Acorns investing app


#1

Anybody used Acorns before? One feature is It takes your debit card purchase and rounds it up to the next dollar and invest it for you. It has good reviews from over 200K people.


#2

Here is the Acorns review


#3

Yes. Have been using it for about 18 months. I really like it. It made getting into investing in ETF’s really easy for a novice. The round up feature is great. Although a lot of banks offer this too these days.

I’ve done a couple of reviews:



#4

how helpful is that? what else are you considering?


#5

So does it not work with credit cards? That would be a deal breaker for me if I missed out on my points.


#6

You can use it with credit cards too - it just monitors all of your transactions, rounds it up to the nearest dollar, then pulls that money out of your bank account.

Personally, I don’t think Acorns is a good app to use. The monthly fee is $1 per month, which seems like nothing. If all you’re doing is rounding up your spare change, you’re basically not going to make anything after paying that $1 fee each month. Remember, costs matter.

For a free alternative, use Qapital. It saves your spare change into a bank account, but all you have to do is once a week or once a month, pull that extra money out and go invest it.


#7

I don’t like it since the monthly fee in relation to how much money you put in is too much.

You’re better off just opening a vanguard account or something and have it take $10 out of your account every week because that’s essentially all acorn ends up doing.


#8

Can you elaborate please? Sorry, not getting the context of your two qu’s :persevere:.


#9

Meanwhile, with Robinhood all trades are free.


#10

Haha, apologies, I think I was responding to @quoting. How helpful is rounding up your next dollar when you could intentionally choose to invest more regularly? If you’re going to take the time to sign up for an external service, why not do it more intentionally. I know with some savings account, you can just click a button for debit card purchases to round up the next dollar to savings…which seems minimal effort. But if you’re creating a whole new log-in for an entirely different application… go bigger!


#11

Ahaaaa, that makes sense!

When I got into Acorns, I was a total investing newbie. I didn’t even know what ETFs or diversified portfolios were. I wanted to start investing, but as a risk adverse person, I couldn’t justify transferring money into investments to myself. So, I knew I needed something that would only take small amounts of money I wouldn’t notice were gone and needed it to be done automatically so I didn’t chicken out… Which is where Acorns fits in perfectly.

So, I think it really shines for newbies who want to start investing but don’t know how and don’t have a lot of money to start with. But, for anyone else, it is really of no value.


#12

For what it’s worth.

The fee for Acorn is $1/month for balances under $5,000. So, at $12 a year for a $1000 balance, that’s 1.2%. The FIRE community goes ape over advisor fees of 1%. They love apps like Acorn as affiliates, though. I don’t here any ranting over these fees.

For smaller savers, their target market, it’a rip off. Better to automate savings through your bank, credit union, or online bank. Most don’t have fees.


#13

Robinhood has really made an impact on the market with no-commission trading, this is great but there are some things in their business model which will work against you as an investor.

Robinhood makes money on un-invested funds, meaning they make more money when you make less.
Some brokers now start to support buying fractional shares so you can invest all your funds even at lower amounts, Robinhood does not support this today and probably never will.

Robinhood does not support automatic reinvestment of dividends (DRIP) either, this should be a no-brainer to implement and support but it would work against their business model keeping un-invested funds on users accounts.

Personally I have some mixed feelings about Robinhood, I love what they have done, disrupting a whole market and forced all brokers to lower fees which benefits all consumers. Though the idea of having an underlying incentive to keep customers funds un-invested throws some warnings.


#14

I’ve been using Acorns for a little over a year. I like it, although yes the fees are a higher % for a smaller balance account. I’m a financial planner by profession and I’m very fee conscious. BUT, I also believe that fees are somewhat irrelevant if something causes you to do something better behavior wise.
I connected all of my accounts to this and on average, my round ups were about $60-70 / mo. This is money I would not have saved before so from a behavioral perspective, it’s worth it to me to pay them the $1 / mo.
I also really like that the portfolio is low cost and skews to smaller / value oriented companies which should lead to better long term returns.

Full disclosure, I never look at my account (on purpose). Recently I signed in to find that there was a glitch and my accounts were disconnected for 4-5 months. Meaning no round ups but I was still charged the fees. They have no phone number to call & their email response was that they would not refund those fees even though the glitch was their fault.

I’d say Acorns is a good option if you want a way to save money that requires little work. But I would suggest using their round up multiplier in order to get your balance high enough to minimize the % of fees.


#15

I am on the fence on Acorns. I probably wouldn’t use it myself, but I agree with @GreaterGoodFinancial that for a newbie the rewards (forced savings you wouldn’t otherwise do) outweight the costs ($1/mo).

If you can save $1000 a year through Acorns, a $12 fee is 1.2%, which is high as a percentage. But this is more of a behavioral modification tool, and I do think $12 a year is worth it if it forces you to save and invest when you otherwise wouldn’t.

It’s kind of like all the statistics that show that homeowners have on average a much higher net worth than renters. Is it because homeowners as a class are just better at personal finance? No, it’s because they are forced to contribute to the principal every month (equivalent to savings) or the bank will take the house. Pretty good motivation to save money.

The counter-argument from renters is that they can save money on rent and invest the difference, and while that’s a nice idea, people don’t actually do it. The money they could be saving gets spent, while the homeowner’s forced savings account (the home equity) continues to grow.

Same with Acorns and apps like it - personal finance bloggers can scream about the high fees all day long, and say people should just consistently save and invest in a low/no fee account. But for some people the hurdle of doing it manually is too much, and the money they could be saving is just spent instead.

TLDR: For some people, the choice is between saving $1000 a year and paying a $12 fee to do it, or saving $0. For those people, I think the fees are absolutely worth it.


#16

I’ve been using Acorns for a bit over a year. My goal with the app is to create a special purpose pot of money that I can pull out in a few years to pay for 2 different life events in the next 3-6 years. I’m hoping to have roughly $20,000 in the account by then. I’m at just above $7k now. The reason I’ve elected to put the money here is:

  1. it is “hidden” from my bank meaning that I can’t randomly pull the cash out and use it for something else
  2. saving is effortless - a small weekly automatic contribution and a somewhat random amount from round-ups, multiplied
  3. The fees are really low once you get a decent balance in. I think I’m paying something like 0.2% in the form of those $1 monthly fees. No idea what the ETF fees look like and I know that I’d get more transparancy with a simple Vanguard index fund, but this is just so easy.
  4. Did I mention the effortless part? I also use Digit - same reason. Probably stupid, all things considered, but I like how nifty it all is…