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If you've found yourself considering ways to invest, but aren't quite sure how to get your feet wet, there's a simple way to begin: investment apps. Investing has never been more straightforward. Intuitive and user-friendly, these apps create investment portfolios based on the answers you give to questionnaires after creating an account. With nominal, day-to-day contributions, these apps function like a 401(k) in the sense that money is allotted toward these investments without you having to think about it. Curious to learn more about how they work?
Keep reading for the best investing apps that make the daunting world of trading much easier to navigate.
Beginners to investing will find themselves in good hands with Robinhood, a free stock-trading app. Unlike most stock-trading apps, Robinhood is completely commission-free and has a fairly wide assortment of investment opportunities. The app's interface is minimal and streamlined, perfect for beginners who can do without the extra bells and whistles of more advanced apps. If you're already familiar with investing in stocks, you may find Robinhood's capabilities to be limited, but for newcomers, this app is a great place to start trading.
Looking to invest money little by little with minimal effort? Acorns is the perfect investing app for the user who prefers a hands-off approach. The app works by linking to your debit or credit card. Purchases are rounded up to the nearest dollar, and the extra change is automatically invested in a computer-managed portfolio of low-cost exchange-traded funds, or ETFs. Unlike Robinhood, for accounts of $5000 or more, Acorns does charge 0.25% per year.
Like Robinhood and Acorns, Wealthfront is a computer-automated investing app that is great for beginners who prefer a hands-off approach to investing. After completing a questionnaire, the app will invest in one of 20 portfolios that is the best fit based on your answers. From there, all you have to do is check back in on the app periodically to see your returns. Like Acorns, Wealthfront charges a small fee of 0.25% for accounts with more than a $10,000 balance. Accounts under that amount are free, but there is a $500 minimum to have an account.
For investors with slightly more experience in the world of stocks, Fidelity Investments may be the best fit. With Fidelity, you trade and track your own accounts. Stock quote pages provide equity summary scores while ETF pages include analyst reports and ratings to help guide your decision-making. Fidelity also provides the largest customer service branch for additional help. The app charges $8 commission for each stock trade, putting them at a pricier tier than the other options listed here. While Fidelity does not charge an annual fee, there is a $2500 account minimum for brokerage accounts.
Complete with tools to help you figure out where you are currently and where you want to be, this retirement-focused investing app makes planning for the future way less intimidating. Betterment boasts a long-term investment approach that "can help you earn 2.66% more per year than a typical investor," according to its site. While there are no additional trading fees or transfer fees, the platform does charge an annual fee of 0.25% for digital users and 0.40% for premium users (investors with a minimum of $100,000 invested).
This story was originally published on February 6, 2017, and has since been updated.
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