Dipping your foot in the investing pool for the first time can be nerve racking. You hear all these stories about people losing their hard earned cash and you don’t want to suffer the same fate. Being clueless about the right investments to make doesn’t help either. The good news is there are some apps on the market that make investing easy for beginners. You can start small and learn along the way. Here are our top picks.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a lot of money to start investing. All you need is the Acorns app and some spare change. Here’s how it works. When you create your account, you’ll be asked to link your debit and credit cards. From that point on, anytime you make a purchase, your total will be rounded to the nearest dollar and the difference is invested. Once you’ve accumulated at least five dollars, you can select one of their ready made portfolios. The choices range from conservative to aggressive options. Each portfolio contains a mix of ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) designed to optimize your return. If you’re an avid shopper, you’ll love their Found Money feature. Just shop with one of their featured partners and you’ll be rewarded with money in your Acorns account. So you have more to invest.
Acorns charges a monthly fee of $1/month. For account balances of $5,000 or more, you’ll pay 0.25% per year. College students with a valid .edu address can get a free account for up to four years.
When it comes to investing, you want to pay minimal fees so you keep more of your profits. Robinhood is great because they allow users to buy and sell stocks and ETFs commission-free. Normally, the fee for online trading runs around $9 per trade. Therefore, the savings can really add up. There’s also no minimum balance required to get started. Simply link your bank account, make a one-time transfer and you’re off to the races. Robinhood is best for people who’ve already done their homework and know exactly what they want to buy (or sell).
Another good option for first-time investors is the Stash app. Users can start building their wealth with as little as $5. We highly recommend using their Auto-Stash feature so saving becomes a natural habit. When you join, Stash will suggest a mix of investments that matches your level of risk. Ideally, this will be your first purchase. Their goal is to get you to invest in things you believe in so they group their offerings based on theme. For example, “Social Media Mania”. If you love Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, this is right up your alley. You can also choose from categories such as healthcare, clean energy and a host of others. Overall, they offer over 40 ETFs to investors.
All new members get their first month free. Afterwards, Stash charges $1 per month. It’s worth noting that there are no commissions or trade fees. Once your balance reaches $5,000, the fee becomes 0.25% per year.