The New Year is quickly approaching. Is growing your finances on your list of 2020 resolutions? What about saving for retirement, your child’s college education, or even just that much-needed family vacation? If so, then you’re in luck: the web is rife with quick, easy, and mostly free ways to both invest your cash and grow your wealth in the coming year. And best of all, some of the best investing apps out there make it easier than ever to swiftly and intelligently make investment decisions on the go.
So are you thinking about trying your hand at online investing in 2020? Here are the best investing apps we know of to help you do it:
When it comes to investing apps, Acorns is one of the easiest to use. You can set it, forget it, and just let your earnings grow.
The app lets you build a custom portfolio, choosing from a variety of ETFs, stocks, bonds, and more. Next, you choose your investment schedule — daily, weekly, or monthly. Acorns will automatically rebalance your portfolio as the market changes to ensure you get steady returns.
You can also choose the app’s “round-off” feature, which essentially rounds all your purchases up to the nearest dollar. Then, the “extra change” is put into your investment portfolio or an interest-earning savings account, allowing you to seamlessly save (and make) cash without much change in your account balance.
The app also comes with a “found money” feature. With this one, you simply purchase through any of Acorn’s partner retailers, and they’ll put extra cash in your account. It’s as easy as that.
Acorns costs between $1 and $3 per month. The highest-tier plan comes with a debit account and automatic retirement investments.
One of the best investing apps is Stash. Unlike other investment apps, Stash takes a more educational approach to the investing game. The app comes with customized content to help you achieve your goals and choose the right investments. You can also set up “auto stash” investments (recurring investments) or just make moves as you see fit.
With Stash, you can choose from stocks, bonds, and ETFs, and you can even purchase fractional shares, which start at just $5. The app also offers round-up investments much like how Acorns does.
Stash plans range from $1 to $9 per month, depending on the features you want. Each plan comes with a debit account. (The highest plan even comes with investing accounts for up to two children).
If you’re looking to play the stock market game but don’t want to pay a whole lot in fees or extra charges, then Robinhood’s a good option. The free mobile app offers no-fee stock trading that takes little to no prior knowledge of investing. There’s also a paid, upgraded version, but it’s not necessary unless you want a few extra frills. (The basic version has a whopping 4.8/5 rating according to Robinhood reviews on the Apple Store.)
All you do is download the app to your phone, fund your account, and start trading. You can even use its Robinhood Crypto platform if you’re looking to invest in cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin.
On the downside, Robinhood doesn’t support mutual funds or bond trading. There are also no retirement savings options as there are with traditional trading brokerages. Finally, customer support is limited, since the company has no physical locations.
The Robinhood app is free. If you want to upgrade to Robinhood Gold, it’s $5 per month. This plan offers bigger deposits, more in-depth investment research, and margin investing.
If you want more hands-on help with your finances, this online investing app is for you. Round matches you with a top-notch fund manager (including names like Guggenheim, Gabelli, and Highland Capital) so that your investments are always being actively watched and managed.
It’s a good option if you’re not sure where to start with your investing, you plan to invest a lot, or you just want to ensure a solid growth strategy. The app requires a 0.05% annual fee, but only if your portfolio sees returns. If your returns are negative, Round waives the fee for the year.
The app is free to download but investment management costs a 0.05% advisory fee for the year, which is split across 12 monthly payments.
For a mix of self-service and advisory help, M1 Finance is a good investing app to try. The tool lets you invest in stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, and fractional shares, and you can even build your own custom portfolio. There’s also automated investing, and there are no fees or account minimums.
You can set up individual, joint, retirement, or trust accounts using the app, and M1 also lets you borrow up to 35% of your portfolio (at a 4% interest rate) if you ever need cash in a pinch.
The app is free to use. If you want to use the M1 Borrow feature, you’ll need an account balance of at least $10,000.
Want to give your kids a good foundation in finance? Stockpile may be worth a whirl. The investing app allows kids and teens to trade stocks (with parent approval, of course) and track portfolio performance 24-7. There are also mini-investing lessons to help make the trades fun and educational.
Stockpile also allows for stock gift cards, and kids can even make wishlists of the stocks they hope to purchase. The app offers fractional shares, ETFs, stocks, and ADRs, and you can reinvest cash dividends for free.
The Stockpile app is free to use, and there are no account minimums. Stock shares cost as little as 0.99 cents.
If you want the full DIY approach, E*Trade can help. Use the app’s comprehensive research library and choose from a plethora of stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, futures, and more. There’s also deep-dive data to help you learn more about your portfolio’s metrics in real-time.
The downside to this investment app is that it comes with steeper trade commissions than other options. While stocks, options, and ETFs are free to trade, option contracts and futures cost anywhere from 0.65 cents to $1.50 each.
The app is free, but you may pay a commission fee per trade.
Looking for investments that make a difference? Betterment may be up your ally. This investing app offers a socially responsible investment portfolio, which helps you put cash toward companies that make a positive difference in the world. The portfolio steers clear of businesses that have a negative social impact (poor labor standards, environmental damage, etc.) and focuses on companies with inclusive workplaces, sustainable production practices, and more.
Betterment also offers portfolios built by Goldman Sachs and BlackRock, and its automated tax loss harvesting and asset location services help you save as much as you earn.
Betterment’s digital plan costs an annual 0.25% fee. The premium plan, which comes with more hands-on guidance and higher balances, carries an annual fee of 0.40%.
Which Investing App Will You Choose?
As most of these investment apps don’t require a minimum investment, feel free to try out a few before settling on just one. You could even use several at a time to really diversify your efforts. Just be sure to check in often to see how your investments are doing, and don’t let your accounts go unattended for too long (even if they are managed by a professional).
You should also make an effort to reevaluate your efforts quarterly. This allows you to tweak your investing strategy in the event your income, goals, or financial scenario changes throughout the year. Remember, good investment still requires time, effort, and due diligence, so investing apps should be considered more of a convenience than anything else.
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