Investing isn’t something most of us know how to do well. Sure, looking at companies like Amazon, Apple and others is a good start, but a single stock in each will set you back a cool $1,000 or more. Investing is all about buying low and selling high, so unless you got in on one of those big businesses early on, chances are you’ll be overpaying for a handful of stocks, limiting your return down the road.
The good news about investing? For those who are looking to take their money to the next level or those getting started with the basics, there are plenty of investment apps that can lend a hand. Unlike, say, two decades ago when your parents had to call an investment broker to help, new tech has brought such advice to your fingertips.
However, with so many apps available, which ones are best to help manage and expand your hard earned cash? Funny you ask, because we tackle that question and give you a list of the apps that are best for investment advice.
Are you investing for the first time? The Acorns app might be the app for you. Allowing users to link up their credit or debit card accounts, the app invests money into a diversified portfolio of index funds suggested by Nobel Prize-winning economist Harry Markowitz. In the words of Acorns’ co-founder and COO Jeff Cruttenden, “Acorns is designed for new and experienced investors who want a quick, easy, and automatic way to invest their money. People can get started in seconds; then set it and forget it.”
The core features of Acorns include a feature called “Round Ups” which allow users to round up to the nearest dollar on any expense on credit cards or accounts hooked up to the Acorns tracking system. When you spend $3.45 Acorns will automatically round up to $4.00 by taking the additional $.55 and investing it for you. You can set this feature to multiply the amount you want to invest by using 2x, 5x, and 10x amount settings to get even higher investment rates over time. Some users have stated that this feature has generated stock piles of thousands or tens of thousands of dollars over several years.
Traditional monthly contributions are available to individual investors as well allowing them to contribute fixed increments at a determined repeating cycle each week, month, etc.
Scraping data and trends, Motif Explorer basically takes those and suggests investment opportunities for users to consider. With a required $250 minimum and a $9.95 commission charger for a portfolio containing 30 stocks and ETFs, Motif Explorer is a great investment app which can help monitor performance, while also discovering and reviewing performance charts. As a first-time investor, Motif Explorer is a fun and educational way to get into the stock market.
With the ability to track, manage and optimize existing portfolios, SigFig gives users a place to manage all of their investments through the app. With a simple dashboard catered to the user, real-time views of every stock, mutual fund, ETF and other investments are easily visible.
For first-time investors who are new to the game, SigFig offers an investment advice engine, which even provides up-to-date markets news and stats on relevant companies. Even better, a new investor’s first $10,000 in their portfolio is managed for free.
The Yahoo! Finance app might be the most streamlined investment app available, with the design focused on a personalized user experience that allows users to sync up their portfolios and quotes across multiple devices. Looking for some quick stock advice or numbers? Simply open the app to stay up-to-date with breaking news and trends for information on companies you may want to invest in.
Offering free trading of most Nasdaq stocks, Robinhood is a good way to play the stock market for first-time investors. The app also adds a stock to a Watch List, pushing notifications to a user about future earnings reports when a share price has either increased or decreased. That said, Robinhood still has some downfalls, such as the two-to-three-hour wait period before purchasing a newly released initial public offering, meaning a hot stock is often scooped up by people on other investing platforms first.
Stash is the investment app that makes the stock market fun. Offering more than 30 themed investments that are narrowed down by risk tolerance and preference, the app actually comes up with quirky names for investments; like how the Schwab U.S. Dividend Equity ETF (SCHD) is called “Delicious Dividends”.
Automatically investing users’ desired amounts, Stash keeps transaction costs low while allowing users to invest based on their values as much or little as they prefer.
Betterment is making investing super simple for those who are new to the game. With no minimum to get started — seriously, $1 is all you need — once users answer a couple of basic questions, the app does all the work by investing your money into different stocks, using a sophisticated computer algorithm to figure out the best (and cheapest) for funds distribution.
Not into the whole computer thing? Fear not, because Betterment also offers superb customer service, with a real human being available to talk or email with seven days a week to answer questions.
They also have a feature to help you capture tax advantages when your portfolio suffers a loss through automatic Tax-Harvesting. This can help offset gains at the end of the year on any taxes you may pay on after-tax accounts (non-retirement investments).
You can manage retirement and after-tax accounts using Betterment as well as some of their relatively new banking features such as a high yield savings account service.
One of the most popular names in investing, Fidelity is a trusted company that knows how to help manage money. For those who are committed to and educated in investments on a regular basis, the Fidelity app takes the rookie investor to the seasoned veteran.
Track and trade your accounts from anywhere thanks to the customizable dashboards, making it easy to see where all your money is and where you might want to move it to.
Stock Market Simulator
Not sure you want to invest your hard earned cash just yet? Stock Market Simulator would be a good place to get an idea of how to manage potential investments. Giving users the ability to simulate the real U.S. stock market, using virtual funds to invest without the real-life risk will help hone your skills.
Stock Market Simulator is a good resource tool, but, fair warning, don’t use it to make real decisions when you are ready to invest real money — it’s just a way to dip your toes into the deep end of the stock market and understand the simple rules and trends.
Like the aforementioned Fidelity Investments app, TD Ameritrade is another respected and well-known company in the investment realm. For that reason, using the app is essential for those active in investing, with mobile access to trading, streaming quotes, real-time balances, fund transfers and market research all available at users’ fingertips.
A unique feature called Snapstock allowsTD Ameritrade users to snap a photo of any item to find the company name, ticker symbol and stock quote, along with company-related news and charts, which provides in-depth information for investment decision-making.
Benzinga‘s a great investment app for users who want breaking info on quotes and trending stocks. For those investors who enjoy social media, the app includes features like tweets for trending news articles about stocks, with shareable content encouraged.
With a more experienced subscription available, BenzingaPro, investors can elevate their game when ready, and customize tools such as streaming news, notifications and instant analysis.
If you’re the type of investor who wants to feel good about where to put your money, Swell Investing might be the app for you. Backed by Pacific Life Insurance Co., the investment platform’s designed for socially responsible investors, with portfolios based on six United Nations’ goals for sustainable development: renewable energy, green tech, clean water, zero waste, healthy living and disease eradication. Working with taxable accounts or an individual retirement account, Swell offers options for a traditional, Roth or SEP IRA; which is a major advantage of the app.
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