How do you recognize when you are ready to start investing?

I am curious what your thoughts are on investing at 23 years old with only a couple hundred dollars to play with right now. I have roughly $200-$250 that I want to start using to invest in order to grow the money. Am I better off waiting until I have more to play with? If so, how much is a good number to start investing? Should I proceed forward and start investing money into companies for short-term gains so I'm able to put said gains into more long-term investments?

Investing, Starting Out
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2 weeks ago
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From the standpoint of preparing for the future, you're certainly thinking the right way.  The sooner you begin, the better off you will be.  Although many folks wait until the years before retirement, it's much more helpful to get going now and take the long view.  With that said, however, you would be well advised to consider making regular contributions, however small, to a broadly diversified investment vehicle rather than what amounts to the highly risky practice of buying a few stocks and keeping your fingers crossed.  May I suggest a combination of two exchange-traded funds: VTI, Vanguard Total U.S. Stock Market ETF, and VXUS, Vanguard Total International Stock Market ETF.  They are about $125 and $52, respectively, so you could buy 1 share of VTI and 2 shares of VXUS to get started.  The trades can be done through online brokerage houses (Schwab, TD Ameritrade, etc.) for $5-7 each.  As funds are available, you can add to these holdings.

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