Money is a feminist issue — and yet, women are still reluctant to talk about it. According to a recent Bustle survey of more than 1,000 Millennial women, more than 50 percent of people said they never discuss personal finances with friends, even though 28 percent reported feeling stressed out about money every single day. Bustle's Get Money series gets real about what Millennial women are doing with their money, and why — because managing your finances should feel empowering, not intimidating.
When it comes to managing your money, you're probably already saving for the future, but are you investing in it, too? After all, like it or not, one day, you'll have to retire and will need another monetary source to live on. That's exactly where investing now can help you out years down the line.
"It's never too early to start investing, and you don't need much to invest in your future," Brandon Krieg, CEO of Stash, tells Bustle. "It's important that Millennials go beyond the common YOLO mentality and start preparing for their older years — even starting with $5 is better than investing nothing at all."
I couldn't agree more! That said, here are nine investing apps and resources to start using right now. As you probably know, every dollar counts, and wouldn't you rather have your money make you money versus it just sitting in your wallet or bank account, stagnant?
Acorns is all about micro-investing. All you have to do is link the app to your credit or debit card(s) and then use the cards as you normally would. Your purchases are then rounded up to the nearest dollar, and "spare change" is diversified for you across 7,000 stocks and bonds. You can also choose to have set, recurring amounts invested — daily, weekly, or monthly. Plus, you make money when you refer a friend to use Acorns — every dollar counts! — and Acorns is SIPC Protected, which means that up to $500,000 is protected against fraud, so have no fear. And if you want some money-related advice, Acorns' online personal finance publication, Grow Magazine, can help!
You may be familiar with Stash, as they're the investing app that says you can invest for just $5. And it's true. "There is no set amount of money that you need to invest," Ed Robinson, President and Co-Founder of Stash, tells Bustle. "If you aren't comfortable investing, start small, with as little as $5, and learn as you go."
Recently, Stash researched Millennial women's investing habits. Their findings? Although Millennial females do invest, overall, it's not a lot. For instance, annually, 32 percent invest $1-100, 22 percent invest $101-500, and 11 percent invest $501-1,000. So if you want to start using Stash, here's the deal. Let's say you start with $5 — then you can go up from there. The app lets you buy fractional shares of Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) and you don't have to invest more than you can afford, of course. You can choose from over 30 investment themes — so that you're investing only in what you believe in — and they're managed by experts such as Vanguard, State Street, and BlackRock. Stash also has written content to help you create good financial habits, as well as give you savings and investing tips. You can also set up recurring automatic investments, so you don't even have to think about investing — they do the work for you!
Ellevest is an investment platform that's a digital advisor for women, by women. Hooray! No matter what you're investing for, Ellevest can help you get started — and have you investing in as little as 15 minutes. Like anything in life, it's all about goals — so, what are your investment goals? They'll then suggest customized contributions, timelines, and diversified investment portfolios for each of your goals. I know, you're probably wondering how much this costs. It all depends on how much you want to invest. They'll charge you .05 percent of assets under management — so for an account with $10,000 in assets, you'd pay about $50 per year. A big plus? There's no required minimum — you get a personalized financial plan no matter what.
"There is a gender investing gap in this country,” Sallie Krawcheck, co-founder and CEO of Ellevest, tells Bustle. "Women don't invest as much as men do, and it costs [them] hundreds of thousands, in some cases, millions, over the course of their lives." That cost is "life changing," she says. Recently, Ellevest also launched "The Go-Getter's Guide To Investing," a microsite that breaks down investing, and geared towards a female audience. The (free!) guide hopes to empower women to invest their money confidently.
Swell is a new impact investing platform dedicated to real progress, the company says. Through its healthy living portfolio, you can invest in companies that directly address various key categories, such as food, fitness, and technologies. So, not only are you planning for your financial future, but you’re also doing it in a healthy way, by supporting companies that are on a mission to address specific social and environmental challenges.
"Swell [offers] consumers a convenient, simple, and cost-effective way to invest in their financial futures — and have an impact on the wider world," Swell CEO Dave Fanger tells Bustle. "The web app is built on the belief that today's biggest challenges will result in tomorrow’s leading industries, and it allows consumers to invest in high growth potential, high-impact companies. Swell’s portfolios represent baskets of publicly traded stocks that stand to grow based on important social and environmental trends. The best part? All of the companies in Swell portfolios are directly addressing these global challenges — like clean water, renewable energy, and disease eradication — so investors can feel confident that their investments are working towards real progress."
You can sign up for Swell via their website.
If you're looking for an online financial advisor, Betterment may be the one for you. Their goal is to increase your long-term returns, and everyone can certainly benefit from that, right?! The automated portfolio management app will work with you and make recommendations on how much to invest and how much risk to take. Then your money will be invested in a globally diversified portfolio of low-cost ETFs and help lower taxes (read: many investment services do not do this!). Plus, you can get support from licensed financial experts seven days a week. As for Betterment pricing, prices vary depending on which plan you choose.
Wealthfront is an app that uses automated planning to help you invest. They use Path, "the most comprehensive automated financial planning and investing solution," the app states. Plus, if you have kids, it'll help you start planning their college days. They also developed something called PassivePlus® — think passive investing, aka doing it without actively doing it. In other words, you get to maintain a diversified portfolio of index funds, and PassivePlus aims to give you more returns without more risk — and with no extra fees. PassivePlus' three main features are Tax Loss Harvesting — investment losses to help lower your tax bill; Direct Indexing — which looks for movements in individual stocks to harvest more tax losses; and Advanced Indexing — Smart Beta to increase your returns by weighting securities in your portfolio. The cost? The annual advisory fee is .25 percent per year, bottom line.
Vanguard is for you if you're into long-term investing (i.e., you should be!). With the app, aside from reviewing your account statements and messages, you can trade mutual funds, ETFs, and stocks in retirement and non-retirement accounts, as well as use your camera to invest by check into eligible accounts (which is so 2017!). You can also make changes to your employer plan — exchange funds, update your asset mix, modify new contributions and how they are invested, and rebalance your account if permissible. Fees vary, but you can check out Vanguard's investment fees here.
Hint: For instance, the annual fee for Vanguard Personal Advisor Services® is 0.30 percent of assets under management.
"Responsible investing made easy" is OpenInvest's tagline when you go to their website, and I can see why. First, you tell the online platform the issues you care about so you're investing in causes you believe in, from climate change to LGBTQ rights. Your portfolio is transparent, comprehensive, and fully diversified. Then, you'll see your assets grow with the market while cutting fees and taxes. In addition, there are no hidden fees when you use OpenInvest, and you can see your social and environmental impacts measured directly on your dashboard. As for pricing, it's .50 percent for everything, with a minimum investment amount of $3,000.
If you want to invest in the stock market, and for free, use Robinhood. Yes, with the app, you can trade stocks without paying. You can buy and sell U.S.-listed companies, EFTs, and many large companies in your home country. This all means that you can invest at your own pace — even with a $0 minimum deposit. Even if you're new to investing and stock trading, Robinhood's platform will help you out — i.e., they'll keep you posted about the latest stock news and up-to-date information in a timely manner. Plus, they'll provide you with stock data, and you can check out your portfolio anytime to see how you're doing. You also have the option of upgrading to Gold, wherein you'll get perks like borrowing money from Robinhood to buy stocks, as well as get 2 1/2 extra hours of market access per day.
I don't know about you, but I'll definitely be investing in some of the above investing resources and apps. Like Stash says, it can take as little as $5 to start investing, and there's truly no time like the present. The question is: What are you waiting for?!
Check out the “Get Money” stream in the Bustle App for more tips and tricks on how to save and spend your money.