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Old 11-17-2017, 10:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Acorns vs Betterment vs Robinhood

There seems to be a lot of different apps and programs today that you can use to save money. I'm putting these three modern day investing vehicles to the test so you don't need to.

Now the large companies such as Fidelity and Charles Schwab do have free automated investing choices, but they usually have $5,000.00 minimums to start. They may be considered safer due to their track records, but for the new investor just trying to get started, here are a few good choices. Ones that I am trying to find out which I prefer - and it may be I just use them all for different accounts and for different reasons.


Acorns.com

Acorns is a very simple but effective app for roboinvesting.

You attach a bank account, can make one time investments, or set up recurring investments. I decided to try the reoccurring investing.

What I liked about this program is that there are other ways to invest. They have something called "round ups" where you can attach a credit card and if you spend say 28.77, the next .23 will be taken aside and when you hit $5.00 total, it gets moved over and invested.

You also get your choice on how you want to invest your money. It's broken down in very simple terms

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As you can see, I choice the highest risk.

I've been doing it for about 6 months now and my current return is 4.73%

Not bad. Not great, but not bad. I've been dollar cost averaging and I started this testing as the market was nearing all time highs, so it's to be expected.

Likes and Dislikes? Honestly there is very little I dislike about it. The app is very easy to use, they have a easy to use webpage and the growth seems nice.

Would highly recommend this one. Click the link above for an invite and they will deposit funds into your account when you sign up.


Betterment

I've heard a ton about betterment and it was truly one of the first roboinvestors to start. Why didn't I try them first? I'll be honest, I'm not sure.

They have some very interesting features, some I'm not taking advantage of, but very interesting indeed. Instead of round ups, betterment has a feature where you can attach it to an account to take excess cash. Let's say you have a savings account where you keep your emergency money. You can tell betterment what minimum you want to keep in that account and anything excess they can then take to invest. Very unique and interesting idea.

I set up a simple reoccurring investment to move money over weekly.

They also allow you to simply choose how you want your funds to be invested. Aggressive, moderate, conservative, etc.

They also have professional advice available. From a retirement guide to upgrading for a CFP (certified financial planner) to look at your account, go over your goals, and give you professional advice.

That sounds like a great feature for me.

I've only been with betterment for two weeks so I can't speak to all the features or performance. Frankly it's flat for me right now. If anything I lost a few cents, but I will keep this one up along with acorns.

Their website is nice and easy to navigate, and the choices are plenty for investing. I'm not sure I like their take your extra money part, but of course that's optional.


RobinHood

Now this is a very different type of roboinvestor. This app - and currently strictly just an app right now, the website is in beta, is for those who want to do strictly stock investing.

So you can buy shares of ROKU, or Ford, or whomever... for FREE! That's right, you read that correctly, no brokerage fees at all.

This company will also allow you to move money weekly into the account, it gets deposited into cash waiting for you to then invest it.

I've currently been moving money slowly over weekly and when it gets to be enough I purchase a share or two of a company. It does allow for day trading and has day trading protections. In the two weeks I've been using this one, I'm up 11% already on my money. I guess I can pick them!

Really enjoying this app. This is good for the buy and hold investor, those that want to purchase individual stocks, but can only do 1 at a time. Large companies such as schwab or fidelity only charge ~ $5.00 per trade now a days, and that's fine if you're purchasing 50 or 100 shares, but at 1 share a time, those fees would just simply eat away and any profit you might make.

So this is a great alternative for those of us that can only afford 1 share a time.

Great way to get introduced to the stock market and purchasing individual shares at a very low risk.


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I've looked into other apps, but other ones want you to invest a certain amount of money or they have large fees to be incurred. I've found these three to be the best ones out there.

I don't think I could pick just one, but if I had to choose, I would go with Acorns and Robinhood.

I will report back - and keep this an ongoing thread on these apps. Post up if anyone is using them or decides to give them a try.
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Old 11-17-2017, 12:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I downloaded robinhood just yesterday after seeing the very, very low fees that it has. It seems very reasonable, and I wonder what happens if they fold. Obviously I still own the stocks, but i'm not entirely sure how I would go about finding them.

I've used aacorns for about a year and i'm not heavily impressed. there's pretty bulky monthly fees, and once you hit $5,000 in your account, you start paying a %, instead of a flat fee. The gains I've made it in are menial, even though I've been dumping $100 a month into it. I realize that it's going to get better in the long run, but for now it feels like nothing more than a glorified (and expensive)savings account.

The other thing about aacorns, is that if you only use the round-ups, you'll end up loosing money, beaus the monthly fee is going to be more than what you're putting into it, and you'll never make money. It's a sneaky plan they created, to make people eel like they're doing something good.
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Old 11-17-2017, 02:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I agree on the fees, but it's scenarios like acorns "round ups" that take people's spending habits and turn them into savings / investing. For the people that just have a hard time saving, the automatic weekly savings and roundups force you to save.

Betterment has the better fee structure, but I haven't seen the returns there though.

Robinhood is SIPC insured (I just looked into it), up to $500,000.00 so your money is safe if they fold.
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Old 11-17-2017, 04:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I take back a little bit of what I said. I've made a decent amount of money through accorn, over the last year. for what I have in it. They're only charging me $1/mo. I think I can live with that.
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Old 11-27-2017, 10:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Figured I would post an update

So far I'm having the most fun and success with the RobinHood app, but that's because I've just been gambling and guessing, and well, guessing right. In two/three weeks, I'm up 38%

Of course that's only with $200 but hey, it's a start.

Next is acorns. That's been doing very well for me.

Last is Betterment. I'm up only 40 cents.
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Old 12-30-2017, 10:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Have you looked at wealthfront? They have you do a risk assessment and then build a portfolio that matches the risk level. They rebalance automagically to keep your portfolio on line with the risk profile.

Been using them for about 5 years now.
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Old 01-02-2018, 03:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Another interesting savings/investment app to consider is Stash. It's a pretty simplistic ETF trading app with a $1 a month fee. I used it for a bit and was up $6.50 on a $200 investment over a couple months. Personally it didn't make sense for me as I was able to find better returns through putting that money to work in real estate but for passive savings and having your savings beat inflation it's a good move.
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Old 01-02-2018, 04:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Have you looked at wealthfront? They have you do a risk assessment and then build a portfolio that matches the risk level. They rebalance automagically to keep your portfolio on line with the risk profile.

Been using them for about 5 years now.
Been using wealth front for awhile. I've been happy with it so far. But we have also been in a bit of a bull market for awhile
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Old 01-03-2018, 09:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I downloaded wealth front on my phone, but never got around to it. Was spread too thin already trying out the apps.

To date: Acorns has been my best fool proof performing app.
Robinhood, I changed from day trading to just buying a few ETFs and letting it ride. Sort of pointless as I'm not using it to its full potential (free trades) but I just don't have time right now.
Betterment has slowly been picking up steam, but it's been a good bull market and I'm just not impressed with it's performance.
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Old 01-23-2018, 01:29 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Those two still working out well for you?
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