Behind losing weight and being healthier, getting out of debt and saving money might be one of the biggest New Year’s resolutions that Americans set for themselves. It’s also one of the most broken New Year’s resolutions, because like all resolutions, it’s easier said than done. If you’re serious about getting serious, and want to start being financially healthy, saving money, whether it’s for retirement, or you’re trying to save up for a new car, then you’re going to need some good tools in your tool box.
Robinhood started with the idea that a technology-driven brokerage could operate with significantly less overhead. They cut out the fat that makes other brokerages costly — hundreds of storefront locations and manual account management. Regularly, to make a trade, it can be up to $10 per trade, but with Robinhood, there’s no trade fee, runs commission-free, and will allow users to transfer money from their bank account to trade stocks and ETFs. Real-time market data, and notifies you in advance of scheduled events — like earnings, dividends, or splits, so you can get up-to-date information at the right time.
Robinhood is available for iOS as well as Android.
In their own words, Acorns is an automated process driven by a team of engineers, mathematicians, and a Nobel Prize-winning economist constructs and monitors your investment program, so you don’t have to. Acorns invests in low cost ETFs and passes these savings on to the users in the form of low management fees. Using Acorns for a year can cost less than some traditional brokers charge for two trades.
The app lets users round up purchases to the nearest dollar and invest that spare change, but users can also contribute lump sums if they want. In terms of investments, there are 5 basic diversified portfolios of index-based ETFs, based on risk levels, from conservative to aggressive. In terms of fees, Acorns charges $1 per month, while the investment portfolios charge between 0.25% and 0.5% of assets, annually.
Acorns is also available for iOS as well as Android.
Digit.co is a little different from the other two on this list not only because it’s not an app (it operates through your phone and online), but also because its purpose isn’t investing, but saving money. Signing up for Digit takes a couple minutes, it syncs up with your bank, and gathers data on the spending habits of its users. I use Digit personally, and I can’t say how I feel about it, mainly because I don’t notice it working, and that’s the entire point. Digit transfers a small amount of money every few days into your Digit savings account, it’s designed to learn your spending habits so that you won’t accidentally overdraw your account, and as I said, it’s very sneaky. Small amounts of money here and there add up very quickly, and when you want to transfer money from your Digit savings account to your checking account, it’s quick and easy.
Digit is available on every device as it’s not an app.