Acorns Review 2023: How Does Acorns Work and What Are the Fees?Stocks
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Do you remember the piggy bank most kids used to have, or probably still keep even now?
Where would you drop all your spare coins in the hope that they would come in handy on a rainy day?
Think of Acorns investment app as a “digital piggy bank,” and a better one at that because it is an investment platform, not a savings one.
Moreover, it is likely to come through for you in a bigger way on that rainy day than the good old piggy bank could.
To put it differently, Acorns is doing to the piggy bank what email did to the post office mail.
In this Acorns review, we will be delving deeper into this app to find out more about how it works, and how you can utilize it to transform the idea of investing from a big decision to a small one.
Let us start by getting a quick overview of how this application works and how you can leverage on this service to put your spare change into better use.
Invest Your Spare Coins
This is the main concept, and a quite ingenious one we must say, around which the Acorns app is built.
The idea is to invest any loose change that accrues from your day to day transactions.
Every time you go to a restaurant, the grocery store, or the supermarket and make any purchase, there is an opportunity to invest.
Acorns is the Hands Off Approach to Investing
The Acorns investing app automatically rounds-up the value of each transaction you make and channels your spare change into a holding account.
“How does this happen?” you might ask.
This applies only to the debit and credit cards that you have linked to the app. (More about this later).
For instance, if you make a purchase worth $7.25, Acorns will automatically channel $0.75 to your holding account for investment.
You Won’t Have to Wait Long to Start Investing
When the balance in your holding account hits $5.00, the Acorns investing app will automatically invest it into the market and simultaneously rebalance your portfolio.
Experts Make Investments for You
All this takes place behind the scenes, and you do not have to worry about which stocks to invest in and which to avoid.
All the nitty-gritty details regarding the specific stocks or bonds to invest in are handled by investment management experts.
Choosing Your Portfolio
The back end of the Acorns investment app is guided by the concept of Modern Portfolio Theory as described by the Nobel Laureate, Dr. Harry Markowitz.
Dr. Markowitz was personally involved in the designing of each of the portfolios.
There are five main portfolio types to choose from: conservative, moderately conservative, moderate, moderately aggressive, and aggressive.
Acorns Recommends a Portfolio According to Your Personal Needs
The conservative portfolio focuses more on bonds and will appeal to the kind of investor who prefers to “play it safe,” albeit at the cost of higher returns.
The aggressive portfolio puts extra focus on stocks and real estate, which promise comparatively higher returns but also carry a higher degree of risk.
Edit Your Portfolio at Any Time
The app will ask you a number of questions during the signing up process and eventually recommend an appropriate portfolio based on your answers.
You can, however, change this at any time depending on the level of risk you would be comfortable with.
How Does Acorns Work?
Let us now take a look at the guidelines you should follow in order to enjoy the convenience of Acorns investing.
Kicking things off on Acorns is pretty simple.
The first step is to download the Acorns investment app on your phone.
The app is readily available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play.
The next step involves the creation of your Acorns Investment Account.
To do this, you will provide a valid email address and a secure password for your account.
Acorns app also allows you to create a 4-digit passcode for logging in on your phone.
Sync Bank Accounts to Start Investing
The next step is to link your bank checking account to the Acorns investment app.
This is the account whose transactions will be rounded up for investment.
All the transactions performed via the various credit and debit cards are all rounded up and channeled to this one account.
You can link as many credit and debit cards as you wish to one checking account.
Get Your Unique Portfolio
Acorns will then ask you a set of investor questions which you do not have to rack your brains over.
The next set of questions will assist Acorns in recommending the right kind of portfolio for you.
Based on the answers you provide, Acorns will give a breakdown of how your investments will be diversified according to the recommended portfolio.
Most users will find themselves on the moderate recommendation.
This is not cast in stone, however; you can change your portfolio at any time.
Start Investing for Only $5
The next step will be to jumpstart your Acorns Investment Account with an initial investment amount.
This is what Acorns needs to make your first investment.
The minimum investment amount is $5.00
Moreover, with this, your account will be ready for investing.
It is really that simple!
Once you have set up a single round-up account and made the minimum investment, you will find that your account strength will be far from optimum.
You can consider this as the bare minimum that is needed to get your account up and running, but it is unlikely to produce excellent results in terms of returns.
There are a number of additional recommended actions that you can take to bring up your account strength; one of which is setting up recurring investments.
This allows you to set a fixed amount that you would like to invest on a recurring basis – daily, weekly or monthly.
Watch Your Money Grow Over Time
Even to the novice investor, it is common knowledge that you reap what you sow, and if you sow sparingly, then sparingly you shall reap.
It is therefore encouraged that you go above and beyond just doing the bare minimum.
As much as you possibly can, aim at having a set amount invested on a recurring basis in order for you to gain tangible returns.
This is also a great way to put a check on overspending and enforce more discipline on investing.
It also enables you to deposit lump sum amounts of money manually for investment whenever needed.
Acorns investment app packs a raft of features that are all aimed at ensuring you get the most out of your investing experience.
Let’s now take a deeper look at some of them:
The Round-up Multiplier
This is a nifty new feature that allows you to automatically multiply your rounded-up change by either two, three,…up to ten times, before channeling it to your holding account.
For instance, if your rounded-up amount is $.0.80, and the round-up multiplier is set to “2X”, then $1.6 will be deposited into your holding account.
If your rounded-up amount is $0.6, and the round-up multiplier is set to “10X”, then $6.00 will be deposited into your holding account.
This can be of great help if you want to invest a certain percentage of your income for every purchase you make.
Acorns Debit Card (Acorns Spend)
This is a new debit card platform from Acorns.
The key advantage of Acorns Spend is, it immediately deducts the rounded-up amounts from your checking account, unlike credit and debit accounts, which take a couple of days to complete the transaction.
There is also the advantage of unlimited ATM reimbursements, zero overdraft fees, and no minimum balance.
Earn Cash Back on Purchases
Using the Acorns debit card for your purchases also gives you the opportunity to enjoy a cash back on your investment account when you shop at selected online retailers.
Acorns investment app also gives you an opportunity to earn some cash back for your investment account, when you shop with an Acorns-linked credit or debit card at selected retailers and service providers.
Acorns app has made this possible by partnering with companies like Apple, Airbnb, BlueApron, Walmart, The Wall Street Journal, Nike and many others.
The cash back amount through Found Money is between 1 – 2% of the purchase price and takes about 60 – 120 days to reflect in your account.
Retirement Account (Acorns Later)
Acorns investment app now supports Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA).
This is a great way to encourage young investors to start saving for retirement from an early age.
The introduction of this feature attracted over 100,000 sign-ups in its first month, and the number keeps rising.
For existing customers, the process of opening up a retirement account takes just 60 seconds, according to Acorns’ Chief Executive, Noah Kerner.
Acorns Gift Cards
For an app that has proven to be quite popular with the millennials, gift cards are an ingenious way to encourage investing, especially among college students.
If you have a friend or relative whom you would like to encourage into investing, you can try gifting them with an Acorns investment app gift card, and giving them that crucial head start.
Acorns app is free for students for four years as long as you have a valid .edu email address.
This is meant to encourage and nurture investing habits among students.
To add to that, the Acorns investment app does not charge trading fees, which is a huge cost saver especially for investors who start small.
Acorns pricing is pretty straightforward and predictable.
It’s as Simple as 1, 2, and 3:
Acorns Core – $1.00 per month (Includes Automated Investing, Smart Portfolios, Grow Magazine, Found Money, and Here For You)
Acorns Core + Acorns Later – $2.00 per month (Includes all the features of Acorns Core plus Your IRA, Automatic Updates, Recurring Contributions, and Assisted Rollovers)
Acorns Core, Acorns Later + Acorns Spend – $3.00 per month (Includes everything you get with Acorns Core, Acorns Later plus Instantly Save & Invest, Ease & Access, Earn More Money, Spend Strategies, A Lot For A Little, Grow Your Knowledge, and Total Protection)
Apart from the management fee, Acorns does not charge any transaction fees.
Is Acorns Legit?
For a company that was founded back in 2012, launched in August 2014 and serving a growing client base of over 4 million customers, it is difficult to raise a legitimacy case against them.
Acorns investment app has embraced transparency as a key tenet of their organization, and this is clearly evidenced by a simple visit to their website.
Acorns’ Portfolios are Developed by Trusted Experts
Acorns also partnered with renowned Nobel-winning economist, Dr. Harry Markowitz in the development of their investment portfolios, so you can rest assured you are in safe hands.
Each and every Acorns portfolio is structured with Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) from established investment management companies like Vanguard and BlackRock.
Final Thoughts on Acorns
The genius of the Acorns investment app is and has always been the ingenious way they found of helping masses to invest their spare coins in a simple and stress-free manner.
Up until then, entry into the investment market was paved with numerous barriers in the form of prohibitively high fees and buy-in prices.
Acorns Review: Conclusion
Acorns has opened up the investment market especially for young investors and it takes the complexity out of investing.
The only thing a prospective investor needs to do is sign up for an account with Acorns investing app, link it up with a checking account and not have to worry about the stocks to pick.
The final icing on the cake is the extremely reasonable fees that Acorns app charges for this service, especially when you compare it with other service providers.
It is a no-brainer; there is no better way to put that loose change to proper use.
Logan is a practicing CPA and founder of Choice Tax Relief and Money Done Right. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.