I have been promising a review of Acorns for a while so I am finally here to deliver (while on 0 sleep after a red eye)! I haven’t had enough time to really see how the investment grows so I will do an updated post in the future but here’s the rundown.
Acorns is an app to help you automatically save and invest. There are two different ways to put money in – a recurring investment or round ups. I currently only do the recurring investment ($5 a week) and I really don’t notice it is missing which is really Acorns greatest strength. In the future, especially when I have more money free when I’m done paying for school I would probably raise my recurring investment. Most people choose to do round-ups. This means that automatically (or you can set it up to do this manually) Acorns rounds up your transactions and invests that amount. So if you go to Starbucks and spend $4.75, it will round up to $5 and invest 25 cents. People LOVE this feature! I am a control freak and don’t want the amount I invest weekly/monthly to change so I opted out of this automatic round-up. Opting out was easy in the app.
When you sign up, you answer basic questions that help you determine what your investor profile should look like. If you’ve never talked to a financial advisor, I’d recommend googling some online investor profile quizzes to make sure you are choosing the right profile for you. For example, if you are looking for a steady growth rate with low risk, you would choose one of the safer profiles. If you are looking for high growth and are willing to take a higher risk you would end up with a riskier portfolio. It may take a day or two once you’ve signed up to get approved so be patient. At that point you may want to transfer a bulk amount to get yourself started, especially if you’re only donating a little each week/month
After I signed up, I IMMEDIATELY linked Acorns to Mint by adding a new account in the Mint App. I love this because I was very hesitant to use anything where I couldn’t see my moment in time value of my assets. This allows me to maintain that view all in one place. You do have to be a little careful though of checking this amount too often and freaking out because it fluctuates with the stock market. When I checked today it was about 16 cents lower than the last time I checked. These minor changes happens so you just have to roll with it.
So those are the basics, but you can also get money invested in other ways by shopping through the app called “found money” (similar to Ibotta). The valid offers are constantly changing but they sometimes have Uber, Expedia, Groupon, Classpass, Blue Apron, Stitch Fix, etc. Once you open the app, click the found money section and find the brand you want to shop. Then it’ll open up the store — just make sure you check out in that window to get money invested if you. They have a chrome extension you can download as well to try to earn found money while you shop in a browser.
There is a small fee associated with investing which is $1 a month for accounts under $5000 or .25% of accounts over $5000. If you are a student, make sure you use your student email to sign up and select student as your occupation and this fee will be waived for the first year! Gotta love a student discount.
Should I download Acorns?
Acorns overall is a great tool to begin investing if you aren’t very familiar and automatically save money. It will most likely earn more than your savings account so you’ll see a higher return and you won’t be missing the money since it is taken out in small increments. If you are in debt though, I wouldn’t risk investing your free cash. Throw that cash at debt! Some people may say if your return is greater than the interest you’re paying on your debt it is worth it to invest so it is really a personal choice. If you like the idea of earning free money like this but haven’t maxed out your retirement investment, especially if your company matches for your 401k, you may want to do that first because the tax incentives and company matches make it more lucrative than this sort of personal investment. Otherwise, SIGN UP (my link will get you $5 to get started)! It will help you tip toe into investing and save money you may have otherwise spent!
My earnings so far are small – so I will be sure to update in the future!