If you don’t know how to invest money or where to invest for 2011 and beyond and you’re on a tight budget, this article is written for you. Some of the biggest and best fund companies in the world got that way by working with small investors directly. That’s not likely to change in 2011 and going into the future. Today the internet makes it easier to invest money than ever before.

Later I’ll name names and tell you exactly where to invest money for 2011 and going forward. When you’re done reading this article I suggest you go to your favorite search engine and enter keyword phrases like: “how to invest 2011, or where to invest 2011, or best funds 2011, or no-load funds”. Look at the companies who pay for top billing, the sponsor sites. They want you to invest with them and some hult private capital reviews of these are the best mutual fund companies in existence.

Now, here’s how to invest $200 or more once you’ve checked the best fund companies out on the internet. Call their toll free number and tell them you want to invest money each month in an automatic investment plan and would like a starter kit and other info sent to you. There will be no charge (with the best fund companies) and you’ll be able to talk with a representative any time you need help in the future. Here’s how to pick funds to invest in based on your objectives.

HOW TO INVEST FOR SAFETY: Money market funds are safe and pay interest in the form of dividends. In 2011 interest rates in general will likely still be low in these funds and at your local bank as well. The advantage with money funds is that when rates go up in the future the interest you earn will automatically follow current trends. Invest money in these funds for safety and flexibility. You can always move some of this money to other funds at no charge if you’re with one of the best fund companies, to be named later.

HOW TO INVEST TO EARN MORE INTEREST: Bond funds offer higher interest income or dividends at a moderate level of risk, GENERALLY. Today’s low interest rates make the risk here greater than usual. Unlike money funds where the share price is always pegged at $1, the price or value of bond fund shares WILL FLUCUATE. When interest rates go up, their price will fall. There are two ways to deal with this risk in 2011 and beyond.

First, make sure you continue to invest the same dollar amount each month. This way when you invest money each month you will automatically buy more shares when the share price gets cheaper and fewer at high prices. This is called “dollar cost averaging”, which is a powerful tool for long-term investors. Second, pick intermediate-term bond funds or short-term funds vs. long-term ones. The shorter the term (average maturity) of a bond fund the lower the risk.

HOW TO INVEST FOR MORE PROFIT POTENTIAL: Equity funds invest in stocks and offer the prospect of higher returns over the long term as well as more risk. Expect the fund share price to fluctuate as the stock market does when you invest money here. There are two ways to reign in risk here as well. Go with DIVERSIFIED EQUITY-INCOME funds that invest in major corporations that pay dividends consistently. They are less volatile (risky) than growth funds that pay very little in dividends. Second, use dollar cost averaging to lower your average cost per share, just like you’re doing in your bond fund(s).

HOW TO INVEST IN ALL THREE OF THE ABOVE: Make sure that all of your dividends and other income earned (and capital gains) are automatically reinvested to buy more shares in the funds, and not sent to you. This is normal procedure in mutual funds for long term investors, and puts dollar cost averaging to work for you every time you earn income in a fund. With the best fund companies you can invest in an individual account if single or married, a joint account with your spouse, and/or an IRA if you want tax advantages and qualify.

Now, back to where to invest money in 2011 and beyond… the best fund companies. You could also call this list “where to invest money to save big money in sales charges and fund expenses”, because these fund companies offer funds with NO sales charges and with some of the lowest expenses in the business (especially the first one named). My long-time favorite fund companies are (and I have no affiliation with any of them): Vanguard, Fidelity, T Rowe Price, and American Century.

Go to your search engine and enter “no-load funds, or top fund companies, or best funds 2011”. You’ll likely see the above names; and you’re headed in the right direction for where to invest money in 2011 and beyond. You may also find another of my hundreds of articles if you search “best funds 2011”. Read on, and invest with the best.

A retired financial planner, James Leitz has an MBA (finance) and 35 years of investing experience. For 20 years he advised individual investors, working directly with them helping them to reach their financial goals.