Investing is a part of finance that individuals avoid because of lack of knowledge or just the misconception that it is only reserved for people with an absurd amount of money, but that’s not the case at all. It’s not a very difficult concept to learn and there isn’t a set amount of money that you need in order to invest. Some investments can be as low as five bucks, but it’s what this money can do over time that makes it worth-while if you manage it correctly. Fortunately, in today’s technologically advanced society, investment apps can be great tools for beginners who need a little assistance but may not want to interact with large firms such as Vanguard or Fidelity Investments. You can manage your investment quickly and easily at the touch of a button.
I wasn’t joking about the five bucks. The investment app “Stash” allows you to fill out a profile and start immediately receiving educational content, advice and even calculating the risk of investing with a certain company. It’s a step by step course in financial literacy that allows you to build a portfolio and watch your money grow over time. The app even helps you with savings options and also retirement. It is free of charge for the first month and then will require $1/month for investment accounts and $2/month for retire accounts. This would be a great first option for easy to navigate functionality.
Next is “Robinhood”. If you are on the upside of the beginner stage, this app is for the stock traders. “Robinhood offers free stock trades…just download the app, connect to your bank, fund your account, and you can trade fee-free” (The Balance). It essentially works as a stock brokerage but without the cubicles and water cooler talk. You are able to cut out the middle man and the savings go straight to you. “Robinhood” isn’t going to hold your hand as much as “Stash” but this is a great option for those who want to test their skills within the stock market.
“Acorns” is perfect for the person who doesn’t want to touch their money too often. This app does all the heavy lifting for you. “Link a debit or credit card to the app and Acorns will round up your transactions to the next dollar and invest the spare change you would have received had you paid in cash” (The Balance). The money will be invested automatically but occasional check-ins are encouraged just to keep an eye on things. Of course, the obvious downside is that the app is doing all the decision making for you which can be difficult to manage if you want to invest in a particular company.
“Clink” allows you to have a little more control over where your money is going. It’s a “savings based app that invests your funds into a portfolio of Vanguard based Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) based on how aggressive you want to be with your investments” (The Balance). You give it a foundation to pull from and the app takes care of the rest. There is no minimum investment amount and you can even have a percentage of your purchases transferred to your Clink account. For those struggling with how much to invest and when this would be a great beginner’s guide to investing responsibly.
It seems too far in the future to think about, but one day you will reach retirement age and maybe want to kick your feet up and enjoy the rest of your life. Starting to invest now will set you up for that inevitability. More and more people are gravitating toward investing instead of relying on a 401k because of its fallibility. Start out small by utilizing the many tools available through these apps and watch your money grow.