With Acorns, you can round up all of your purchases and invest whatever is left over. The app does the rest. While investing your change won’t be enough on its own, it does allow you to invest outside of round-ups.
Acorns is a simple investing app that lets you round up all of your purchases and invest whatever is left over. The app does the rest. While investing your change won’t be enough on its own, it does allow you to invest outside of round-ups.
Acorns is best for:
Those who are starting from $0
Investors who need an extra nudge
Acorns at a Glance
$0 to open; $5 to start investing.
A basic account, called Lite, costs $1 per month. It gives you an investment account and round-ups.
For $3 per month, you can add Acorns Spend and Acorns Later, which are a checking account and IRA, respectively.
For $9 per month, you can add Acorns Early, a custodial account.
Investment Expense Ratios
Expense ratios range from 0.03% to 0.18%.
Not offered with Acorns.
Acorns offers 24/7 phone, email, and chat support.
New members can claim a $5 sign-up bonus.
$50 to transfer ETFs to another broker when closing a taxable account.
Individual taxable accounts.
Roth, traditional, and SEP IRAs.
UTMA/UGMA accounts for children.
What is Acorns?
For many people, it’s not easy to start investing. Whether the problem is income, keeping up with the Joneses, or any other reason, it can be tough.
That is exactly the target market for Acorns. This investing app makes it easier for people to start investing. And in this Acorns review, we’ll find out just how well it does.
So if you need a little extra nudge, you’ll want to keep reading. You might find out Acorns is the perfect app for you.
Acorns is an investing app that helps you invest your spare change. It does have many of the features of other robo-advisors, but round-ups are how it differentiates itself.
While Acorns might be a newer name to some investors, it isn’t all that new. The founders, Walter Wemple Cruttenden III and Jeffrey James Cruttenden launched the app in 2014. It now has an Android app and an iPhone app.
Since its founding, the company has raised $100 million from venture capitalists.
Another notable point about Acorns is that it was built with help from Dr. Harry Markowitz, the creator of Modern Portfolio Theory. Markowitz backs the app to this day.
How it Works
How Acorns works is simple, especially when it comes to round-ups. To get started, you just link your credit or debit card to Acorns.
Then, any time you make a purchase, it will be rounded up. So if you buy something for $4.56, Acorns will round it up to $5.00
The extra 44 cents will then be added to your account.
Acorns has several nice features, but one that can’t be overlooked is its mobile app. In fact, both the website and mobile app are beautifully designed.
You can do anything on the mobile app you would do on the desktop site. Whether it’s setting up round-ups, choosing an asset allocation, or turning on automatic investments. The same is true for Acorns Spend, Acorns Later, and Acorns Early. In other words, the app is fully functional.
Acorns provides support via phone, email, and even has its own Twitter account. Considering how affordable the subscription is, the support options are better than expected.
There is no shortage of questions about Acorns, and we’ll answer them here.
Is Acorns a Good Investment?
Acorns is a good investment, though it also depends on your goals and how you use it. This app is a great way for beginner investors to test the waters of investing. After all, its round-ups can help people see the magic of compounding with small investments.
That being said, investing your spare change with Acorns only goes so far. While you can invest manually with Acorns, more serious investors might prefer apps like Betterment or M1 Finance.
Is Acorns Worth It?
Acorns can be worth it, but it somewhat depends on your situation. Ironically, although you can start investing with just $5, Acorns is actually a better deal if you have a larger balance.
Why? Because you are charged a flat monthly fee rather than a percentage.
If you pay a percentage, the dollar amount you pay increases with your balance. That isn’t the case if there is a flat monthly fee, though.
Is Acorns Legit?
Yes, Acorns is a legitimate and safe app. You can see all of its legal protections in the website footer.
There, you will see a number of memberships and insurance offered. Acorns is an SEC-registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA.
As far as balances, investments are SIPC-insured up to $500,000. Acorns Spend balances are FDIC insured up to $500,000.
As you can see, Acorns has all its bases covered.
One thing to keep in mind is that these insurance programs only cover you if Acorns goes bust. The FDIC insurance won’t protect you against loss in investment value.
How it Compares
Now, let’s see how Acorns compares to some other popular investing apps.
Acorns vs. Betterment
Acorns and Betterment both have plenty to offer, but they have different target markets. Acorns is great for getting people on the path to investing. Its round-ups can give you an extra nudge and start investing with just $5.
If all you want is round-ups, the cost is $1 per month. That’s not bad, especially since you can also set up recurring investments with a basic account.
It also gives you choice between five different portfolios for different risk levels. That’s pretty good, although less control than Betterment gives you.
Betterment is ideal for hands-off investors who want access to a powerful robo-advisor. In other words, someone is serious about investing, but without all the hassle.
Again, both apps are good, but these two are quite different.
Acorns is best for newer investors who want a hands-off experience. It also offers retirement accounts and custodial accounts.
It doesn’t have a free account option, but the lowest tier costs $1/month.
Lastly, Acorns has built-in robo-advisor functionality. However, your only option ETFs – there are no mutual funds or individual stocks.
Robinhood is better for more active traders. This is likely the reason it gained so much popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. In other words, people stuck at home wanted to try their hand at active trading.
And that is the biggest draw to Robinhood: its viability as an active trading app. It has no commission fees and allows you to buy ETFs, options, and even cryptocurrency.
In addition, there is no monthly fee for a basic account. But, unlike Acorns, it has no robo-advisor functionality and no round-ups.
Is Acorns Right For You?
Acorns is a great app for people who need a little extra nudge to start investing. Its monthly fee is affordable and allows you to start investing with just $5.
Plus, it has built-in robo-advisor functionality. That means it will invest your $5 in low-cost ETFs and then manage it for you. It does that all according to the risk tolerance you choose.
Of course, Acorns is not without its drawbacks. It doesn’t have tax-loss harvesting like Betterment, and Betterment gives you more control over your portfolio.
Plus, its monthly fee can be higher than Betterment’s. That is all despite the fact that you only need $5 to get started with Acorns.
And investing just your spare change likely won’t be enough to retire comfortably. Luckily, Acorns does allow you to set up automatic investments.
That is available with its Lite account tier, which only costs $1/month.
While Acorns isn’t perfect, it’s a viable option, especially for those who need that extra nudge.
Bob Haegele is a personal finance writer, entrepreneur, and dog walker. Bob has been writing about personal finance for three years and now manages several personal finance sites, including The Frugal Fellow, Modest Money, and Blooming Wealth. You can also find him contributing to popular websites such as Yahoo! Finance, MSN Money, and GOBankingRates. You can see more of his work on Muck Rack and Contently, or connect with him on LinkedIn.