If you’re like me and are constantly on the lookout for the latest and greatest ways to make more money and get ahead on your finances, chances are you’ve heard of this app called Acorns. Some may think it’s kind of sketchy – investing with a mobile app? – and some may be a little confused on how it works. So, because I’m such a nice guy, I’m going to walk you through everything you’d ever want to know about Acorns.
Introduction – What is Acorns?
In short, Acorns is an investing app that you link to your bank account. You take a brief questionnaire, receive a tailored portfolio, and then invest! They automatically invest in partial shares of stocks that are a part of a custom-curated portfolio that is created for you. There are several different ways you can invest your money, which will be highlighted later. They will automatically re-invest any earned dividends or market gains into your account. Plus, you can invest or withdraw money at any time! There is a monthly fee, but it is reasonable, and is actually waived for students!
Okay, you’ve peaked my interest – How does it work?
To make this as simple as possible, I’ll give a basic step-by-step guide to give you an idea of what to expect when you start investing with Acorns.
Step One: Make an Account
This is super simple to do and just involves inputting some information. Please note, it will ask you for your Social Security Number… This does not mean it is a scam. The reason it needs your SSN is that this is a brokerage account, and any returns you may earn are viewed as “income”, thus are taxable. The people that have created this app take security very seriously, and I feel confident that my information is safe with them.
Step Two: Choose a Portfolio
Then, as mentioned earlier, you’ll have to take a brief survey. This helps the app understand what your situation is, what you expect to get out of investing (short-term income, long-term growth, etc.), and what you hope to accomplish financially over the next few years. Then, they will assign you a portfolio (don’t worry, you can always change it later). The portfolios range from conservative to aggressive. The more conservative your account, the safer it is. Most of your money will go into secure and low-risk stocks, such as government bonds. The risk is low, but so is the potential return on investment.
However, if you choose the more aggressive portfolios, you’ll see that less of your money is being invested in safer stocks, and more of your money is being invested in emerging markets and higher-risk investments. Although the risk is higher, so is the reward – I have the most aggressive portfolio you can choose and am currently making a 12.46% return, which is over double the average 5% return.
Step Three: Choose how to Invest
There are three main investment methods using Acorns: Round-Ups, One-Time, and Recurring.
Round-Ups are what made this app so appealing to so many individuals who were unsure about investing. Essentially, it invests extra change on your everyday purchases. You link a debit or credit card (you can link more than one card), and then every time you make a purchase, it will round up to the nearest dollar and automatically invest it.
So, for example, if you spend $2.46 on coffee, it will automatically invest 54 cents into your account. Get it?
You’ll notice that there is a “Round-Up” meter that goes to $5.00 – this is so then you’re not constantly making tiny sub-dollar transactions. Once your roundups reach five dollars, it will automatically invest it.
This method is nice because it’s basically putting your investing on cruise control. Just live like you normally do, and you’ll be making tiny contributions to your future. However, if you really want to get the most out of this, I’d suggest using this in addition to the other two methods.
This is the method where, in my opinion, you’ll see the greatest effect on your future. The round-ups are great, but they simply don’t contribute enough to justify it as the only investment method you use. If you aren’t a student and have to pay fees, then your roundup investments and return might not exceed your $12.00 annual fee ($1.00/month) and you could actually lose money. The solution? Recurring Investment.
It works exactly like it sounds. You link a bank account (you’ll need the account number and routing number), and then set a dollar amount. Then, on the date you choose, it will automatically invest the amount you set. With my level of income from the two jobs I’m working, I invest $100.00 every month on the 15th. It’s tough, but I’m seeing great returns and I know it’ll be worth it in the long-run.
This one is also self-explanatory. If I’m perfectly honest, I have only used this one or twice. I would much rather set up a recurring investment than have to remember to invest every month. However, this is great for when you stumble upon some extra cash and decide to invest it. For example, a holiday bonus, tax return, or something similar can be a great one-time boost to your account, and this is the way to do it!
Step Four: Sit Back and Watch Your Account Grow!
Once you’ve chosen your portfolio and how you want to invest your money, all you have to do is sit back and relax! My favorite thing about this app is that everything is automatic – it automatically buys and sells shares to benefit you and best match your portfolio, it automatically re-invests dividends and earnings, and it automatically invests for you! You never have to worry about studying the market, researching which shares to buy, or wondering when to buy or sell your shares. All you have to do is invest and watch your account (and hopefully money) grow!
Verdict: Is this worth the time?
In my experience, the answer to this question is a resounding yes! It makes investing fun, easy, and attainable for everyone, it takes minimum effort to set up and maintain, and in my experience, the return on investment has been astounding! However, it is important to note that this is the real deal. This is a real investment account, meaning you can actually lose money. It is simply a risk that every investor has to accept before they begin investing. Although I am making an impressive 12% return, I could lose every penny of it tomorrow.
However, despite the risk, it is certainly worth the effort. As a 21-year-old, I have plenty of time to recoup any losses I may incur (although I have been far from losing money thus far), and the general trend has always been up! If you’re on the fence about investing and have always wanted to be an investor, now is your chance. This app has truly changed my life, and I want it to change yours too!
Now, here’s the good stuff. I’m going to share a referral link for you to sign up with. If you chose to use it, then we’ll both get a handsome $5.00 boost to our accounts. $5.00 is all you need to get started, and you’ll immediately double your return right off the bat!
My Code: Click here to become an investor!
Thank you for reading!
I hope you learned something from this post, and I hope you check out Acorns and become an investor! If you liked what you read, please share it with friends, family, and coworkers on social media!
Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Acorns, nor am I being paid for writing this overview. This review was written based on my personal experiences. The code provided within the article provides me with a $5.00 bonus to my account and provides the referee with the same $5.00 bonus. thecollegecapitalist will not be held accountable for any interaction with the Acorns service, and I am in no way guaranteeing the experience described in this post to readers.