Today, there are several investment apps available to help make your money work for you. And investing is the most passive way of making money.
Some of these financial services automatically invest money for you, while others provide investment management strategies to maximize growth.
Whether you manage your financial investments yourself or use a professional financial advisor, a number of these finance platforms provide free tools that you can utilize to improve your financial outlook.
However, the most valuable tool when it comes to investing is time.
While there is nothing you can do about the lost opportunity of not investing your money in the past, the next best thing is to start investing today.
The first few investment apps make investing for a beginner as simple as possible. Reducing the complexity of investing helps remove the barriers that keep people from starting to invest.
Whether you think investing is too complicated or that you just don't have any money to get started, these apps can help you overcome those hurdles.
And once you have a more significant amount of investment savings, the financial management apps discussed later will help ensure your savings are allocated appropriately for your goals.
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Acorns – Best app for investing your change
The Acorns app uses micro-investing to help you get started. By rounding up your everyday purchases and investing that money automatically, Acorns helps to overcome the “I don't have enough money to start investing” excuse.
Acorns invests your money in exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Your financial goals determine the makeup of your portfolio (a mix of the ETFs). A Nobel Prize-winning economist helps develop the portfolios.
Additionally, with Acorns later, you can start an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). You can set up automatic daily, weekly, and monthly recurring contributions.
Acorns Later IRA options:
- Traditional IRA
- Contributions are deductible (with IRS limits)
- Withdrawals are taxed
- Roth IRA
- Contributions are after-tax
- Withdrawals are tax-free
- SEP IRA
- For self-employed individuals
- Similar to a traditional IRA with higher contribution limits
Acorns account options
There are three different options for using Acorns.
- Acorns Invest
- $1 per month
- Invests your spare change based on checking account transactions
- Shopping with 350+ brands gives you additional Found Money (cash back) that is invested in your account
- Acorns Invest + Later
- $2 per month
- Adds the IRA option for tax-advantaged retirement savings
- Open account with as little as $5
- Recurring or one-time contributions
- Your portfolio is automatically adjusted and rebalanced over time as needed
- Acorns Invest + Later + Spend
- $3 per month
- Adds a checking account with the Acorns debit card
- Real-time round-up investments
- Additionally, receive bonus investments of up to 10% with some merchants
Acorns is a great investment app if you are just getting started investing.
By investing “your change” in a diversified, managed account, you can invest in your future without putting your life on hold to figure it all out.
To learn more about Acorns, read our review.
M1 Finance – Best platform for more advanced investors
M1 Finance is a fast-growing, smart money management investing platform.
Investors can invest in a portfolio of stocks and ETFs for free, access a line of credit when $10,000 is invested, and access a checking account with debit card.
M1 Finance is a great place to establish an emergency fund and features include fractional share investing, automated contributions, and dynamic rebalancing of your portfolio.
You can create your own portfolio or utilize one of the more than 80 expert-crafted portfolios.
To learn more, read our M1 Finance review.
Robinhood – Best app for commission-free fractional shares
The Robinhood app allows you to invest in thousands of stocks with as little as $1 with fractional shares. It allows you to invest in stocks and ETFs, options, and cryptocurrency.
With Robinhood, you can make unlimited commission-free trades, both on stocks and cryptocurrencies.
Additionally, with Robinhood Gold, you have access to research reports, the ability to trade on margin, and the ability to make larger deposits with quicker access. There is a $5 per month fee for Robinhood Gold.
Robinhood also offers an FDIC-insured cash management account to earn interest on your uninvested money. You'll receive a debit card linked to the account as well. However, you need to join a waitlist to reserve your spot.
Stash – Personal finance and investing app
Stash is similar to Acorns but has some other features.
With Stash, in addition to ETFs, you can invest in stocks. Additionally, you can invest in fractional shares for as little as $5.
Using Stash+, custodial investing accounts are available for up to 2 kids.
Stash Growth gives the option to invest in an IRA. However, Stash does not offer a SEP IRA option.
With all Stash accounts, qualifying purchases with the Stash debit card earn rewards called Stock-Back. These rewards are then used to purchase stocks or funds in your investment account.
Another feature included in this investment app is Auto-Stash. Auto-Stash is actually three tools in one.
- Set Schedule
- It allows you to create schedules to transfer money to your Stash investment, retirement, and custodial accounts.
- When you spend money with the credit card linked to your checking account, purchases are rounded up.
- The rounded up amount is transferred to your investment cash balance when the accumulated savings exceed $5.
- Analyzes your recurring transactions and sets aside small amounts of money for investing.
Stash account options
Like Acorns, Stash has three account options, but the pricing and what is included is different.
- Stash Beginner
- $1 per month
- Personal investment account
- Debit account
- Stock-Back rewards
- Stash Growth
- $3 per month
- Adds Individual/Roth IRA option
- $9 per month
- Adds custodial investment accounts
- Includes a metal debit card with 2x Stock-Back rewards
The bank account is available on all accounts. If you are on direct deposit to this account, depending on your employer, you may be able to receive your pay up to 2 days early.
Stash is a great way to make saving and investing a habit. And with Auto-Stash, it happens automatically.
Real estate investment apps
Fundrise – Best app for crowdsourced real estate investing
For the typical person, investing in real estate is not realistic because of the significant initial capital investment.
That is where Fundrise comes in.
For as little as $500, you can start investing in a diversified portfolio of real estate.
Fundrise calls their portfolios eDirect investments. These investments are analogous to a low-cost ETF for real estate.
Historical returns with Fundrise have been between 8.7 and 12.4%.
Fundrise account levels
Fundrise has four different account levels based on the minimum investment amount. A starter plan and three core plans.
- Minimum investment: $500
- 90-day satisfaction period
- Upgrade to core plan for free after investing $1,000
- Supplemental Income (Core)
- Minimum investment: $1,000
- Income-oriented for consistent cash flow
- Quarterly dividends
- Allocation is primarily debt real estate assets
- Balanced Investing (Advanced)
- Minimum investment: $10.000
- A mix of cash-flowing and growth-oriented real estate
- Blend of dividends and appreciation
- Allocation is debt and equity real estate assets
- Long-Term Growth (Premium)
- Minimum investment: $100,000
- Growth-oriented for high potential growth
- Appreciation, fewer dividends
- Allocation is primarily equity real estate assets
Traditional real estate investing is too expensive for many people. However, by crowdsourcing the investment cost, almost anyone can now invest in real estate with a service like Fundrise.
For more information, read our Fundrise review.
Financial management tools
Personal Capital – Best cash and wealth management app
The Personal Capital investment app provides free tools to take control of your financial life.
After you link all of your financial accounts with Personal Capital, a dashboard is built that:
- Gives a complete picture of your finances
- Net Worth
- Cash Flow
- Portfolio Balances
- Allows you to create and track your budget
- Monitors your investments
- Help plan for retirement
With Personal Capital, you'll also have access to the following tools:
- Retirement Planner
- Determine if savings are on track for target retirement date and income
- Fee Analyzer
- Analyze the impact of fees on retirement savings
- Education Planner
- Estimate and plan savings for future education costs
Additionally, if you link at least $100,000 in investable assets through the Personal Capital financial dashboard, you can have a free initial consultation with an advisor.
If you are interested in continued financial advice from Personal Capital, there are three tiers based on your investment assets.
The basis of Personal Capital's investment strategy is based on the following principles:
- Dynamic Portfolio Allocation
- Adjusted based on your life circumstances
- Tailored to your specific goals
- Tax Optimization
- Strategies to minimize taxes
- Ensuring your portfolio remains well-diversified as it grows
- Smart Weighting
- Protecting against particular market or segment risks
Personal Capital tiers
The three tiers are as follows:
- Investment Services
- $100K to $200K in investment assets
- Guidance provided by a financial advisory team
- Portfolio implementation limited to a portfolio of ETFs
- Wealth Management
- Over $200K to $1M in investment assets
- Guidance provided by two financial advisors with access to specialists
- Financial decisions support
- Portfolio customization
- Portfolio implementation includes individual stocks
- Private Client
- For those with over $1M in investment assets
- Additionally, have access to the Investment Committee
- Wealth planning (estate, tax, and legacy)
- Private equity and hedge fund review
- Access to private banking services
- Portfolio implementation includes individual bonds and private equity investments when qualifications are met
The different tiers add additional services as your portfolio grows. Fees start at a 0.89% annual management fee for up to the first $1M of investments. Fees drop at different milestones after Private Clients exceed $3M of investments.
Personal Capital advisors are fiduciaries, meaning they are required by law to act in your best interest.
Personal Capital also offers a high-yield savings account. The Personal Capital Cash account has a much higher interest rate (about 17x) compared to the national rate.
Personal Capital offers several free tools and paid services to help manage your financial health. The available features are great for keeping you on track to meet your financial goals.
Read our Personal Capital review.
Betterment – Best online financial advisor app
Betterment is an online financial advisor (aka robo-advisor). They help you with financial goal planning and making smart investment choices.
You open an account, transfer your funds to Betterment, and they advise you and invest in ETFs. All investments are based on how much risk you are comfortable with.
Betterment will also:
- Make recommendations on controlling costs and taxes
- Rebalance your portfolio as necessary
- Reinvest dividends
- Perform tax-loss harvesting
Like Personal Capital, Betterment is a fiduciary.
The Betterment investment app offers taxable investment accounts, as well as traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, and SEP IRAs. Furthermore, Betterment supports trust accounts.
Also, Betterment offers cash management solutions, including:
- Betterment Everyday Cash Reserve
- APY of up to 1.85%
- Money is deposited in Betterment's program banks
- Access your money in 1-2 business days
- No balance fees, limits on withdrawals, or minimum balance
- Betterment Everyday Checking
- Open to new clients over time – join the waitlist
- No minimum balance, overdraft fees, or maintenance fees
Betterment advisor fee structure
All Betterment accounts have no additional trading fees or transfer fees and also allow for unlimited rebalancing. There are two different plans available:
- Annual fee: 0.25%
- Personalized financial device
- Diversified investment portfolios
- Automatic rebalancing and tax-saving strategies
- Annual fee: 0.40%
- Advice on investments outside of Betterment
- Unlimited access to Certified Financial Planner professionals for guidance on life events
Additionally, if you are not interested in on-going financial advisement provided by the Premium plan, one-time, one-on-one professional guidance packages are available.
- 45-minute session
- Getting Started Package
- 60-minute sessions
- Financial Checkup Package
- College Planning Package
- Marriage Planning Package
- Retirement Planning Package
As you can see, Betterment has several options available for your financial management needs.
Blooom – Best for 401(k) management
Another fiduciary service is Blooom. However, Blooom focuses on managing employer-sponsored retirement plans.
Blooom does manage IRAs and Roth IRAs held at Fidelity, Vanguard, or Charles Schwab. Otherwise, Blooom does not manage IRAs or taxable investment accounts.
With Blooom, you receive a free analysis of your 401(k). Here's how it works:
- Link Blooom to your 401(k) account
- Answer questions about yourself and your investing habits
- Blooom's robo-advisor evaluates your holdings and makes recommendations based on:
- For a flat fee ($120 per year) Blooom will:
- Minimize 401(k) fees
- Optimize investments to align with goals
- Get expert financial help
- Notify you of any suspicious activity
If you are looking for hands-off management of your 401(k) for a fixed, low-rate, Blooom is an excellent option for you.
Since Blooom doesn't charge a percentage, it can be significantly cheaper than other services that charge a percentage if you have an extensive portfolio.
Trim – Best tool to cut recurring costs
While Trim isn't an investment app, I include it because it is an excellent tool for saving money you can use to invest.
Trim works by:
- Connecting to your checking and credit card account(s)
- Analyzing your spending to find recurring subscriptions
- Determining money-saving opportunities
- Canceling subscriptions, negotiating lower bills, finding lower rates for things like insurance, and more
Additionally, Trim offers a Simple Savings account. You set up automatic transfers into a high-yield savings account.
Further, you can create a payoff plan, receive expert advice, and lower your interest rates to help you get out of debt.
Signing up for Trim is free. This free service includes a financial dashboard, spend alerts, detection/fighting of overdraft fees, and finding/canceling old subscriptions.
Paid features include Bill Negotiation, Debt Payoff, and the Simple Savings account.
For Bill Negotiation, Trim will take 33% of your annual savings. So you are still getting 67% back without having to do any of the negotiating yourself.
When you apply your monthly savings from canceled subscriptions and lower bills, that money can really add up!
If you save an additional $15 each month and invest that in one of your investment accounts, after ten years, you'll have over $2,600, over $800 of that amount as interest.
So, instead of spending $1,815 over that time, you'd have a cash swing of over $4,400. Over 30 years, that cash swing could be almost $24,000, just by saving that extra $15 a month starting now.
Investment apps summary
As you can see, whether you are new to investing or a seasoned investor, there are several investment apps to help you along the way.
If you need help with micro-investing or assistance with managing a multi-million dollar portfolio, the options above are excellent resources for achieving your financial goals.
Do you use any of the apps/services above? Or others not mentioned? What is your experience with them? Please share in the comments below.