Have you ever heard the expression “a little goes a long way”?
Everyone has heard of that expression because it is true.
Do you struggle time after time to build your savings?
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If you struggle, that is because you are human.
Maybe you have tried everything but cannot seem to kick your bad spending habits.
We get it – saving money is hard!
The thought of investing can paralyze people because it is…
…either too overwhelming or requires too much money.
After all, you will set aside time in the future to:
- Save money to invest
- Learn how to invest
…you will do that, right?
Maybe you will; but the fact is, many people plan to invest but never follow through.
And even if you do follow through, you will miss out on the benefits of getting started as soon as possible (compound interest, anyone?!).
If only there were a way to remove the excuses and to start making great investments today.
Fortunately, there is one company that has promised to allow you to do just that.
That company is called Acorns, and they are committed to helping you.
Are you interested yet?
Did you know? Acorns is Absolutely FREE for college students. Click Here to get the offer today.
* this won’t last forever
For people that find saving money difficult, micro-investing can be a life-saving tool.
Investing small amounts can make a BIG difference over time.
So, instead of putting your spare change away or spending cash that you find…
…why not invest that money?
Acorns is one of our favorite micro-investing platforms on the market today because it is an effective tool to save more money.
The company specializes in converting your digital “spare change” into future wealth.
Most people do not even realize that the money is missing (and be saved).
If you have trouble saving and investing like most Americans, this may sound perfect for you.
But, before you decide to blindly sign-up, we want you to determine if Acorns is indeed perfect for you.
This review will give you everything that you need to know about Acorns and how it can (or can’t) benefit you.
So, let’s take a closer look. Shall we?
Acorns Review Overview
Acorns is an award-winning saving and micro-investing app founded by a California-based father-and-son duo in 2014.
The purpose of the company is to encourage you to save money by automatically investing your spare change.
Automatically investing spare change removes the mental roadblocks and anxiety that tend to arise for beginner investors.
The company does this by taking a robo-advisor and merging it with an automated savings tool.
Simply begin by linking your debit or credit card (as many as you want).
As you make your regular purchases, the app rounds up your change to the next dollar.
This method of saving money is painless because you are spending less than one dollar with each deposit.
Once your spare change reaches $5, the money is withdrawn from your account and invested into a portfolio of exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Everything is done online and is completely automated.
This unique approach aims to help you effortlessly save more. The ease of this process has proven to be an effort great starting point for new investors.
Stay tuned because we are about to let you know how all of this even works.
How Acorns Works
This section will take you from sign-up to investing money (which can all be done today).
First, let’s make sure that you are eligible for an account.
You must meet three eligibility requirements to join Acorns:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be a resident of the United States
- Have an active checking account
Signing up for an account is an easy process that takes about 15 minutes to complete.
You can open your account for free on the web-based platform or mobile app.
Start by visiting the Acorns website or downloading the app from iTunes, Amazon, or Google Play.
Then, choose a unique, 4-digit PIN access code that you can use to log into the app.
To set up your account, you will begin by completing the following steps:
- Enter your personal information
- Link your bank account
- Set up your financial goals
- Indicate your risk tolerance
All of this information is used by Acorns to assist you later in this process.
And once your account is ready…
…it is time to select a portfolio!
Choose your portfolio
Acorns will recommend a portfolio based on:
- Employment Status (i.e., student, self-employed, retired, full-time, part-time, or unemployed)
- Net Worth
- Timeframe (i.e., how long are you saving for?)
- Investing Goals (i.e., retirement, significant purchases)
- Yearly Income
You can also choose from five different reasons for investing:
- Long-term investment
- Short-term investment
- Major purchase
Keep in mind that Acorns will recommend one of five investment portfolios, but you can ultimately choose any portfolio that you want. You can also change portfolios at any point.
Here are the five investment portfolios to choose from:
Conservative: Stock 18% | Bond 80% | Real Estate 2%
Moderately Conservative: Stock 36% | Bond 60% | Real Estate 4%
Moderate: Stock 54% | Bond 40% | Real Estate 6%
Moderately Aggressive: Stock 72% | Bond 20% | Real Estate 8%
Aggressive: Stock 90% | Bond 0% | Real Estate 10%
Each portfolio name is designated based on different levels of risk tolerance.
The “aggressive” portfolio is a high risk-high reward proposition, and the “conservative” portfolio is a low risk-low reward proposition.
Again, the portfolio that is right for you depends on your answers given when setting up the account.
In general, if you are more risk-averse, you will be invested in more conservative assets (i.e., bonds) and vice versa.
Low-cost ETFs comprise each portfolio and are from Vanguard and BlackRock.
These are the ETFs that are available through Acorns today (subject to change):
- Corporates Bonds: iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF | LQD
- Government Bonds: iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond ETF | SHY
- Small Company Stocks: Vanguard Small-Cap Index Fund ETF Shares | VB
- Real Estate: Vanguard REIT Index Fund ETF Shares | VNQ
- Large Company Stocks: Vanguard 500 Index Fund ETF Shares | VOO
- Emerging Markets: Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock Index Fund ETF Shares | VWO
- Int’l Large Company Stocks: Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets Index Fund ETF Shares | VEA
From here, be prepared to select which asset class to invest in, click “Confirm Portfolio,” and you are good-to-go!
There is no minimum to open an account…
…but you need to round up to $5 to start investing.
But you should be able to save $5 in no-time with the help of this app.
In fact, ‘Round-Ups’ are generally how you fund your investment accounts.
You can begin rounding up by linking your debit and credit cards to your Acorns account.
When you make a purchase, the company will round up your purchase to the next dollar and withdraw the balance to be invested.
You can withdraw money from your Acorns account at any time, but it can take 5 to 7 days.
But remember – the goal here is to SAVE money – not to withdraw it!
How to fund your account
These things called ’round-ups’ are the most distinguishing feature about Acorns.
Round-Ups can be likened to dumping your spare change into a jar at the end of each day (except no one uses cash anymore).
In fact, the average Acorns user invest $32 per month with this feature.
I would bet many of those users were not aware that they had that type of money to save!
But enough about the other users…
Here is how Round-Ups work:
- Link your credit or debit card(s) to your account
- Acorns will monitor and round-up each purchase to the next dollar
- Acorns will invest your round-up balance each time it reaches $5
For example, if you spend $3.40 at Starbucks, it will round up to $4.00 and invested the 0.60 cents into your portfolio.
You can choose which purchases to round-up or set it to “automatic.”
To increase your contributions, you can opt for the Acorns Multiplier.
You can turn this feature on or off whenever you want.
The Multiplier allows you to multiply round-ups in three ways:
- 2x multiplier
- 3x multiplier
- 10x multiplier
For example, with the 10x multiplier, your $20 round-up becomes $200.
This is a great way to boost your savings without even realizing it.
Found Money is a cash-back program (similar to Ebates) that gets added to your investment portfolio when you shop with Acorns’ partners.
There are two ways to earn Found Money:
- “Tap and Get.” Visit the Acorns app and make a purchase through your mobile phone.
- “Simply Spend.” Use your Acorns-linked card on purchases with partner brands.
Acorns will send you a confirmation e-mail within 24 hours of your purchase.
The actual investment of your cash-back takes between 60 and 120 days.
If you are looking to save even more, you can schedule recurring deposits or a one-time investment from your checking or savings account.
You can set-up recurring investments by the:
The Acorns dashboard gives you the option to invest $5, $10, $15, $20, or a custom amount. Alternatively, you can make a one-time investment to your account.
Other Key Features
Acorns’ offers educational materials that explain investment terms and concepts that are difficult to understand.
Here are the three educational categories:
- “Learn.” This section has educational materials on investing basics, FAQs, and a
- “Grow.” This section includes interviews, news, and how-tos.
- “Potential.” This section offers new tools that allow users to forecast their savings and investments.
These educational features allow you to understand better and make the most of your investments.
Acorns Gift Cards
You can now purchase gift cards to get friends, siblings, or relatives investing, too.
You can purchase a gift card of $25 or more, online and in-stores, and they can sign-up for an account.
Gift cards are a creative way to get others interested in investing and makes for a useful gift!
For $1/mo. you can access Acorns’ original investment app.
This option allows you to:
- Use the ‘Round-Ups’ feature to save money
- Use the ‘Found Money’ feature to get cash-back
- Set recurring investments on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis to save even more
Additionally, this account is 100% FREE for college students.
Acorns + Acorns Later: $2/month
For $2/mo. you can take advantage of everything mentioned previously and invest in a tax-advantaged retirement account.
With Acorns Later, you can invest in:
- Roth IRA
- Traditional IRA
- SEP IRA
Acorns + Acorns Later + Account Spend: $3/month
For $3/mo. you can access everything mentioned above and a digital checking account.
Acorns Spend is a full-service checking account that comes with:
- Debit card (Visa)
- Direct deposit
- Mobile check deposit
- Mobile payment
- Unlimited fee-reimbursed ATM withdrawals
Acorns Spend also gives you real-time Round-Ups, custom spending strategies, and increased Found Money cash-back.
Acorns Customer Service
Acorns customer service can be reached under ‘Contact’ by filling out a form on the company website. The company usually will respond within 1-2 days.
You can also view helpful articles and videos under ‘Acorns Support’ that respond to some of users’ most common questions.
Who Acorns is best for
The Acorns app is target toward younger investors – particularly millennials – because the platform is intended to be created and managed on a smartphone.
However, you can use the web-based, desktop version, as well.
But the best part is…
…college students can use the app for free for up to four years.
But ultimately, Acorns can help anyone begin investing, especially if they are having trouble getting started.
This service automates investing which makes investing much easier.
Bottom line: Acorns is an excellent way for anyone to boost their savings.
So, if you are looking to:
- Learn more about investing
- Save more money
- Make low-maintenance investments
- Get free money
Acorns may be the right choice for you!
What We Love About Acorns
The hardest part of saving money is getting started.
With automated investing, you can set it and forget it.
This type of automation removes the mental roadblocks, discipline, and complexity that comes with investing.
You will not even realize that the money is missing!
Cash-back on purchases
Acorns’ allows you get cash-back, or “found money,” from partners like Apple, Macy’s and Nike.
- Apple – 1.2% of your purchase
- Macy’s – 5% of your purchase
- Nike – 5% of your purchase
This cash-back is invested automatically within 60 to 120 days.
Low minimum investment
Minimum investment can be a barrier for new investors.
Since Acorns does not require a minimum to open an account, you can get started immediately.
But remember, you need $5 to make your first investment.
Free for college students
College students can sign-up for the Acorns automated investment account and it is 100% free.
Simply enter “student” under the employment section and use your college e-mail account to register.
This offer is good for up to four years after you register.
What We Don’t Love About Acorns
Acorns charges a monthly fee between $1 – $3:
- $1/mo. for Acorns automated investment account
- $2/mo. for Acorns + Acorns Later retirement IRA account
- $3/mo. for Acorns Spend checking account
These fees can be higher than competitor fees and are particularly dangerous for investors with little money invested.
Acorns is not riskier compared to other investment platforms, but it is essential to be aware that this it is not a savings account.
This risk means the money that you are saving could lose value and is dependent on the markets.
Therefore, you need to consider if you are in a position to potentially lose money.
Acorns Review conclusion: Is it Right For You?
Acorns’ target audience is the younger generations of investors. College students that can waive the monthly fee will be able to benefit from this app the most.
The platform is also a great micro-savings option for any investor.
Acorns’ is inexpensive, encourages good saving habits, simplifies investing, and gives you the tools needed to be a successful investor.
Many people scoff at the $1/mo. fee for being “too high” and this is the biggest “knock” we uncovered for Acorns.
However, you can afford $1/mo. and the saving and educational features offered in the app provide value that exceeds the monthly fee.
Additionally, Found Money can also compensate for the monthly fee because you are getting cash-back to invest that you could not get otherwise.
Saving and investing is an area that people do not partake in due to the time-consuming process involved.
If you would skip saving without the help of Acorns…
…it is definitely worth the fee.
People that are in their peak-earning years should probably find another investment solution.
p.s. if you are a college student make sure to use this link and get Acorns for FREE.
If you are not a college student, I do still think Acorns is a good option, but you might want to also look at these:
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- Invest with $5
- Five different portfolios to choose from
- Three ways to automate investing
- Automatic portfolio rebalancing
- No minimum investment required
- High fees compared to other options
- Cannot invest outside of Acorns portfolios