3 Apps to Help You Get Started with Investing

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This article was written by guest contributor, Danielle Desir. All thoughts expressed are solely those of the author.

Once you’ve got your budgeting process down and feel comfortable with saving regularly, you might find yourself wondering what else you can do with your money. If you’re looking for more ways to make your money work for you, it may be time to consider investing and investing apps can help you do that!

While investing in your retirement (IRA, 401k, 403b, etc) is highly recommended, today we are going to focus on ways you can start building wealth by investing in the stock market. 

Here are three investing apps that helped me get started, and can help you strengthen your investing acuity. 

Read More: 15 Terms to Know as an Absolute Beginner 

Best Investing Apps for New Investors 

Stash 

Stash is a micro-investing app that helps automate investing. With Stash, you can invest in fractional shares of single stocks and ETFs (exchange-traded funds).

Lowering the barrier to entry, investors who use Stash can start investing with as little as $5. 

So for example, although an Amazon (AMZN) stock costs $1,796 per share, as of August 12, 2019, you can invest in a partial share of Amazon stock for a minimum of $5 with Stash. Essentially with $5, you own 0.27% of one Amazon stock. Calculation $5 / $1,796 = 0.27% ownership. 

Stash helps new investors learn how to make investment decisions by allowing them to pick what goes into their portfolio. As with investing in single stocks, your Stash portfolio will go up and down based on market performance. Sell any of your fractional shares and withdraw money at any time. 

On the educational front, inside the app, Stash Learn has lots of informative articles that introduce users to concepts like dollar cost averaging and diversification. I highly recommend reading these articles to learn more about the ins and outs of investing.

Noteworthy Stash Features:

  • Discover and search for investments with Stash Invest 
  • Automate investing by setting your schedule – weekly, biweekly and monthly 
  • Get $5 for each friend you refer to the app

While Stash is great for newbies, the monthly subscription fee is expensive. Stash charges $1 to $9 a month depending on the account. This fee ultimately eats into your returns.

Acorns 

Acorns is a micro-investing app which helps you automate investing by investing your spare change. Similar to Stash you only need $5 to get started. 

By linking your bank account or credit card, Acorns keeps track of all your purchases and rounds-ups to the nearest dollar. It then invests your spare change in one of five ETF portfolios ranging from aggressive to conservative. These portfolios are based on your goals and risk tolerance. 

To invest even more money and build wealth even faster, add a round-up multiplier that doubles, triples or quadruples your round-ups. Set recurring investments on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. 

Noteworthy Acorns Features:

  • Acorns shares valuable money advice in their Grow Magazine 
  • Hands-off investing through automation 
  • No minimum balance, no monthly deposit required

Similar to Stash, Acorns has monthly maintenance fees ranging from $1 to $3 a month which cuts into the money you may make from your investments. Acorns Core (the first tier) is free for college students with a valid .edu email address. 

For those looking for cheaper alternatives with little to no fees, Vanguard and Fidelity charge lower fees. Nevertheless, Acorns is still a good choice for those who prefer a hands-off approach to investing or those who wouldn’t save or invest without the app. 

Robinhood 

For those who want to take it up a notch, Robinhood is a broker that offers investors the ability to buy and sell stocks, ETFs and cryptocurrency without any fees or commissions.

That’s right, Robinhood has no fees or commissions. There are no account minimums so you can get started investing right away. It doesn’t get any better than that my friends! 

Just remember that with Robinhood you can’t buy partial shares as you can with Stash. More than likely depending on what stock you pick, you’ll need more than $5 to get started. But on the flip side, you have total control of your portfolio. Pick and choose what you invest in! 

While Robinhood is missing a few advanced features like research tools or helpful articles to educate investors, if you know what stock you want to trade, Robinhood covers all of the basics. 

As a new investor, the Robinhood features that I’ve found most beneficial include adding stocks to your watchlist, searching for companies and placing limit buy, stop-loss and stop-limit orders. 

Robinhood’s mobile investing app has a sleek design and it is easy to navigate. They also have a great referral program where you get free stock like Groupon, Slack, Pinterest or Uber each time a friend signs up.

As with all the other apps on this list, you can sell your investments and withdraw funds at any time.

Overall I’ve found Stash, Acorns, and Robinhood incredibly helpful when I started to learn about investing. Coupling these investing apps with other resources like books, courses, and videos, I’m confident that you’ll be on your way to growing your portfolio, knowledgebase, and building wealth in no time. 

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