3 Great Apps to Help You Invest
use your smartphone to build wealth and save for the future
Thanks to technology, investing can be as simple as downloading an app, connecting your bank account, and making a deposit. Gone are the days you must have hundreds, even thousands of dollars to start investing. For over a year now, I have been using three of the apps to invest money. Each app asks a series of questions to help you choose a risk level that best fits your financial goals and comfort level. Below you will find my reviews of these apps. I have graded each one based on its ease of use, multifunctionality, and cost. Whatever app you choose to invest your money, beware of hidden management fees and fees that switch to a percentage of assets once you reach a certain balance.
Disclaimer: I use an Android mobile device; I am not a licensed financial planner; and, I am not affiliated with any of the companies that develop these apps.
#3 | Stash
Ease of use: A-
Stash is user-friendly and, dare I say, even fun to use, but it can be a bit overwhelming with all of the statements, trade confirmations, and tax documents. With that being said, I love being able to choose the stocks and funds I invest in, like Starbucks and Amazon. Stash’s functionality is limited to investing (though it includes retirement and custodial accounts), spending, and earning. The app does include an educational component, which I appreciate. Stash is free to download and only $5 to get started plus $1, $3, or $9 per month depending on your financial goals. Features of the app include recurring deposits (schedule automatic daily, weekly, and monthly transfers from your bank account), Round-Ups (Stash will round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and invest your spare change), and a free debit card (earn Stock-Back™ rewards when you spend – spend at Amazon, get AMZN Stock-Back).
#2 | Acorns
Ease of use: A
Honestly, I didn’t like Acorns at first. I thought it was boring and one-dimensional. Now that it has become multifunctional, in my opinion it beats Stash in my opinion. It has also become more user-friendly, and I feel it has a cleaner appearance than Stash. Like Stash, Acorns offers a debit card that saves, invests, and earns for you but it is not free. Investing through the Acorns app costs $1, $2, or $3 per month until you have $1 million invested. Acorns Core (the basic account) at the $1 per month level is free for college students (for up to four years). Acorns includes an educational component like Stash, but I find that Acorns covers more financial topics than just investing. Features of the app include recurring deposits (automatic daily, weekly, and monthly investments), Round-Ups (invests spare change from everyday purchases), and Found Money (shop with Acorns’ partners and they’ll automatically invest in your Acorns Core account).
#1 | MoneyLion: Borrow, Save, Invest
Ease of use: A+
I raved about MoneyLion in an article I wrote last summer for Volume One, and I am still raving! At the time, I primarily used it to manage debt, but now I use it more as an investment tool. This app is free to download, offers zero-fee investing, and requires no minimum investment. This app has great ease of use and fantastic multifunctionality – from saving to investing to borrowing to building credit to credit monitoring to earning cashback rewards, MoneyLion has you covered. I love this app! The only downfall I have experienced so far is the lack-luster technical support when needed, but it is improving.
When searching for tools to invest, remember that the purpose of investing money is to grow it. So … let it grow, let it grow! (Sorry, I couldn’t hold it back anymore.) But, if you must withdraw your money, consult with your tax professional to understand how it will affect your tax return before you make the withdrawal. Some final words of advice: do your research before adding personal data and financial account information to any application and with apps that house personal data and connect to financial accounts, take extra precautions to protect yourself by enabling fingerprint login or a PIN for added security.