Minimalist Investing with Acorns

acorns

That title makes me laugh as I think of squirrels investing their Acorns.  This isn’t about squirrels, instead it’s about easy minimalist investing using an app called Acorns.

I have money in a couple of mutual funds, but I’ve never been happy with the management tools available to manage those funds.  They have online access that is difficult to navigate.  I always have trouble figuring out how to add money or make withdrawals.  Some have minimum contribution requirements for initial investments and/or for additions.

The mutual funds I have been using feel like old companies that are begrudgingly adding technology.  In todays world you would think that it would be easy to add a couple dollars here and there to your mutual fund.  You would also think it would be easy to get that money back out of the fund and into your hands.  Many mutual fund companies still send a paper check when you make a withdrawal, and it takes weeks to arrive.

Easy Investing from your Phone

I’ve been waiting for something better to show up in the investing scene, and that wait is over.  Enter Acorns — An app for iOS devices (iPhone, iPad) that makes investing easy.  (Android version coming soon.)

This app makes investing easy.  I can add funds directly from my bank account.  I can withdraw funds and have them electronically deposited into my bank account.  And it’s all from an easy to use interface on my iPhone or iPad.  There are no minimum deposit requirements, which makes it easier for me to deposit a little money here or there when I have it available.

Three Simple Choices – Round Up, Automatic, or Manual Investing

If the ease of use wasn’t enough they have another really cool feature.  You can set the app to monitor your checking account or credit cards for purchases, and have it round those purchases up to the next even dollar amount.  It then deposits that rounded-up-amount in your Acorns investment account.  You can have the app do this automatically or you can manually approve the round up deposits.

For example, say you made a purchase that totals $5.75.  Acorns will round that number up to $6.00 and deposit the difference, so 25 cents.  That essentially takes your spare change and invests it in a mutual fund.

If you’d rather have something more predictable, you can also (or instead) set the app to invest the same amount every month using their recurring deposit feature.

Or you can choose to not do any automatic investing and manually add funds whenever you desire.

Easy Fund Selection

Another bonus for someone like me that doesn’t want to take on the part-time job of researching mutual funds to find the best performers, is that it invests in index funds.  Again, this contributes to the minimalist feel and easy investing.

An index fund is a type of mutual fund constructed to match or track the components of a market index.  The S&P 500 is one example of an index that you may have heard of.  In a sense it invests in all the stocks within an index.  Most mutual funds have an advisor or team of advisors that try to beat the index funds.  That sets the index funds as the baseline for others to try to beat.  Some beat them and some don’t.

In my mind, it’s a lot easier to simply invest in these index funds rather than worrying about whether a fund will or won’t see better growth than the index.  Investing in index funds also means lower fees, as you are not paying a team of advisors.

Acorns offers five different levels of investing based on the level of risk you are wiling to accept: Conservative, Moderately Conservative, Moderate, Moderately Aggressive, and Aggressive.  When you sign up, you will take a short survey that will recommend a risk level.  You can accept that level, or you can adjust it within the app.

Like any investing, risk is part of the equation.  The more aggressive you invest, the more opportunity for growth, but also more risk of loss.  Acorns recommended Moderately Aggressive for me, which I felt the appropriate category and the one I would have chosen even without the auto selection based on the survey.

Benefits

  • Ease of use
  • Easy to add funds (Add funds from bank account)
  • Easy to withdraw funds (Direct deposited into bank account)
  • Round-up investing allows you to invest your spare change.
  • Automatic monthly investment option.
  • Ability to add funds at any time.
  • No Minimums for adding funds.
  • Invests in index funds.
  • Easily select risk level.

Downsides

  • Only available on iOS devices (although Android is coming soon).
  • No option to manage from a computer.
  • Acorns is a new company (although investments are insured should Acorns go under)
  • Index funds may not earn as much as some actively managed, well performing mutual funds.

Screenshots

Summary

If you are like me and don’t want to spend a lot of time figuring out the investment scene, Acorns is a great way to (potentially) earn more interest than your bank account, and do it in a way that is really easy to manage.

I love the round-up feature, and the ease at which I can add and withdraw funds.  I like that I don’t have to spend a lot of time researching funds, and instead I can simply select a risk level.

Acorns is exactly what I was looking for in an easy-to-use investment tool.  I’d call it the perfect investment tool for minimalists.  You can visit their website if you want any more info.  https://www.acorns.com

*Note — I’m not paid or compensated in any way for this review.  I read about Acorns in some news articles and it was easy to use and exactly the kind of investment tool I was looking for, so I decided to share it with my readers.

** Also Note — Be aware that any investing comes with risk, and I am not responsible for any profits or losses that you may incur.  Also I am in no way qualified to offer financial advice, so do your research to determine if Acorns is right for you.

Don’t you hate disclaimers?  Me too, but I felt them necessary in this case.  Anyway, what are your thoughts on this?  Share in the comments section below.

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