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The 10+ Best Investment Apps for Beginners of 2019

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A lot of times, I like to talk about making money.  I mean, who doesn’t like to learn about the many ways to make some cash?

Well, in today’s post, I wanted to do something a pinch differently as I wanted to talk about the many investment apps on the market that can help grow the money you make.

Why keep living paycheck to paycheck when you could save only a few dollars a week and retire comfortably in the future?  It all adds up, and it’s so important to consider as social security will barely get you by.

No matter how old you are and how much money you make, you can always set aside at least $5 a week with one of these apps and watch it grow into thousands.  No experience is necessary, either, and I can promise you that these apps are so easy to use.

Today, let’s take a look at the many investing apps that you can consider using if you have no clue how to invest your money.  All of these investment apps are 100% legitimate and are sure to help your money grow as long as the market thrives and you have the discipline to add funds to your account.  Plus, they are all insured, meaning your investment will be safe in the case the company went belly up.

Of course, your investing results will vary, which is highly dependent upon what you want to invest in, but seeing the market has produced 10% gains from 1926 to 2018, you can only hope this trend continues for another 100+ years if you were to invest in a simple index fund.

For now, let’s take a look at the many investment apps for beginners you may want to consider downloading…

Best Investment Apps for Beginners

NOTE:  Some of these apps require you to invest in stocks and/or mutual funds on your own.  I don’t have any personal recommendations as I don’t want to go this route, but for guidance, I highly recommend this Reddit thread.  I also recommend searching for “best index funds” to see what others recommend.  Vanguard, Fidelity and iShares are all great companies to start out with.  To make things simple, index funds are always a great bet for long-term savers.

Acorns

Account Minimum:  $0
Monthly Fees:  $1 to $3/month (depends on plan)

If you want to start investing and have NO idea where to begin, then Acorns could be one of the best options on this list.

To use, it’s pretty self-explanatory and very easy to use.

You just need to link one of your active bank account debit cards, and Acorns will round up all of your purchases, taking that rounded up cash and transferring it to your Acorns account.  So, if you spent $10.50, for instance, Acorns would take $0.50 to round your purchase to $11.  It may not sound like much, but these purchases really do add up.  You can also transfer as much as you want if you prefer this route as well.

Once the money is in your account, Acorns will do the dirty work for you, automatically investing in investments based on a questionnaire you completed when you first opened the account.  It’s truly an automated, hands-off approach to watch your investments grow.

Acorns also offers free management for college students, cash back at some retailers and even free educational content.

As a downside, you do have to pay at least $1 a month, but to me, I can see this as a positive as it’s almost forcing you to invest every time you use your card.



Stash

Account Minimum:  $5
Monthly Fees:  $1 to $2/month (depends on plan)

Right on the main website, Stash notes that, even if you’re a beginner, it’s okay as the app was built so that it’s easy to use and understand.

Built with a personalized coaching tool, this fun feature can help guide you make the right investment decisions.  Picture it almost like a game as you test your knowledge, essentially working your way through some challenges that are designed specifically for you.  It’s really a great way to learn the market.

Stash allows you to start investing with as little as $5 and will even help you pick out investments if you’re confused.

The app does work with limited stock options, but it focuses more on what’s known as ETFs, which, in short, will offer a lot more diversification than that of a stock.  You can learn a lot more about them after you download the app.

Plans start at $1 a month, much cheaper than a financial advisor and all accounts are personalized to you specially.

Stockpile

Account Minimum:  $5
Monthly Fees:  $0.99 per trade

Stockpile works a lot like the Stash app I mentioned since you can get started with as little as $5.  This can be a great choice if you have a higher-priced stock in mind, such as Google, and can’t afford the entire stock at this moment.  Yes, you can buy fractional shares with the app.

The app also offers fun mini-lessons, teaching you everything you need to know about the market and how to invest.

To get started, link your bank, invest some cash and start buying stocks you’re interested in.

The coolest thing about this app is that you can see the trending stocks at the moment, which allows you to see the top growth stock, top value stocks and highest volume stocks, to name a few, to at least give you an idea of what you may want to invest in.

Stockpile does charge $0.99 per trade, but this is one of the lowest commission fees on the market right now.

Joining is 100% free, and there are no monthly fees or minimums.

Robinhood

Account Minimum:  $0
Monthly Fees:  $0

Robinwood won’t give you access to a ton of mutual funds as most brokerages offer, however, what makes this app amazingly awesome is that you can invest 100% free in stocks and much more. Yes, there are no hidden costs — it’s really free!

In comparison to other brokerage firms, this is a huge plus as most of these companies will charge up to $7 a trade, which can add up over the months as you make your trades.  It is 100% free with no strings attached, I promise.

Aside from stocks, you can also invest in shares, options and even cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

While you can upgrade to a premium account that gives you access to extended-hours trading and additional features, this isn’t necessary.  The app is free to download and is highly recommended only if you have certain stocks in mind.

Robinhood also offers multiple education, research and trading tools to help you learn the ropes.

Webull

Just like Robinhood, Webull is another option that allows you to trade stocks for free.  Not only that, but there are no platform fees, no commission and no minimum balance.

With more than five million downloads and an average 4.4 out of 5-star review on the Google Play store, this simplistic trading app is one to consider if you’re looking for a way to start investing for free.

Additional features include trading tools, free pre-market/after-market trading and even support for advanced order types.

Glancing at the reviews, there appears to be quite a bit for the $0 investment.

Betterment

Account Minimum:  $0
Monthly Fees:  0.25% annually

Betterment is slightly different than the apps I already mentioned as it uses a combination of both human advisers and software.

Essentially, Betterment will build a customized portfolio, all dependent upon your goals and risk tolerance, and will automatically rebalance it for you.  You will want to picture this app almost like a digital financial advisor.

Aside from investing your cash into various EFTs, its “RetireGuide” can help you reach your goals and even automatically invest cash into your bank account.

I wouldn’t say this is my favorite choice on this list, but it could make for a nice choice if you want a human touch.

Depending on how much you deposit, fees start a certain percentage per year, with the fees dropping as you deposit more into your account.

Wealthfront

Account Minimum:  $0
Monthly Fees:  0.25% a year after the first $10,000 invested

Wealthfront works much like Betterment, uses its specialized software to invest money into one of its exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

What makes it different, however, is its “PassivePlus” feature, which includes advanced indexing, direct indexing and tax loss harvesting.

Your first $10,000 invested is free, but then there’s a small percentage fee, about 0.25%, annually.



TD Ameritrade

Account Minimum:  $0
Monthly Fees:  $6.95 per trade

Quite possibly one of the biggest (and largest) household names on this list, the TD Ameritrade app is a fantastic choice for both rookie and experienced investors.

Depending on what you want to do, TD Ameritrade offers a ton of apps if you take a close look at the Google Play/iTunes store.

The most popular app, the TD Ameritrade Trader, allows you to trade just as you would on a desktop device, whereas the TD Ameritrade Mobile app focuses more on monitoring the market, depositing funds and catching up on the latest news.  Picture it more of an educational tool.

To me, the TD Ameritrade mobile app is a wonderful choice for beginners as it offers a ton of educational videos, research, advice, tools as well as a ton of customization options.  It’s a great stepping stone if you’re just starting out, but it’s also an option if you have been trading for years, too, as the research is second to none.

TD Ameritrade offers no hidden fees, no platform fees, no trade minimums, and best of all, no account minimums.  As of this writing, TD Ameritrade charges $6.95 per trade.

E*Trade

Account Minimum:  $500
Monthly Fees:  $6.95 per trade

Another bigger brokerage firm and an early pioneer to the industry, E*Trade offers a very highly rated app designed for all investors, no matter your skillset.

Their app offers everything you need in the palm of your hand, from trading to taking the guesswork out of investments with professionally built portfolios and easy-to-use tools.  You can even get help from real people when you need it.

While this app can look intimidating at first, the app and website offer a load of educational tools, videos, and even professional advice.   You just need to determine your goals, and from there, E*Trade can help you create a plan to get you there.

The tools are extremely easy to use, promising not to be overwhelming.

Ally Invest

Account Minimum:  $0
Monthly Fees:  $4.95 per trade

If you know what you want to invest in and want to do nothing else, then Ally Invest, the investing portion of the highly popular Ally Bank, could do the trick.

In 2017, Ally acquired Trade King and converted it into their own brand, now offering an array of investment options, including in-depth research and market analysis tools.

Out of all brokerage firms I list here, Ally Invest offers one of the lowest trading fees.

More to Know

Consider Practicing with Fake Stocks

This isn’t an app option, but I just wanted to recommend this option as there are a lot of great “fake” stock brokerages online that allow you to invest fake money and see how well you can do.

If you’re not comfortable investing your own money just yet, that’s okay, I get it, but maybe investing in a fake stock market could at least boost your confidence and let you see exactly how the market works.  Using the options I’m about to mention will work no differently than the other apps, only that you will use fake money.  It really is a great way to learn.

Plus, there are quite a few stock market simulators on the market.  Here are some of my favorites…

All of these options are a great way to learn how the market works and adds no risk at all.  Play around for a few days until you feel comfortable with how the market works.

You Don’t Need Much to Get Started

Most people have the misconception that you need a ton of money to start investing.  This couldn’t be further from the truth!

As you can see from the apps I mentioned, you only need as little as $5 with some apps, such as Stash, to get started, so you really don’t have an excuse!  Even with Acorns, you can just link your debit card and start right away.

How much you really need will greatly depend on what you want to invest in.  If you don’t plan on investing in partial shares, then sure, you may need more money, but this isn’t a dealbreaker, either, as there are many great stocks and funds that cost less than $100 a share.

All of These Apps are Insured

Even if these apps were a one-trick pony and closed up shop, I made an effort to make sure they were all insured.

Just like your bank accounts are insured by the FDIC, these apps are insured by the SIPC, which insures the money you have in your account up to $500,000, $250,000 of which can be applied to protect any cash in your account.

Of course, this SIPC insurance only applies if the company were to fail, not if you lost money due to your investments.

Final Thoughts

There are quite a few investing apps on the market, most of which can seem overwhelming at first.   But, as a basic investor myself, I can promise you that the stock market isn’t that intimidating once you educate yourself.  Outside of these apps, there are a ton of great books on Amazon that can teach you everything you need to know, too.

Today, there’s no need to pay high fees to a financial advisor, who only has interest in their own commissions, nor is there a reason to attend a seminar where you find someone pushing their tacky investment.

It’s as simple as researching index funds, maybe some stocks, and picking out a brokerage that fits your long-term or even short-term goals.  Don’t forget to set aside a certain amount every month as you will want to treat investing like a bill.

As for who I recommend, I would consider Stash, Stockpile, Robinhood or even Acorns if you’re just starting out and don’t have much to invest.  All of these options are fantastic, especially if you have a few dollars to spend.  Worst case, if you don’t like the brokerage, you can always transfer your holdings to another firm in a snap.  As your investments grow, then I would recommend investing with a larger firm such as Merrill Lynch, TD Ameritrade, etc.

In the end, investing is all about having a gameplan, investing in simple funds/stocks and letting it grow for years to come.  As long as you don’t worry about trading every day or watching the ups and downs, you can only hope you can earn 8 to 10% on your money annually for years to come.

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Tom Nathaniel

Hi! My name is Tom Nathaniel, and I created LushDollar to help share my honest thoughts on everything money. It's the Internet's most honest money site after all. Working in the finance industry for more than a decade, allow me to share my thoughts! If you ever have questions, feel free to contact me via the contact page.

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