Instead of pairing you with financial advisers, many of these programs keep costs low by using software and algorithms to help you create portfolios that are in line with your goals and risk tolerance. Figuring out exactly which tool might be best for you depends on your goals and how much money you have to invest.
Even small investments are split up across multiple stocks and bonds. The investment approaches range from conservative to aggressive, with the more conservative portfolios holding more bonds and the aggressive portfolios investing more in stocks. After creating their accounts, consumers can choose to keep investing in small increments through a feature that tracks their daily expenses.
Customers who link their Acorns account to their debit or credit card can have each transaction rounded up to the nearest dollar, and Acorns will compile that spare change to be invested at a later time. Stash users who invest mostly in one sector may receive messages encouraging them to diversify by choosing one of the three more general investments, said Ed Robinson, co-founder and president of Stash. The company plans to roll out more educational information for customers.
Another option is to diversify by buying shares of an ETF, which already invest in a group of stocks or bonds. Say, someone who already has company stock from their employer may decide not to invest in that same company again through their portfolio. When customers want to withdraw cash from their accounts, they can choose if they want to sell investments that will lead to gains that they may have to pay taxes on, losses that can help offset other income, or if they want to minimize their tax bill by balancing both.
Are you working toward more than one goal? For example, a customer can have an IRA for retirement savings, a separate account for a home down payment and another for general wealth building. After answering questions about their goals, investors receive guidance on which kind of account to open and how to invest those funds using ETFs. Someone with a far-off goal may be recommended a more aggressive portfolio, and people saving for short-term goals might be pointed to more conservative options.
It will be up to the investor to check back in and make sure that approach still makes sense for them. A new video series from The Washington Post. How to buy a car. How to start a k. How to throw a dinner party.More...