Acorns vs Stash: Review 2018

acorns vs stash invest app

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Zero hassle, on-the-go investing has taken off in recent years and both Stash Invest and Acorns are among the best investment apps to monitor your money from your mobile devices.

Acorns and Stash provide unique twists on investing. If you struggle to save, Acorns is a slam-dunk, must-have mobile app because each time you buy something, it will round up your purchase to the nearest dollar and invest the loose change on your behalf.

Stash gives you more control over your investment choices and makes it easy to invest thematically. Want to put your money in environmentally friendly companies? You got it! Want exposure to China? That’s easy too. The spectrum of choices is almost dizzying, and is almost certain to cater to your preferences.

Depending on your financial goals and preferences, the answer to the question Stash vs Acorns will be clear in the comparison below. So how do they stack up when comparing fees, minimums, account selection, support and portfolio choices?

Acorns Vs Stash

acorns investing robo advisor logo
stash invest logo

WHAT IS ACORNS?

Acorns is a mobile app that automates the process of investing your money. You simply link your credit cards and debit cards to Acorns, and each time you buy something, the purchase will be rounded up to the nearest dollar and invested automatically.

Acorns essentially  vacuums up your spare change and auto-invests it on your behalf to build a fluffy nest-egg over time.

You don’t have to think much about how to invest or even how much you are investing. As one of the best investment apps out there, Acorns makes investing about as simple as it gets. So, if hassle-free stock market investing is your goal, Acorns gets two thumbs up.

WHAT IS STASH?

Stash also wins brownie points as one of the best investment apps available but it provides much more control to clients over investment selection.

A major selling point at Stash is thematic investing. If you feel a niggling discomfort investing in so-called “sin stocks” that supply tobacco and alcohol, or you wish to avoid companies with questionable histories on gender equality or the environment, Stash is the answer because the app gives you the power to choose themes that align with your ethics and financial goals.

Stash is a little less user-friendly than Acorns when signing up and does not support automated investing like Acorns but provides a ton of education to help you make better investment choices.

So, if you want to pick and choose how you allocate your money, Stash is better but if you want a hands-off investing experience, Acorns is preferred.

Acorns Fees Vs Stash Fees

Stash and Acorns charge fees of $1 monthly for amounts up to $5,000 and 0.25% of assets on amounts of $5,000 and above.

When it comes to fees, it is hard to separate Acorns vs Stash. Both charge a $1 monthly fee for account balances under $5,000 and both charge 0.25% of assets on amounts of $5,000 and above.

Amount Acorns Stash
< $5,000 $1/month $1/month
$5,000+ 0.25% 0.25%

If you have a smaller account size, keep in mind that $1 monthly may not seem like a lot but as a % of assets it might be sizeable and larger than you pay elsewhere.

For example, $12 per year on a $1,000 balance would translate to a fee of 1.2% annually compared to 0.25% for basic service at Betterment.

Highlight: A nice bonus for college students at Acorns is free service for 4 years from the date you sign up as long as you have a valid .edu email address.

How Stash & Acorns Are Different

Stash gives you control over your investment choices while Acorns auto-invests on your behalf. It takes just $5 to get started investing in taxable accounts on both investment apps.

While Stash and Acorns are hard to separate when it comes to fees, they do diverge in other ways.

AUTO-INVESTING VS INVESTMENT CONTROL

The big difference between Stash and Acorns is control over your investments. Stash requires customers to choose investments and allows flexibility so that you can align your investment selections with your values. To help you along the way, Stash provides tips and recommendations as part of Stash Advisor Guide.

Unlike Stash, which encourages you to pick your own investments and promote them to the world, Acorns is more automated. If you prefer not to lift a finger, Acorns makes investing automatically about as easy as it gets. Connect Acorns to your credit cards or debit cards and you’re good to go.

For Stash customers who want a hands-off approach, Auto-Stash is a good option. Using this feature, you can automatically invest a fixed dollar amount on a regular schedule. Money is withdrawn from your bank account and invested on your behalf according to the selections you previously made without you having to take further action.

ACCOUNT TYPES & MINIMUMS

It is easy to get started at Stash and Acorns. Unlike some robo-advisors, such as Personal Capital, who impose very high account minimums, Stash imposes a minimum of just $5 and Acorns requires no deposit to get started but $5 is needed to begin investing.

Stash makes available both taxable and Roth IRA accounts while Acorns is limited to just taxable accounts at this time, so you will be required to pay capital gains taxes on any earnings.

PORTFOLIO CHOICES

You can invest in ETFs across six asset classes with Acorns while Stash makes 30+ ETFs available.

At Stash, investment choices are labeled intuitively so you will have a good idea where your money is allocated without any need for intensive research.

Thematic investment selections at Stash include Clean and Green, Colossal China, Defending America, Blue Chips, Conservative Mix, Delicious Dividends, Internet Titans, and American Innovators among many others.

Should You Use Stash Or Acorns?

Acorns makes micro-savings easy and partners with major brands as part of its Found Money program that provides you automatic cash back. Stash lets you invest in themes that align your dollars with your values.

Acorns targets micro-savings by rounding up small amounts on a regular schedule to build up a larger nest-egg.

You can also make a lump-sum investment if you wish as well as commit to regular recurring deposits.

To reach your retirement goals, you will almost certainly need to commit to larger lump-sum investments beyond the rounded up “loose change” amounts that grow over time from transactions.

So while Acorns is a valuable tool, it may not be sufficient unless you make additional lump sum deposits.

Stash also caters to micro-savings but it’s not as focused on the pennies. Stash is committed to teaching you how to invest better and provide you an easy mobile app to get started that is available on Android and iOS – just like Acorns.

Both earn brownie points for the various twists on investing they offer to customers.

Found Money is a program at Acorns that lets you get cash back automatically by linking your Acorns account to various partners, including:

  • Apple
  • AirBnB
  • Beats by Dre
  • Birchbox
  • Blue Apron
  • Boxed
  • Dollar Shave Club
  • Expedia
  • Gamefly
  • Groupon
  • Nike
  • Hotel Tonight
  • Jet
  • SoFi
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Walmart
  • Warby Parker

Stash is especially attractive to fee-conscious individuals on-the-go who want to align investment selections with themes from cybersecurity to homebuilders and from healthcare to renewable energy, and most anything else in between.

It is also ideal for investors who want to get better at making investment choices and want access to free financial education.

Synopsis: Stash Vs Acorns

Which is best investment app: Stash or Acorns? The answer depends largely on how hands-on you wish to be.

Do you want a fully automated investing investment app and like the idea of your loose change being rounded up after each credit card or debit card purchase? Then Acorns is the way to go.

If learning how to invest better is important to you and choosing environmentally friendly or other thematic investments resonates with you then Stash is a better choice.

The fees, minimums and account selections between the two are so similar that they are hard to distinguish but, if both appeal to you, the best bet may not be to choose one over the other but instead to select both because for the most part they go hand-in-hand.

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