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App Review: Acorns Sets Investing on Autopilot

I don’t recommend or review a lot of apps, but this one I felt like the world needs know about and it’s receiving a lot of press lately.

In August of 2015 I installed an app called Acorns. My brother recommended it to me and for once I took him up on it ;). In November of 2016 (just over a year) I withdrew $1,075.00 from my Acorns account. My goal was to set aside money for Christmas and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

How does Acorns work?

If you’re uncomfortable with sharing sensitive data such as banking info or credit card accounts online, this app is definitely not for you. Acorns asks you to sync your bank account so it can automatically withdraw and invest funds from connected accounts. I should mention that security is on the up and up with this app and I felt very comfortable using it from the start. Still, some folks just don’t want to go there and I can’t blame them for that.

During the first 3 months after activating the app I was using the default settings, which simply rounds up every transaction you make to the nearest dollar and transfers that difference to your Acorns account in $5 increments.

In October of 2015 I set the app to invest an additional $20 every month. This was kind of an experiment, and at best, I was just hoping to finally find a place to sock away some money. So far so good, and I was seeing small returns on my investment. So I kept at it.

It’s really a simple concept, but it does take a bit of explaining to understand how the app works.

Here’s an example

Let’s say I buy some gas for $26.05. Acorns earmarks .95 cents as a future investment. When your earmarks accumulate to $5.00, Acorns takes that amount and invests it in a portfolio of stocks.

I’m not a stock market expert by any stretch of the imagination. You are tied to the wins and losses of the market, of which I have little knowledge of. However, you can establish how aggressive your portfolio is. In my case, I picked the most aggressive portfolio and hoped for the best knowing I only had a year to meet my goal. Acorns allows you to select from 5 different portfolios ranging from conservative to aggressive. It’s entirely up to you. Acorns will not allow you pick and choose stocks, which actually makes it really simple.

How much did I earn?

In April of 2016 (9 months) I had $618.00 in my Acorns account. Hoping to reach $1000.00 by December, I decide to get more aggressive. I set the app to invest $50 from my checking account every month on top of the automatic round-ups.

When all was said and done I earned roughly $85 in dividends and saved $990 over a 15 month period for a grand total of $1075.00.

The benefit to using this app is that the money isn’t exactly easy to get to. That’s what’s wrong with most saving plans. If you stash money in a savings account, you can access it pretty easily. With Acorns, I knew it was a process and it could take 5-7 days to transfer the money back into your checking account.

How much does it cost?

Acorns has a monthly service fee of $1 for balances under $5,000. I was actually quite surprised to see how low it was. When I finally withdrew my money, about 13 months later, my fees were $13.00. Considering how much it benefited my goal of saving for Christmas, it was well worth it.

Acorns is not for the seasoned investor. There are better places to put large sums of money if you’re serious about investing. I would, however recommend this for anyone who has trouble saving money every month or folks who have a savings goal such as a car, a vacation or Christmas spending. I think it would be brilliant for teens and millennials. Download the app and let me know what you think.

As always, thanks for reading!

Chris Kitzmiller

About Chris Kitzmiller

I help businesses become more profitable by sharing their story on every device to the audiences that matter. Have we connected yet? Google+ | LinkedIn | Twitter

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