Unless you’re a certified financial planner (in which case, good for you!), investing can be intimidating and overwhelming. What should you invest in and when? How much should you invest and how do you diversify your portfolio? What does diversifying your portfolio even mean?
You don’t have to be a professional—or even really understand what diversification means—to begin investing in your future. Acorns is a robo-investing app that can help beginners invest quickly and easily.
About the Acorns App
Acorns—as in those small seeds that grow into mighty oak trees—lets you invest your spare change to grow your future investments. The app focuses on making investing as easy as possible: You pick a portfolio based on your goals and risk tolerance, deposit at least $5, link an account to set up spending round-ups, and go! Acorns takes care of the rest.
The Acorns app offers five portfolio options to choose from, from conservative (bonds) to aggressive (stocks). The diversified portfolio was originally designed with help from a Nobel laureate. You’ll answer a few questions about your financial situation and goals, and Acorns will recommend a mix of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)—the stocks and bonds that will make up your portfolio. Fractional Share Ownership means that every dollar you invest is diversified over 7,000 different stocks and bonds.
There are no minimums or trade fees. You just pay $1 to $3 per month, depending on the products you want.
Invest your spare change automatically into a “micro-investing account.” When you connect the Acorns app to a debit or credit card, every purchase gets rounded up, and the spare change gets moved to your portfolio. You can also make one-time or recurring deposits on your own. This is a taxable non-retirement account.
Acorns Found Money
As part of the Acorns Invest product, Acorns partners with various companies to offer “Found Money.” Make a specific purchase or take a specific action through the Acorns app with a partner company, and that company will invest a dollar amount or percentage back into your Acorns Invest account. A free Chrome extension also helps you find “Found Money” offers while you browse. Most of these investments take 60-120 days to be deposited into your account.
A specific subset of the Found Money feature, Acorns Protect includes offers for life, auto, homeowners, pet, and renters insurance. You earn $5 bonus investments on these insurance quotes. Acorns Protect also includes a learning center with FAQs on various insurance topics, and a feature that “checks in” on your life circumstances to recommend insurance for you.
Acorns Later will recommend an IRA and a portfolio, which you can open with an initial investment of $5 or more. With potential tax advantages, you can update the account regularly to match your current goals and set automatic recurring contributions. You can withdraw your money at any time, but this account is held to the same tax laws and regulations as any other IRA account. That means there may be tax implications and penalties for early withdrawals or transfers.
Acorns also offers a Visa debit card linked to a checking account that saves and invests as you spend. Spare change round-ups get invested instantly. This account also comes with additional Found Money options, including the potential to earn up to 10% from local restaurants and businesses.
Acorns was previously split into three pricing options, but the app has recently streamlined to two tiers of pricing.
- Lite: For $1 a month, you can get an Acorns Invest account. This includes Round-Ups, Found Money, and articles from financial experts.
- Personal: For $3 a month, you get an Acorns Invest Account, an Acorns Later account, and an Acorns Spend account.
Benefits of Acorns
The app is truly simple to use. Acorns Invest makes it easy to set it and forget it. If you’re looking for a quick way to start saving and investing, Acorns could be a great choice. If you want to be a little more hands on, the app has partnered with more than 350 companies that will invest into your account. If you regularly shop at any of these companies anyway, it’s a simple way to add back to yourself.
If you’re looking to learn more about investing, Acorns has a large library of educational content to help. The company also partners with One Tree Planted to plant oak trees across America
Downsides to Acorns
While it doesn’t sound like much, $1 to $3 a month can add up—especially if your balance is small. This can translate to a much higher percentage than other similar apps charge. You also don’t have a lot of say in the specific funds you are investing in. If you want to choose your own investments, you’ll want to go with a different app or other investment options.
Start Investing with the Acorns App
Investing doesn’t have to be overwhelming. A simple app like Acorns can help you grow your money into something that can support you in the years to come.