You might think you’re too broke to start investing your money, but the reality is that you can actually start with as little as R100 a month.

However, since the main objective of investing is to create wealth over a long period, investing just R100 offers you very little exposure and thus smaller margins for returns.

If you’re able to spare R500 per month, here are the best ways to get the most out of long-term savings.

1. 32-day notice account

While this option won’t offer you the highest interest rate, it is by far the least risky investment option.

The interest rates offered on notice accounts are, however, slightly higher than the average savings account and gives you the option of accessing your funds 32 days after requesting the release.

Not having immediate access to your funds will help you resist the temptation to use the money and similar to savings accounts, most notice deposit accounts have tiered interest rates that increase as the savings balance rises.

2. Tax-free savings account

The beauty of a tax-free savings account is that it can double up as an emergency fund because you’ll be able to access your savings at any time with no tax charged on the growth of your investment, as long as you don’t exceed the annual threshold of R30 000 and the lifetime limit of R500 000.

Contributions for tax-free savings accounts start at R300 per month.

3. Unit trusts

“Another way that one can invest is in unit trusts. This option provides the man on the street with access to various asset classes to which one would not normally have access, such as shares and property. Contributions can start at R500 per month,” says FNB Financial Advisory Product Specialist Ester Ochse.

She advises that you ensure that the asset classes in which you invest are the right fit for your investment needs.

4. Retirement fund

Amendments to tax legislation now allows for a tax deduction of up to 27,5% on contributions of up to R350 000 for the year.

Members of provident funds and provident preservation funds enjoy tax rebates (up to 15%) equivalent to those earned by people who contribute to a retirement annuity or pension fund, meaning both member and employer contributions are now tax-deductible.

Previously, only employer contributions were tax-deductible.

Malusi Ndlovu, Head of Old Mutual Corporate Consultants, says that fund members now get tax breaks on the lump sum cash portion taken out at retirement.

“Contributions that aren’t deducted from tax can be used to reduce the amount of tax on the lump sum at retirement and even on the pension income,” Ndlovu says.

Individuals who opt to invest their savings in alternative vehicles outside of retirement funds or tax-free savings are saddled with tax on interest earned and share dividends earned – retirement fund members are absolved from these types of taxes.

Over the long term, the amount of money you end up saving from the tax breaks will give your savings balance a healthy boost.

Ndlovu says retirement funds are also a safer way of protecting your savings against creditors in the event that you become bankrupt because by law, they aren’t allowed access to your retirement fund savings.

“In the event that an individual is unable to meet their debt obligations or is declared insolvent, all their assets, with the exception of their retirement fund savings and certain long-term policy benefits, can be attached by creditors,” he advises.