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Best apps for investing your money

by Justin Herrick | September 23, 2017September 23, 2017 6:00 am PDT

If you don’t know a thing about investing, you can (and should) still put your money into the stock market. Eventually you’re going to retire, right? So you need money in a position to grow for when you no longer have a regular paycheck coming in. Life is expensive, and honestly it’s probably going to get even pricier by the time you enter retirement. Don’t just let your bank account be all you rely on for the rest of your life.

We understand you need help. Trusting someone else with your money can be scary, but we’ve compiled a list of the best apps for investing your money. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, there are apps on here to help you grow your money over time.

Robinhood

No account minimum, no fees. Robinhood is a completely free service that allows you to buy, sell, and monitor stocks. It’s really the perfect choice if you’re someone who doesn’t want an algorithm or another person choosing what you should buy or sell. Robinhood is ideal for anyone who knows what companies they’d like to purchase stock in. Just keep an eye on what a company is doing in its industry and you should know whether or not its stock is worth your attention.

To find a stock, use the search functionality by entering a name or symbol. Robinhood will display a stock’s profile with a couple stats, and from there you can choose to enter the number of shares you’d like to buy or sell.

Robinhood doesn’t offer any advice, though. The only additional information you get is on a small slideshow of items that redirect you to financial news outlets. If a stock you own or monitor is doing well or poorly, the app will also send a push notification.

While everything is free, the service does have a premium product available. Robinhood Gold unlocks pre/after trading hours, additional buying power, and bigger instant deposits. It costs $10/mo, but it’s not worth getting unless you’re an expert in investing. The vast majority of people getting into investing for the first time will do fine paying nothing on Robinhood.

Download: iOS, Android

Acorns

You’re going to be taking a simple, hands-off approach with Acorns. It syncs with accounts and cards normally used daily to invest spare change into a selection of stocks and bonds. After you make a purchase, Acorns will round-up to the nearest dollar and invest that money. Of course you can also set up recurring investments that take place daily, weekly, or monthly. The point of Acorns is to let you contribute as little or as much as you want while the service’s back-end figures out where your money should go.

It costs just $1/mo, and anyone with $5,000 or more will pay only 0.25% of their account’s value every year. College students also get four years of access for free by registering with a valid .edu email address.

Acorns fits those who want to lightly dip into investing or wish for a relaxed way to invest. There’s no minimum, no picking-and-choosing, and no thinking involved. Let Acorns take your change and make it grow.

Download: iOS, Android

Stash

Have $5 lying around somewhere? You’re ready to start with Stash. It follows an approach that’s similar to Acorns’ in which you’re investing small amounts of money. The app will ask you a bunch of questions to understand who you are.

Your tolerance of risk motivates all investment-related decisions, but Stash wants to know more about the name and less about the account. If there are specific companies or industries you’re loyal to or interested in, you can make a note of that. Stash takes the collected data as a guide for where your money goes.

The app actually teaches you about investing rather than taking your money and reporting results. Stash isn’t a one-and-done tool. You get choices, tips, and results from its app. If you don’t understand finance terms, Stash will explain. That’s handy because, while you might want the work done for you, you should know what’s happening to your money.

Download: iOS, Android

E*Trade

E*Trade is for a very particular person. It’s the man or woman who studied finance, worked in finance, or loves taking on financial risk. While other services do most of the work on your behalf, E*Trade virtually drops you onto Wall Street to compete against the rest of the world’s investors. It’s intimidating, but experienced folks know what they’re getting into.

If you’re new to investing, please avoid E*Trade. You’re going to have almost no clue what’s happening on your screen and pay almost $7 per trade. That price is worth every penny for the experience. You, however, are probably a newbie. Know your place and choose one of the free, automatic services.

Download: iOS, Android

Betterment

Betterment looks and feels like a modern investing service used by professionals. It helps with financial planning, retirement, rollovers, trusts, and tax loss harvesting.

If you need to reach a goal or want to create a retirement account, you can’t really go wrong with Betterment. The service asks you to build a profile and deposit money. From there, Betterment decides where to put everything. And your performance is constantly analyzed to suggest changes while projecting what the future could be depending on adjustments.

Maybe Robinhood, Acorns, and Stash are too simple for you. Betterment, thought still performing as a robo-advising, takes into account your background and financial position. It gives a mature vibe but remains totally understandable (and automatic).

Betterment has an annual fee of 0.25% for accounts of any size. Accounts holding more than $100,000 can get hit with a 0.40% annual fee for the Premium subscription, which includes unlimited financial planning calls with a certified financial planner (CFP). You can tell by the pricing alone that Betterment is a serious service.

Download: iOS, Android

Yahoo Finance

You’re an outsider looking in. You’re a big-time investor on Wall Street. The Yahoo Finance app is useful for each and every person interested in the financial world. It doesn’t display a hundred things at once like you see on CNBC or Bloomberg TV. Instead, the app allows you to customize the experience.

Yahoo Finance features watch lists for real-time updates, full-screen charts, news articles, videos, and more.

Whether your money is spread across different services or stored in one, Yahoo Finance brings vital information. Just add the securities you’d like to monitor and the app will keep an eye on them in addition to recommending relevant content.

Download: iOS, Android


Justin Herrick

Justin is easily attracted to power buttons. His interest in technology started as a child in the 1990s with the original PlayStation, and two...

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