time to start investing for retirement is now, not when you are a few years away from it. You'll get more bang for your buck if you start sooner rather than later.

Consider that $1,000 invested now at a 5% annual return -- a modest figure and hardly unrealistic -- will turn into more than $4,300 in 30 years. Furthermore, consider that if you scrape together a measly $100 annually to add to that, you could have about $11,300 in 30 years.

Let's say you have $1,000 to put toward your future. Consider the following six ways to invest it now..

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