The Acorn investing app has been praised by both investors and journalists alike for finally getting millennials interested in investing.
Millennials make up the vast majority of Acorn’s user base of 650,000 members.
What’s so great about the Acorn investing app?
And is it worth downloading and jumping on the bandwagon?
As a fellow Millennial, I had to see for myself what all the fuss was about.
So what is the Acorn investing app?
The Acorn investing app has taken the old school concept of saving your spare change and put a modern spin on it in an app.
So how it works is, you can give the Acorn app permission to monitor your bank accounts, credit and debit cards.
The Acorn app will then round up any purchases. Let’s say you spend $39.90 on make-up, the Acorn app will round this up to $40 and automatically put $0.10 into your investing portfolio.
The simplicity of putting your spare change away for investment is the main selling point of Acorn. If you are someone who struggles to save, this is a pain free way of putting money away for investment.
By no means will Acorns make you wealthy or speed up your retirement savings at first but it is a great app for people who struggle to save.
How will your spare change be invested?
The Acorn app lets you choose between five different portfolios on a scale of conservative to aggressive.
Here is a summary of the five portfolios you can choose from:
What will you be investing in?
The Acorn app states that portfolios are made up of the following:
Exchange Traded Funds
Exchange traded funds (ETFs) are a collection of various investments such as shares of stock, bonds, oil futures, gold bars, foreign currency etc.
The major advantage of investing in an ETF over investing directly in a company like Apple for example, is the ability to diversify.
You can also invest only small amounts. Often, investing directly in a company requires a large minimum investment.
An asset class is a group of securities that have similar characteristics and behave similarly in a marketplace. The three main asset classes are:
- Equities or stocks,
- Fixed income or bonds, and
- Cash equivalents or money market instruments.
How do you know if these portfolios will perform well?
The Acorn app says its portfolios are developed with help from Nobel Prize-winning economist, Dr. Harry Markowitz.
You might be thinking who? Those were my thoughts exactly.
But Markowitz is known as the ‘father of Modern Portfolio Theory’ and from my research he is the leading expert in investing and putting together portfolios. So it sounds like you will be in good hands if he has given the tick to these portfolios.
Each portfolio also only includes well-known investment management companies. So no stocks of fly-by-night companies, only tried and tested corporations.
The Pros of the Acorn investing app
- Everything is automated: Once you set your account up and select your preferred investment portfolio, you can pretty much just leave it to run by itself.
- No minimum investment: Unlike many other schemes, there is no minimum requirement to start with the Acorn investment app. I do note that you have to put in a $5 investment into one of the five portfolio types to start but that’s about it.
- Your favorite retailer will give you money to invest: The Found Money function allows your favorite retailer to make an investment on your behalf, as long as you used the card that is linked to your Acorn investment app account.
You simply log into the Acorn investing app, go to the retailer you want to shop and when you buy, that retailer will invest in your account within 30-60 days. Pretty sweet deal.
Acorn has partnered with over 100 major retailers and companies who are willing to invest for you. These include companies like Apple, Beats by Dre, Airbnb, Zeel, Uber, Hurley, GNC, Fandango etc.
4. Great educational Resources: The Acorn investing app has regularly provides new content about credit card debt, investment types, loans, and all types of financial advice. This is great for those new to investing.
The Cons of Acorn investing app
Management Fee: The management fee is $1 a month, which doesn’t sound much but if you are only investing $10 a month, that is a whopping 10% management fee and you don’t want the small amount you are investing to be eaten up by the management fee.
That is pretty high when you consider the industry standard fee of around 1.25%.
To make this management fee worth your while, I suggest trying to save between $50 and $100 a month so that the management fee becomes 1%-2% each month.
Limited Account Options: If you are a seasoned investor, you will find the portfolio options very limited.
There is also only one option of the type of account you set up – a personal taxable brokerage account. That structure does not allow you to deduct taxes from capital gains or losses.
But with this target market, the Acorn investing app is making it simple and easy to invest. If you are a seasoned investor I suspect you will probably be using one of Acorn’s traditional competitors.
Is Acorns for you – will it grow an oak tree from leftover Acorns?
If you have never managed to save enough to properly invest and want to make the most out of your spare change and then this is app is perfect for you.
If you have found investing boring in the past, the Acorn investing app is a great way to get into investing. You will find it both fun and easy to use.
However, you won’t be growing an oak tree anytime soon, especially if you are only putting in your leftover Acorns.
But if you’re looking for a more lucrative way to grow your wealth, then you definitely need to check out my no.1 recommendation to build a long-term stream of income. This will allow you to grow your acorns into large oak trees that continue to bear fruit for years to come.
Well that’s it for my Acorn review. Let me know what you think of the Acorn investing app. I’d love to hear your experience with it!