4 Apps to Begin Investing from Your Smartphone
You can do anything on your phone these days, so it shouldn’t surprise you that investment apps are changing the way people invest and save money. Already, people have invested hundreds of millions of dollars through their smartphones. People of all levels of financial acumen are using these apps, from Harvard Business grads to landscape architects. And you don’t need a hedge fund manager’s bank account to get started. Most are free and don’t take commissions, so you no longer have an excuse to keep your savings in your mattress.
Apps may be a great diversion while you wait at the DMV, letting you explore mythical realms or look at what your friend had for lunch, but your smartphone can be a valuable investment tool. Here are some of the best financial apps that will forever change how you spend your lunch breaks.
Acorns is the most popular investment app amongst millennials. It’s 600,000 members have already saved $25 million. That’s a lot of acorns. For young people that are usually gun shy around investing, the helpful interface makes it easy to save small change from debit card or credit card purchases. Acorns rounds up your spare change to the next dollar, and once you save $5, it invests it in a personalized stock portfolio. You answer questions that determine your investment goals and risk preferences, and the app will provide a portfolio for you.
- Robin Hood
Robin Hood is a zero-commission smartphone app. But how do they make money? Robin Hood makes money on the money you have on deposit and if you borrow to trade. Borrowing money to trade, or “buying on margin”, works out great for many, but be careful. Think of it as gambling and using your car as collateral.
Stash is another ETF (exchange-traded fund). That means it owns underlying assets, (like stocks, bonds, oil futures, gold) and divides ownership of those assets into shares. For only $5, you can buy a fraction of a share and watch how the fund performs. Stash makes its money by charging $1 a month for balances under $5,000. So if you truly are a small investor, your money will get eaten up pretty quickly. But it’s a quick and easy introduction to the stock market, so when you’re ready, you can move on to more advanced trading.
eToro’s most popular feature is trade copying. As the name implies, trade copying automatically copies the trades of someone else. So even if you know nothing about market forces, your portfolio will perform like you do! You can start off with a $10,000 demo account to practice while you learn the interface, and eventually people will be copying your expert trades.
Whatever your level of financial expertise or income, you can begin investing. Knowledge is power when it comes to money. For other questions about credit, homeownership, and avoiding foreclosure, United Financial Counselors can help. They aren’t available on your smartphone, but host frequent seminars and are available by phone or in-person. Whether it’s using an app to trade stocks, or talking to an expert about homeownership, the tools to take control of your financial future are close at hand.