Saving and investing is something new professionals have heard a lot about, but often the same way they know their uncle is really into Pickleball. Putting money into other companies seems crazy when you're still in the world of student loans, don't have a home yet, and are still trying to get on your feet.
The problem with this attitude is how it turns into a habit which lasts too long into a professional's life. There is never a time it's "too late" to start saving, but starting to build your wealth is a lot easier if you start before you turn 30, even if it's not a lot. So today we're going to look at five apps that help the beginning investor save.
This may be the simplest concept for investment ever. You simply link the app with your credit card and every purchase is rounded up. Your "change" can then be invested where you like. This adds up quickly given the number of daily transactions we make. The money going into investment is thus barely noticeable going out, but can grow to a sizeable amount over a year or two. You can even set up automatic investing so after each purchase the change automatically goes into a certain diversified portfolio.
Still simple, but designed for a more intentional investor. Here you can directly link your bank account and set up recurring investments every week or month. Their "coach" walks you through different ideas of investing and sets goals. You can search investments based on companies, concepts, and even causes you believe in. From Bluechip to sustainable energy, you can set up your profile to be conservative, moderate, or aggressive. There is no fee for the first month, then only $1 a month after, and .25% after you've invested $5,000.
Stash also offers retirement savings and helps coach you through the best ways to save by starting small and getting tax deductions!
For someone looking to take a step up from the "training wheel" programs, we recommend Fidelity Investments. Here, you can customize your home screen, access money management tools, view advanced charts, and trade on your own accord. You'll also have access to domestic and international markets. Something we really like is a price trigger option and the ability to be notified about trade opportunities.
This app cuts out a lot of the fluff and puts essentials up front. Access trades, balances, transfers, and see what's happening in the market in real time. There's not a lot to be distracted by so you can just drop in and check, trade, or do a little research. We'd recommend this to someone who wants a simple way to manage their stocks. The one unecessary (albeit interesting) option is the ability to scan the barcode of any item and see the ticker symbol, quote, and news related to the company.
Stock Market Simulator
This is great if you're still on the fence about investing or simply don't have the cash to yet. Their simulator makes a game out of the real U.S. stock market. You can invest fake money in real companies to try your hand at the trade. The benefit is that you can try without losing any money. The only downside is that you won't actually make any money either.
Something to consider is how you will want to make sure your decisions are financially smart. You should be risking money you can afford to lose. Investing can be addicting in the same way gambling is. Make sure you aren't depending on the market to make you money. A great way to start investing is to take from non-essential budgeted expenses such as clothing or eating out and putting that money into your portfolio. Stick with your same clothes and cook at home, then the money you're investing is just what you would have spent elsewhere. This way you can view your portfolio as savings and be even more aggressive while investing guilt free.