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How much money should you have before you can start investing?

More than half of people think they need to earn at least $60,000 a year to begin investing in non-traditional assets such as hedge funds.


Investment planing and strategy concept. financial data analysis graph business analytics and intelligence of finance performance.

Nearly eight in 10 Americans feel confident in their investing knowledge, according to a recent survey — but the data suggests they still have a lot to learn.

A poll of 2,001 U.S. residents found that while people’s confidence in investing differed based on their household income, many shared similar knowledge gaps regardless of their earnings.

Eighty-two percent of those with an annual income over $150,000 felt certain of their investing smarts, compared to only 34% of those making under $30,000.

Those same high-income respondents were also much more likely to express confidence in making investment decisions than the lowest-income ones did (76% vs. 31%).

However, eight in 10 of all respondents drew a blank when asked to explain what a “bond” is — and while nearly six in 10 claimed to be familiar with the concept of “hedge funds,” seven in 10 couldn’t match it with the corresponding definition.

Commissioned by CARL and conducted by OnePoll, the survey also found that a third of current non-investors don’t believe they have enough money to start. 

More than half think they need to earn at least $60,000 a year to begin investing in non-traditional assets such as hedge funds.

That may be why 57% of people earning less than $60,000 have never invested, compared to only 18% of those making at least $90,000.

On average, people think 22% of their income should go toward investing.

“Our data shows there’s a correlation between income and investing confidence, but not necessarily investing knowledge,” said Gunnar Cuevas, CEO of CARL, a hedge fund platform and investing app. “For instance, many think they need more money to begin investing than they generally do. Approximately one-third of the respondents who had never invested indicated that the primary reason was not having enough money to do so. In reality, no amount is too small to begin investing with.”

Where people learn about investing also differs based on their earnings, as those making under $90,000 were most likely to cite friends and family as resources. 

Meanwhile, those in the $90,000 to $149,999 range typically rely on financial advisers, and those who earn more than $150,000 turn to investment websites.

Among the assets believed to be most high-risk are cryptocurrency (57%) and stocks/bonds (56%), much more so than mutual funds and annuity (38%). 

Despite their alignment on the level of risk involved with stock investing, respondents were divided on whether it’s “just luck” or not, with 41% thinking it’s a toss of the dice.

Respondents were also asked how they’d use an extra $1 million. Most (35%) would buy a new house or property, while 33% would opt for alternative investment funds, such as hedge funds or venture capital, or would place their money toward stocks and bonds.

General opinions toward hedge funds differed by region, with Westerners the most likely to express a very positive sentiment, especially compared to their Southwestern neighbors (43% vs. 18%).

Most survey takers associated hedge funds with investing (41%), wealth (38%) and risk (34%) — more so than with scandals and politics (27%).

Four in 10 who seek alternative investment options (such as hedge funds) do so in search of higher returns. 

“Technology, today, can deliver tailored experiences at scale” Cuevas added. “Now, new and experience investors have more options to learn and begin investing in alternative assets, including hedge funds” 


  • “The Wolf of Wall Street” - 23%
  • “Wall Street” - 22%
  • “Billions” - 20%
  • “Mad Money” - 20%
  • “American Psycho” - 19%
  • “The Money Pit” - 19%
  • “Trading Places” - 19%
  • “The Big Short” - 18%
  • “The China Hustle” - 18%
  • “Boiler Room” - 17%

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