When it comes to micro-investment applications, there are two names that usually stands out — these are Acorns and Stash. While they both seem alike, they are totally different from one another. Thus, this comparison review — Acorns vs Stash.
If you are new to micro-investment, it is very important that you fully understand everything first before getting into it. More so, you have to fully know the tools you are going to use. Otherwise, you may encounter problems along the way – which may cause a waste of both time and money.
Just so you know, or perhaps you already know that both Acorns and Stash are apps that aimed at newbies who want to grow their money but have very little or no time at all or the expertise to manage it.
As we mentioned earlier, both apps are very popular in the micro-investment industry. Both of them mixes education and automation to help users understand what they’re doing, and at the same time, be able to reach their financial goals.
But then again, while they seem alike, the question is — which one is the best?
Before we talk about that, here’s a little information that may be helpful for you especially if you are still deciding whether or not to try out micro-investing.
In an article by Business Insider, Chris Concannon, chief executive of stock exchange operator Bats Global Markets was quoted that he strongly believes that “ETF assets will grow to more than $15 trillion over the next 10 years“.
More so, Concannon says that while the number may seem overwhelming for some, this is actually feasible given the fact that there is a new generation of investors in the United States — and yes, we are talking about the young ones.
Concannon said that the millennials (aged 20 to 35 years old) are currently the largest generation in the US. In fact, they are approximately 92 million to date. Guess what? They are actually the “first generation entering the investment arena through the ease of ETF investing“. In the same article, it mentioned that according to Bloomberg, 40% of millennials in the US do own ETFs.
With these predictions and the numbers, it is not surprising that Acorns and Stash are becoming popular. Well, in fact, many of Acorns and Stash users actually belongs to the younger generation – after all, they are more tech-savvy and internet-savvy than the older ones.
So, are you now convinced that micro-investing apps do work? If your answer is yes, then, it’s time to proceed to make a comparison between two of the most popular micro-investing apps – Acorns vs Stash.
But first, allows us to define what micro-investing apps are.
ABOUT MICRO-INVESTING APPLICATION
According to Investopedia, a micro-investing platform or application is an online tool that “allows users to regularly save small sums of money”. These micro-investing platforms “aim to aim to remove traditional barriers to investing, such as brokerage account minimums, to encourage people to invest even if they have limited incomes and assets“.
Typically, the app makes saving very easy. We found Dave Ramsey’s example about the relevance of micro-investing apps very insightful and it actually makes micro-investing apps easy to understand. He says, “When you connect a debit card, a micro-investing app can round up your purchases to the dollar or make automatic transfers for you.”
This basically sums up what micro-investing apps can do for you, and as you can see, it really does make life easier. You let your money grow without having to worry about how to make it grow.
Before we start our very own comparison review between Acorns and Stash, we thought you may be interested to check below video by Everyday Investing wherein he tackles the two apps and gives his very insightful and very informative review. To watch, just hit the play button.
ACORNS VS STASH: QUICK COMPARISON
Now, before we go into details, before dissecting every detail about these two apps, here’s a table that basically sums up some of the most important details that you need to know about these two micro-investing apps:
|ITEM FOR COMPARISON
|Novice investors, frequent & hands-off contributions
|Long-term investments, asset class-oriented portfolios
|Plans at $1, $2, and $3 per month
|Plans at $1, $2, and $3 per month
|Up to $560 (cash credit to invest with qualifying deposit)
|5 portfolio options
|3 portfolio options, plus around 60 ETFs and 100+ single stocks
|Individual brokerage accounts, Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, and debit account
|Individual brokerage accounts, Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, debit account, and up to two custodial accounts
From the table above, if you will look into it, Acorns seems to have a slight edge over Stash. However, it is too early to say yet that Acorns wins it as we are going to still look into the other details that will make us fully aware of what both Acorns and Stash can give – their highs and downsides, as well as their notable features, and costs.
ACORNS VS STASH: BRIEF DESCRIPTION
Before we look into the other details about these two micro-investment apps, let us first and foremost find out what their respective profile is.
Acorns is a micro-investing app, however, it offers more of a Robo-advisor experience. This basically means that Acorns will be the one responsible for picking as well as automating your investments.
The app was launched back in 2012, and since its inception, its number of investors has grown to nearly 4 million to date. The app is both available for Android and iOS users, and you may also access it online using your laptop computer.
Acorns offer three different plans, which are as follows:
- Acorns Core ($1/month) – This one is a personal investment account.
- Acorns Core + Acorns Later ($2/month) – This plan refers to Acorns’s personal investment account and IRA.
- Acorns Core + Acorns Later + Acorns Spend ($3/month) – This adds an Acorns checking account.
Please note that the above prices are good for accounts under $1 million only. Should you reach $1 million and more, Acorns costs $100/month.
As mentioned, Acorns is a micro-investing app, and it bills itself as the very first mobile investment application that allows you to open an account using your smartphone. You can definitely do this by connecting your smartphone to your bank accounts as well as credit cards. After, the application will automatically invest your spare change. Yes, you read it right. So, it’s like not wasting any dollar at all! Also, there is no limit to the number of cards and accounts you can link to the app.
Referring to investing your spare change, Acorns calls it as Round-Ups as the number of your purchases are automatically rounded up to the next increment. Apart from it, you can also set scheduled investment deposits according to your preference.
Stash was founded in 2015. This micro-investing app offers investors a diverse set of curated portfolios that allow you to invest based on your interests.
Unlike Acorns, Stash offers several different types of accounts, which include the following:
- A dedicated investment account
- Traditional, Roth, and SEP IRAs
- Custodial accounts
To date, Stash is proud to say that they have over 4 million users already. Just like Acorns, Stash is also available for both Android and iOS users, and you may also access it using your laptop or desktop computer.
Stash offers three major account plan options, which requires $5 to invest in any of them. These options include:
- Beginner ($1/month) – This plan includes a personal investment account, unlimited trades, as well as debit account access, and financial education.
- Growth ($3/month) – This account option includes a personal investment account, as well as a retirement account, unlimited trades, and financial education.
- Stash+ ($9/month) – This plan includes everything in Growth plus custodial accounts for up to two children, and you will also receive a metal debit card with 2x stock back.
All of the above-mentioned plans come with unlimited trades, unlimited education, as well as online financial coaching.
Unlike Acorns, Stash Invest only makes investment recommendations and does not do investing on your behalf. Stash lets you do the actual investing.
With Stash, they allow your investment portfolio to be a combination of investment themes. This is comprised of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) set in an asset allocation consistent with your chosen theme.
Stash lets you link the app to your bank account, which will enable you to move your money back and forth. Unlike Acorns, Stash allows you to link one bank account only.
ACORNS VS STASH: SIMILARITIES
So, now that we already have discussed what Acorns and Stash are, let’s take a look at what these two micro-investing apps do have in common.
Since both are micro-investing apps, this means investors can take advantage of the following:
– The ability to invest in using your spare change. Micro means little, which is precisely what micro-investing is all about. It refers to investing in using very little money, which is really great. After all, no amount is too small when it comes to saving and investing as well.
– An expanded portfolio. Both Acorns and Stash assess your risk when it comes to investing, and help you make informed investment decisions. This helps you get rid of regretting your decisions.
– A pre-set investment process. The very reason micro-investing apps exist is that they wanted to help people invest without having to worry about how to make your money grow because the app does the work for you.
In addition to the above, both Acorns and Stash offers the following:
– It allows you to invest additional amounts. This means you can fast-forward your investment progress if you want to.
– They are available as mobile apps. Since both Acorns and Stash are accessible through mobile apps, this basically allows you to invest anytime and anywhere you want.
– Both Acorns and Stash have similar fee structures.
– Both Acorns and Stash does not require a minimum deposit. This is probably the best thing of all. This means you can start investing even at a very minimal amount.
ACORNS VS STASH: DIFFERENCES
This time around, let’s look into some key differences between Acorns and Stash:
First off, FEES. With Stash, they charge $1 per month for accounts under $5,000, while 0.25% per year for amounts $5,000 and more. As with Acorns, they charge $1–$9 a month depending on the level of service.
Second, INDIVIDUAL STOCKS. While Stash allows investing in individual stocks, Acorns does not.
Lastly, SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTING. Between Acorns and Stash, Stash is more focused when it comes to investing in designated SRI (socially responsible investing) portfolios.
ACORNS VS STASH: NOTABLE FEATURES
While both Acorns and Stash do have a set of similarities, both micro-investing apps do also have features that are very unique to them – individually. Let’s take a look at Acorns and Stash’s notable features below:
As we have mentioned earlier, Acorns is more of a Robo-advisor, which means it selects a portfolio for you with an asset allocation to meet your financial goals. In addition, it also invests your money in those funds.
Acorns automatically invest your money, and it also rebalances your portfolio. With Acorns, it is safe to say that your investment experience is mindless because they literally do the majority of work on your behalf.
One very unique feature of Acorns is what they called FOUND MONEY.
This feature allows an investor to earn money on purchases made using the Acorns app. Just so you know, Acorns is in partnership with over 350 companies nationwide. The Found Money feature lets you earn a percentage of your purchase of a flat amount. Your earnings will be visible in your account within 60 to 120 days.
Furthermore, here are some other notable features provided by Acorns:
- Acorns offer unique and fun options to fund your account.
- Acorn is ideal for investors who do not want to go through the hassle of choosing individual stocks or ETFs.
Stash does have more notable features as compares to Acorns. This includes the following:
– FLEXIBLE INVESTING — Apart from accepting investment recommendations through Stash Invest, you can also increase your portfolio with your own investment choices. By doing so, you have more investment options.
– AUTO-STASH – This feature allows your investments to be set on an auto-pilot mode, and automatically invest according to your preference.
– STASH LEARN – This feature is accessible both through the app and on their website. This basically refers to Stash providing financial literacy to help teach new investors the basics about investing and also about micro-investing apps so they can eventually do it themselves.
In addition, here are some other notable features provided by Stash:
- Stash can focus your investments on different themes based on your values.
- Allows you to decide whether you want to avoid putting your dollars into specific industries, or if you want to focus on particular sectors only.
- Stash offers over 100 investment options, which are composed of a limited list of both ETFs and well-known stocks.
- Stash is ideal for new investors who want to learn more about the industry while being guided in building their portfolio.
- Stash offers a banking solution, which makes it a worthwhile option to hold all of your money.
ACORNS VS STASH: INVESTMENTS AND FUND EXPENSES
When deciding which to go for between Acorns and Stash, apart from taking into consideration the management fees, you should also look into investment expenses charged by the funds themselves.
With Acorns, the use of low-cost exchange-traded funds from iShares and Vanguard, which basically comprise up to seven asset classes such as:
- Real Estate
- Corporate Bonds
- Government Bonds
- Large-cap stocks
- Small-cap stocks
- International Large-cap Stocks
- Emerging Markets
The fees on these investments average 0.10% — basically just about as cheap as they come.
Meanwhile, with Stash, they offer low-cost ETFs, and also more expensive ones in investing niche themes that might interest investors.
Investment expenses with Stash are averaged at about 0.30%, which obviously is higher compared to Acorns and even among other providers.
ACORNS VS STASH: WHICH ONE IS THE BEST?
To be honest, it’s hard to choose between the two apps as they both have their own weaknesses and strengths. But to put it simply, if you are the type of person or investor who wants to have the freedom to trade individual stocks and take more control over your portfolio, then, Stash is the best option for you.
Meanwhile, if you are the kind of investor who is more interested in collecting money, and you do not need more assets to invest other than a couple of ETFs, then Acorns is a more tailored fit for you.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON ACORNS VS STASH
There are a number of micro-investing apps available out there. As we mentioned earlier, investing apps are becoming a trend, especially among the younger generation. Needless to say, it the most accessible, and it’s very easy also given the fact that it allows you to start investing even with just a few bucks.
Between Acorns vs Stash, it is honestly hard to choose because they both have their expertise. Both apps offer different kinds of services that are equally good – depending on the type of investor or the type of person who is going to use it.
Based on the data we’ve shared, have you picked your choice yet?