The following is a guest blog post:
Most people don’t need a financial advisor. And with the wealth of information available online, even fewer people need a financial advisor in 2017. But we still need the tools and, for the most part, those tools are in the hands of the investment firms that charge fees to use them.
But this changed when smartphone apps disrupted the industry and handed the power to the investors. Instead of advisors and large financial firms, the financially savvy are using apps to build wealth and grow investments. If you’re looking to step away from the traditional firm, these are four apps for making it happen right now:
Investment apps don’t require much power from smartphones, but security enthusiasts do lean toward Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S7, which offer many customization options and security settings. None of these apps are proven to be vulnerable to identity theft, but it never hurts to add an extra layer of protection (these apps are often compatible with iPhone as well).
The most difficult part of saving is making the commitment to move your money. Most people only make sporadic transfers when budgeting allows, which doesn’t set up a consistent savings plan. But sometimes reoccurring transfers don’t work for people with variable income (such as freelancers).
This is where Digit solves both problems — Digit studies your spending and income habits to determine when you have the budget to move money into savings, and then does it for you automatically. And if you don’t like how Digit is making money-moving decisions, the settings can be tweaked and the money in your savings account is always instantly accessible.
Take all the same challenges involved with saving and apply them to investing, only now add the question of which funds to actually contribute your investments. Acorns makes microinvesting — sending small transactions toward your portfolio — easy and automatic. Link your credit or debit card to Acorns and it sends the rounded-up change of each transactions to a portfolio.
Portfolios range from conservative to aggressive, so if you play is safe with your 401(k) or IRA, then you could choose an aggressive portfolio to play around with. Acorns makes it all thoughtless and the fees are reasonable compared to actively managed funds.
If you know enough about the market to trade your own stocks but don’t want to pay the outrageous fees associated with the tradition firms — Robinhood is the app for you.
Robinhood is a free trading platform (no catch or gimmicks) that gives you full access to the market and lets you trade and monitor in real time. For those wondering how a free stock trading service makes money, there is a premium subscription for $10 per month, but the app is free for anyone who wants the basic service, which is enough for most people.
Organize: Personal Capital
All the previously mentioned apps have their own tracking features to watch stocks, funds and balances, but none are as thorough and comprehensive as Personal Capital. On top of being a free service, Personal Capital links all your financial accounts — checking, savings, credit, loans and investments — to evaluate and offer suggestions about your investments. It’s a great tool for getting an overview of your finances to dive deep into what each of your investments is doing.