Saving for the Future and the Future of Saving: What Robo-Advisor Services and Apps can do for you!

Truth be told, with few exceptions, we could all do better at consistently saving money. Luckily, there are quite a few robo-advisors and auto-saving serivces out there that can assist you with this task in a very simple and passive manner. The great part is that most are available at very low cost with tiny minimums to get started. Services like Acorns, Betterment and Wealthfront offer automated portfolio investing options based on your savings timeline and goals. Some of these robo-advisor services are even able in retirement accounts such as 401(k) and IRAs. But, the best question is what, if any, of these services are right for you and which option best fits your needs and goals!

Round it up! Automated-saving services

One option in the auto-saving space that is getting a lot of attention and I personally recommend is Acorns. This service allows you to link any bank account, credit card or PayPal account you like and it rounds up all transactions to the next dollar and deposits that amount into your Acorns account. Acorns will then invest your money within one of five portfolio options from Conservative to Aggressive. The app/website will help you select the portfolio that is best for you based on your time horizon and risk tolerance…but you can always override and select whichever you’d prefer. One awesome feature includes the option to multiply your round-ups with a 2x, 3x or 10x multiplier (example: if you have the 2x multiplier and make a purchase of $5.75, Acorns will deposit $.50 into your account instead of just $.25). Additionally, you can set up recurring deposits (weekly, monthly, etc) and do one-time deposits in your Acorn account whenever you’d like. For a full Acorns review, click here. Bee-tee-dubs, do you like shopping!? Acorns also has a “Found Money” section where you’ll get part of your purchase price refunded/deposited into your account if you use their links! Lastly, Acorns has an awesome referral program…if you use my referral to set up and fund an account, you get $5 and I get $5. On my honor, any money I get off folks using my referral link will be donated to the The Fisher House, an amazing charity that provides free housing for military families with loved ones in the hospital. If you already have an account refer your friends and it’s a win all the way around!

The Pros of Acorns are that you can get started for practically nothing (open an account for free!) and you can maximize your saving as much as you’d like through round-up multipliers and automatic/one-time additional investments. Also, the automated portfolio options make it simple to get investing without having to research individual stocks and mutual funds. Furthermore, Acorns simplifies the saving process for people who are bad about saving money or simply don’t have the time to focus on saving and investing. Lastly, the referral program allows for everyone to make a little extra money!

The Cons are that Acorns charges $1 per month on accounts under $5K (unless you’re a student and sign-up with a .edu email) for it’s investment services and 0.25% annually on accounts over $5K (which is in line with other robo-advisor services). Also, Acorns doesn’t have any 401(k) or IRA options 😦

So, if automated saving sounds interesting, check out Acorns and it’s (lower rated) peer Stash (for comparison), do your research and set up an account! And again, if you do want to join Acorns, utilize the referral program if you have a friend with an account or use my referral link and I’ll donate all referral $ to the Fisher House.

Robo-Advisors! 

If you want to get investing with ease but aren’t keen to the auto-saving round-up options of Acorns or Stash, consider a more “traditional” robo-advisor service. These services also offer portfolios that you can get started investing in with low money but they don’t offer the auto-saving round-up options. The highest overall rated options in this space (according to Nerd Wallet’s 2017 rundown of robo-advisors) is Wealthfront and Betterment. Wealthfront requires $500 to get started and with Betterment you can get started for zilch but they have slightly higher management fees depending on your account balance. From everything I’ve seen, both seem like very good options and personally, I’m considering moving funds over to Betterment.

Overall, there are quite a few options in the automated round-up savings and robo-advisor space that allow anyone to get started investing easily and consistently with minimal capital required to get going. While you aren’t likely to get rich and be able to retire off of any of these accounts (unless you’re putting serious money away every month), these options are simple and give you the flexibility to pull money out in the case of an emergency or when “life happens.” If you’re interested, do your research and consult a professional before making any investment decisions…I’m happy to recommend and give my $0.02 but everyone’s situation is different and, disclaimer, I’m not a licensed financial adviser (but if you need one lemme know, I’ve got some hook-ups).

I hope you found this useful! With a New Year comes a fresh chance to start focusing on your saving, investing and financial goals. As always, I do “this” to help all of you achieve your financial goals so please let me know what areas you’d like covered and hit me up with questions!

Godspeed! ‘Merica!

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