For many of us and almost most of the population, the word “investment” is complicated enough that even after knowing its benefits, not all of us want to dive in. On that matter, several online platforms like Acorns are making investing easy for retail investors. Today we will uncover the following points about Acorns:
What is Acorns?
Acorn is an all-rounder investing app. It has a round-up feature by which it invests the spare change that is left on every purchase. For example, if you paid your grocery bill amounting to $40.18 then Acorns will take the remaining 82 cents and invest them for you. It keeps track of all those round-ups and once they reach $5 then Acorns takes that $5 out of your linked bank account and invests them according to your chosen portfolio.
That’s how simple it is and you won’t even notice the missing pennies from your actual bill. This way you will keep investing the spare change into the stock market and that’s where Acorns excels compared to its peers because micro-investment is one of their prime features.
Acorns has its app for smartphones, and it is a suitable platform for those who are low on budget, find difficulty in saving money, and parents who want to teach their children about investing.
Now one can wonder what difference investing a small amount such as 82 cents would make? However, we make a lot of transactions each month, and when all of those accumulate in a year, you can imagine the amount can add up very quickly. Acorns also lets you round up 2x, 3x or even 10x which means Acorns will multiply that spare change amount by whatever multiplier you set in your settings. I have mine set up on 2x roundups 🙂
Full Features of Acorns
Other than investing and saving features, Acorns also lets you plan your retirement or lets you invest for your children. Additionally, Acorns educates you about financial literacy, via which you can learn about investing, stocks, bonds, micro-investing, dividends, compound interest, and more.
It also offers guides about investing where you can learn the basics of investing, trading, brokerage accounts, index funds, and many advanced things.
Users can utilize the platform using their desktops and laptops and also by downloading the application on their phone.
The platform lets you link your credit card and bank account. It provides you options for round-ups, and also gives you options to choose an investment portfolio. We will go into those details later in the article.
|Automatic investment available||Yes|
|Account fees||No charge to buy, sell or cash out|
|Account Type||Taxable and IRA|
Pros and Cons of Investing Money in Acorns Account
Acorns is an efficient platform with various ways to save and invest. It is the platform that motivates new investors to start with something great. However, as everything has two sides, Acorns is not an exception. On that matter, we bring you the pros and cons of using the platform to decide with an even clear mind if you should go with the platform or look for other options in the market.
Pros of using Acorns
The Acorns automatic approach makes it easier for a person to carry out online transactions. Your spare change automatically gets invested with the round-up feature and gives you returns instead of rotting in the account and earning nothing.
One can associate as many cards or bank accounts as they want, to their Acorns account. Therefore when a transaction is done using any of these accounts, the spare change gets automatically invested. A customer can always decide if they want the round-up or not.
Acorns provide you the choice so you can round up every transaction automatically or manually. There is a list that shows your recent purchase history. In this list, you can choose the transaction that you want to activate for the round-up option.
Other than these round-ups, a person can also make a significant investment to earn better and big returns. Saying that you can make a lump sum amount investment or as small as $5.
Minimum investment: Acorns is among the innovative platforms that aims to liberate the users to consider the investment as a laidback process that they can do while being relaxed. For using Acorns, you need to invest just $1 and to access its investment, saving, and ATM card-like services, one needs to pay just $5.
Acorns Earn: Acorns has a great feature for those individuals who want to take advantage of their services and search for a job. Also, if you are not ready for investment, you can use their search job option, ZipRecruiter, and stumble upon different great career opportunities.
Acorns also lets you earn cashback on purchases you make through their earn portal. They have partnered with thousands of companies and big brands like Airbnb, Warby Parker, Walmart, Nike,Sephora, and many more. Every time you make a transaction using Acorns on their partner websites, you automatically get the cashback in your account. The cashback may take up to a month to reflect in your account. Hence customers can earn $5 to $25 as a bonus in their account from their everyday purchases.
Investing for kids: As mentioned earlier, Acorns also offers a family subscription plan. Using the family account, you can save and invest on the behalf of your kids as well. This means that you can invest for minors and use this money with returns to provide a better future for your kids.
Also, the child himself/herself can own the ownership of his/her/their investment once he/she/they reach the age of 18. This way, the platform provides a great way to educate kids about investing and let them have a more financially strong future with Acorns.
Educational content: The website is greatly suitable for new investors or the young ones who don’t have much knowledge about investing or are scared of the technicalities of investing. They provide various tutorial kind of write-ups to their investors in which they cover the basics of investing and advanced topics. Their content is beneficial in building their foundation about investing and then stepping into the world confidently.
Now, let’s head on to discussing the downsides of using Acorns
Management fee: Acorns offers three types of accounts costing you $1, $3, and $5. You can choose from these options as per your convenience and requirement. Surely Acorns charges you these small amounts that might not sound much; however, the notable thing is that these charges are flat fees. Like others in the race, Acorns does not charge a certain percentage but charges a flat rate regardless of the amount you are investing.
This can work like both a pro and a con. For bigger investors, this can be a blessing since they can invest any amount, and they just need to pay this flat fee. However, newbies who don’t invest much would surely give a second thought to these flat charges before starting with Acorns.
So if you use Acorns only for the round-up contribution, that fee of $3 or $5 can be a significant charge.
However, there are better competitors if you have a look. Wealthfront for example charges only 0.25% per year. Stash is another such provider which doesn’t charge as less as Wealthfront, but it charges less than Acorns and that is $1 a month for a brokerage account which also offers a bank account with a debit card plus other rewards. That is how there can be other options, and as being a new investor, you should inspect all your options before finalizing one.
Account fees: Many times, investors choose to move their investment to another provider. Acorns might be a bit harsh to you during these times as they charge $50 per ETF to transfer the investment. It’s not that other providers don’t charge a fee, but Acorns is on the higher side.
However, as a solution, you can sell your investments and then transfer that cash to your bank account without paying any such charges. But still, $50 per ETF is a significant fee compared to other providers in the industry.
Small-ish portfolio: Acorns provides you a suitable list of investment options based on your age, income, goals, and time horizon, just like other providers. However, some investors might feel like Acorns portfolios are limited as they cover just five to seven assets in categories like real estate and large-cap stocks. It also offers investment options for small-cap stocks and different bonds.
To beginners, these options can be enough; however, to the experienced investors, Acorns might not come as enough, or later, they might feel the need to stretch up a bit more. In this stage, an investor might go for independent investing rather than relying on a platform like Acorns or other providers, for that matter.
Investment Portfolio of Acorns
A portfolio means a good list of items that are selected to suit one’s needs. In financial terms, a portfolio is the selection of investments. When a person first steps into the world of investment, they need guidance. At that time, one doesn’t know what funds or types of investments to choose.
In this stage, the investment companies provide you a curated selection of investments. Acorns does the same; it arranges a list of the right investment options, so you don’t feel like playing in the dark anymore; you don’t have to live on flukes because Acorns helps you at every step.
In an investment portfolio, the types of investments include stocks, mutual funds, bonds and other assets like real estate. ETFs or exchange-traded funds are other types of funds in popularity; the same is offered by Acorns to invest in. ETF, in simple terms, is like a package of different types of investments but in a single place.
So when you invest in an ETF and then sell your shares, it works like buying or selling the stocks; the benefit here is that you benefit from different types of investments instead of a single one. Acorns provide you the specific type of ETFs that suit your investment style and needs.
When you are on Acorns, you can choose from five portfolios. These portfolios contain bonds and stocks where you invest about 60% in stocks and 40% in bonds. However, you can change your portfolio as per your risk-taking nature; for example, you can have 20% in stocks and 80% in bonds.
Five Acorns portfolios:
Conservative: 20% stocks / 80% bonds
Moderately Conservative: 40% stocks / 60% bonds
Moderately Aggressive: 72% stocks / 28% bonds
Moderate: 60% stocks / 40% bonds
Aggressive: 80% stocks / 20% bonds
How to Sign Up with Acorns?
If you are still staying with the write-up, that means you want to consider Acorns as your investment mate. The next step is all about starting things or creating your account with Acorns.
To start with the platform, one can either go to the web version or download the app from the Apple App Store or Google PlayStore. The app is available for both Android and iPhone devices.
Acorns, however, can only be created for U.S. citizens!
Once the account is created, you can make a choice for the account you want to round up. When you use this account, your spare change will start getting invested. You can choose from the list of banks, or you can also type the bank’s name if it is not already listed there.
You then need to log in to your account, and this way, your account will be connected to Acorns.
You then need to make a connection with your checking account. You will be using this one to transact with the Acorns account. Remember, this is not similar to the round-up account.
To create the investment account, you will need to fill in various details such as first and last name, phone number, and birth date. Plus, a security question as well.
You will also get the following questions:
Have you got an affiliation with any broker?
Are you notified by the IRS for backup withholding?
Do you hold 10% of shares of a publicly-traded company?
If nothing of these applies to you, leave the fields unchecked.
In the next screen, you will be required to fill in your employment details, such as your yearly income, net worth, reasons for investing, and other employment details. Acorns ask these questions to suggest suitable investment options and create a better investment portfolio.
The investment reasons show as:
- Long-term investment
- Major purchase
- Short-term investment
As being a U.S. citizen, you would need to provide the Social Security number. This number will be verified for the users, their tax statement and to prevent any fraud.
Once you are done with all such formalities, it is time to log in with Acorns and start your very first investment!
Comparison of Acorns with Our Competitors: Robinhood and Stash
When we talk about the competitors of Acorns, two names come to mind: Robinhood and Stash. Here we will get to know a bit about these two platforms and how they are similar and different from each other so that you can choose more wisely from these three platforms.
Robinhood can be anyone’s favorite and especially the new investors since it offers a zero-fee account. That’s right! Robinhood doesn’t care about charging a sign-up fee; you can trade on the platform without paying a penny.
Robinhood provides you a portfolio of stocks, ETFs, and even cryptocurrencies. Even if it is a zero-fee investing app, it does live to its promise and provides you all necessary notifications from time to time. So when you don’t want to have the hassle of giving any registration fee, Robinhood is your option.
Stash is a great investing app for people who want to learn investing and people who want to make their retirement secure. Stash, however, doesn’t offer a free sign-up, and there are certain charges as per the account you choose. It does offer taxable brokerage accounts, retirement accounts, and custodial accounts.
You need to pay $1 per month for taxable accounts up to $5,000 and 0.25% for larger accounts. If you wish to have a retirement account, there is a fee of $2 per month.
Here you can invest in ETFs and stocks without paying any commission fee. The platform also lets you know your ideal portfolio based on your profile, or you can always invest as per your risk-taking ability.
The Similarities among the Three
There is no minimum investment with any of the apps. You can begin with even a dollar.
All three investment apps offer a taxable account.
You can invest in ETFs with all three applications.
All three apps avail you of the ability to operate on Android and iPhone.
Robinhood charges neither an account fee nor a commission fee; it offers a completely free account to every investor.
Acorns charges $1, $3, or $5 per month per the account and services you choose.
The charges of Stash remain at $1 per month if your account is under $5,000, and for above that, it is 0.25% per.
Also, if you prefer socially responsible Investing, Stash provides the feature that is not available with both Robinhood and Stash.
With Robinhood and Stash, you can invest in individual stocks; however, Acorns does not.
If we talk about the annual fee of the three, Stash offers three types of accounts:$1, $3, and $9 per month. Those who want a retirement account have to take the $3 plan at least.
Robinhood does offer a no-fee and no commission account. However, it also offers a Gold account for $5 a month, which has more features than the free account, such as margin trading.
Acorns, on the other hand, also come up with three plans: $1, $3, and $5 per month.
The Unique Features of the Three
Investors often choose Stash for its automated trading. Meaning that once you have set up your Stash account, you don’t have to worry about taking time to sit and invest; the automated system does it all.
Robinhood tops the list because it charges you nothing for using its services. You don’t need to pay to invest in stocks, funds, and other options.
Acorns are appealing because of their round-up feature, which lets you invest your spare change after every online transaction.
Who are They Best for?
There is no good or bad investing platform until it is genuine and delivers what it claims. However, every user has different expectations and needs when it comes to investing.
Some people want an automated system where they don’t have to do manual investing. In this case, Stash comes as the best.
Traders who don’t want to give commission or account fees are best to go with Robinhood. You can trade in stock, ETF, and cryptocurrency as well.
Acorns provide an easy way to invest for people. You can have it for developing good investing habits or just to make better use of your spare change.
As you understand, Acorns is a robo advisor that lets you invest and save for your retirement. The micro-investing app is an ideal choice for developing investing habits and planning your retirement and investing on behalf of your kids. Choose from the portfolios as per your risk tolerance while investing your spare change.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should you sign up for Acorns?
Acorns is an excellent way to start investing and make great use of your spare change with every online transaction.
Is it safe to give Acorns your SSN?
SSN is required to identify and verify the information provided by every account holder. The U.S. residents do need to give their SSN to utilize the platform. Acorns uses bank-level security, 256-bit encryption, and allows two-factor authentication for added security.
What is the average return on Acorns?
The average return on Acorns depends on your chosen portfolio and how much risk you can bear. It can be anywhere from 4% to 12% based on the risk capability of the investor.
How do you cash out Acorns?
To withdraw your money on Acorns, choose the “Withdraw” option. Provide the amount you want to withdraw and confirm. Process your cash out before 11 am PST to get the amount processed the same day. It takes 3-6 business days for the amount to get into your account.
Is Acorns a good investment?
Acorns needs you to pay at least a $1 monthly fee. It is a good platform for long-term investment where you can invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs. Plus, you can use the round-up feature to invest your spare change.
Can you choose what to invest in on Acorns?
Acorns provide you five investment portfolios, and you can choose from them. Acorns choose your investment types and funds them based on your risk appetite. You cannot invest in individual stocks or index funds directly.
Is Acorns better than a savings account?
Acorns may or may not be better than a savings account as it relies on day-to-day market fluctuations. So if you don’t want to take market volatility into account, it is not better than a savings account. However, if you can take some risk and want to earn interest on your money, it is a better option than a savings account. For long-term investments, Acorns is definitely a better choice than a savings account.