In a nutshell: The Motley Fool is an investing advice company that helps people make better stock picks.
Fool regularly beats the market and helps its members do the same - all at an affordable price.
In a nutshell: Stash offers a modern investing platform that makes investing more approachable for the average investor.
Though its fees are higher than some alternatives, newer investors may appreciate the extra help and financial education this platform provides.
$1, $3, or $9
In the early days of investing, it was something only those who were already wealthy could afford to do. In other words, investing wasn't so much a wealth-building tool as it was one for growing wealth that already existed. Apps like Stash are changing that, which we'll cover in this Stash review.
You can invest starting with just $1, and there are no account minimums. Plus, Stash offers fractional shares, making investing accessible for just about anyone.
You can start investing with Stash for a fee as low as $1/month. That may seem quite inexpensive, but it's not as cheap as it may sound.
Thus, this review will explore everything Stash has to offer and whether it's worth the cost.
What is Stash?
$1, $3, or $9
Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Brokerage
Stash is an investment app and platform that looks to simplify the process of investing. The app was founded in 2015 because its founders, Brandon Krieg and Ed Robinson, felt investing was unfair for the average consumer.
The founders had worked on Wall Street but quit their jobs to create an app they thought would be more suitable for most people. The result is Stash, the app that helps you "invest in yourself."
Stash is based on New York City, and the company has won various awards. That includes Built in NYC’s Best Places to Work from 2019-2021.
How Stash Investing Works
Stash works by helping to guide you through the process of selecting a diversified set of investments. All you have to do is answer a few questions, and Stash will automatically suggest a portfolio that meets your requirements.
Once you have answered all the relevant questions, the app will suggest a conservative, moderate, or aggressive portfolio to help meet your goals. Be sure to give honest answers to the questions during setup so that Stash's recommendations align with your goals.
The options Stash will suggest come from its selection of thousands of stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Thus, it makes it easy to ensure your portfolio is diversified.
One of the unique features of Stash is how it makes investing more approachable. One way it does this is by giving its ETFs nicknames to make them easier to understand.
For instance, consider an ETF name like GS Connect S&P GSCI Enhanced Commodity TR Strategy Index ETN. "What does that even mean?" you might ask yourself.
Instead, Stash gives you options such as a dividend ETF it playfully calls "Delicious Dividends." And there is "All That Glitters," which invests in precious metals and other related commodities.
All told, Stash has over 3,500 investments to choose from, including stocks and ETFs. It has the following stock and ETF categories to choose from:
With all of the investing apps out there, you may wonder how Stash manages to stand out. It does have several interesting features. Some of them are still unique, though some have since been implemented by competitors.
Let's take a look at what Stash has to offer. Since Stash has three different pricing tiers, we'll cover the features included under each tier. As a note, each tier includes all of the features of the tiers below it.
Anyone who signs up for Stash Beginner at $1 will have a personal investment account including fractional shares.
You'll also get the Stock-Back Card® which lets you get a percentage your purchase back any time you spend money at a company whose stock is on the Stash platform.
The cash-back percentage is 0.125% for Stash Beginner and Growth, and 0.25% for Stash+. However, there are also rotating Stock-Back bonuses, which gives you 2% cash-back on a selection of stocks.
Stash Beginner users are also covered by $1,000 in life insurance coverage from Avibra. Plus, you can have your direct deposits up to two days early via Green Dot bank.
Lastly, all Stash users have access to plenty of free financial education in the form of articles, FAQs, and blog posts.
Stash Growth members gain access to Roth IRA and traditional IRA accounts. For $3 per month, you gain access to these tax-advantaged accounts and retirement advice.
Stash's highest tier, Stash+, adds quite a few more features. One of the main features it adds is custodial accounts, which allows you to open investment accounts for up to two children.
In addition, your rewards for the Stock-Back program are doubled, meaning the non-bonus reward is 0.25%. You also receive an additional $9,000 in life insurance from Avibra and a monthly stock market insights report.
As mentioned, Stash has three different pricing tiers. Here's how the monthly costs stack up:
As mentioned earlier, these monthly rates seem pretty low. Just a dollar a month? Sounds great, right!?
Not so fast.
Let's say you have $1,00 in your Stash account. And you just want to give Stash a try, so you go for Stash Beginner at $1/month.
That's $12 per year. Again, pretty cheap, isn't it? That's about the same cost as one month of the cheapest Netflix subscription. But, remember, everything is relative. A Netflix subscription won't help you invest any more than buying groceries will.
My point is that comparing the cost of Stash to Netflix isn't a meaningful comparison. We should be comparing it to other investment platforms.
And if you pay $12 per year on $1,000 invested, that is a 1.2% fee as a percentage of assets. Again, that doesn't sound terribly high, but it actually is compared to the alternatives. For example, an M1 Finance Roth IRA allows you to invest in a variety of ETFs with no management fees (expense ratios still apply).
On the plus side, the Stash subscription is a flat fee, meaning that 1.2% fee becomes a 0.12% fee if you invest $10,000.
Speaking of expense ratios, we still have those to consider for Stash. The average ER for Stash ETFs is 0.25% or 0.16% non-thematic funds. Again, that sounds pretty cheap. But if you compare it to Fidelity's ZERO index funds, Stash doesn't sound as appealing. Fidelity's ZERO funds have 0.00% expense ratios (hence the name).
Overall, Stash's fees certainly won't break the bank. However, there are cheaper alternatives.
Now, let's answer some of your common questions about Stash.
Is Stash Legit?
Yes, Stash is a legitimate investing platform and app. According to its website, "Stash Capital LLC, an SEC registered broker-dealer and member FINRA/SIPC serves as introducing broker for Stash Clients’ advisory accounts." This means you are covered by all the relevant regulatory agencies.
Stash is based in New York, New York.
Can You Make Money With Stash?
You can certainly make money with Stash. The app allows you to invest in thousands of stocks and ETFs. Although Stash's fees are a bit higher than some of the alternatives, your investments can generate returns just like they could anywhere else.
Stash vs. The Competition
Let's see how Stash compares to similar apps and platforms.
IRA, Roth IRA, Brokerage
Stock-Back, Life Insurance, Custodial Accounts
IRA, Roth IRA, Brokerage, SEP IRA
Round-Ups, Checking, Custodial Accounts
Automatic Investments, Cryptocurrency Trading
Stash vs. Acorns
Of all the investing apps and platforms out there, Stash and Acorns are the most similar. Thus, we'll compare those two for the purposes of this review.
Stash helps you invest with small amounts of money, starting at just $1. It guides you through the process of setting up your account, then it suggests stocks and ETFs to help you meet your goals.
Stash has the Stock-Back program which allows you to earn cash back in the form of fractional shares. It also has nicknames for many of its ETFs, making them more approachable for new investors.
Acorns is similar to Stash in a lot of ways. First, they have similar pricing structures and account types. Both have pricing tiers that offer custodial accounts and have no account minimum.
The biggest thing that is different with Acorns is that instead of offering stock back, it has round-ups. You have the option of rounding up each purchase you make to an even dollar amount and adding the rest to your Acorns account. Once you have at least $5 saved, Acorns will invest the money in its portfolio of low-cost ETFs.
Stash vs. Robinhood
I wanted to quickly compare these two simply because it is frequently searched. However, there isn't much that is actually similar between the two.
Robinhood saw increased popularity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its no-commission trading, and the fact that it is primarily app-based. Plus, there is no minimum investment. That made it popular with Millennials and Gen Z users.
Plus, Robinhood allows users to trade on margin, making it popular for those who want to try out day trading at home. As a note, you need at least $25,000 to be allowed to day trade per FINRA regulation.
Robinhood does allow users to purchase ETFs, too. Nevertheless, the app has mainly been used by more active traders.
Stash, on the other hand, tends to be used more by passive traders. That is partly because it offers IRA accounts, unlike Robinhood. Plus, Robinhood doesn't have a stock-back or cash-back feature.
While both Stash and Robinhood allow you to trade both stocks in ETFs, Robinhood is more suited to the active trader. Stash is better for newer investors who prefer to take the long position.
Is Stash Right For You?
Stash is best for:
Stash may not be a good fit for:
Stash is a decent investing platform for newer investors. It helps making investing more approachable by giving many of its ETFs more sensible names. Plus, it allows users to earn additional stock with its Stock-Back program. It also has no minimum investment and allows you to invest for just $1.
While Stash has a visually-appealing app and makes investing more approachable, it may not be best for more experienced investors. That's because it doesn't have all the advanced trading features that more traditional platforms have. Plus, while its fees won't break the bank, you can buy the same stocks and ETFs from other brokers with no monthly fees.
That being said, if you are a newer investor or want to invest based on your values, Stash may be worth a look.