4 Apps to Make Investing Easy in 2017

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:

Your Smartphone

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).

Savings: Digit

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.

Investing: Acorns

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.

Trading: Robinhood

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.

24 thoughts on “4 Apps to Make Investing Easy in 2017

  1. I use following apps:

    https://openfolio.com : The service is a network that allows users to share the contents of their investment portfolios. Investments are shared without dollar amounts, only percentages.

    https://www.wealthfront.com : Wealthfront is an investment manager. They allow you to track/manage your investments digitally with an interface. Both retirement and non-retirement investments can be managed with Wealthfront.
    dividendgeek recently posted…Capital One 360 – $200 Money Market Bonus (1% APY & Requires $10,000 Deposited)My Profile

    • Hi dividendgeek,

      Thanks for sharing some of your apps that you use. While it’s nice to see so many great apps for managing money and investing these days I hesitate to sign up for any, not because of any security concerns, rather the fact that every few months another service crops up. How many services can one sign up for? I guess that’s the beauty of the Internet but when you are trying to simplify your life opening up yet another account just seems to contradict this goal. As always, I appreciate your comment.

    • Hi SAD,

      If I was starting out these days I too would use Robinhood or Loyal3. Being able to invest commission free is a great way to nibble on stocks and build out positions over time. When I started, the closest thing to these platforms was Sharebuilder which allowed you to buy fractional shares and reinvest dividends automatically and for free. Thank you for commenting.

  2. Intresting. Will try some of those out. Dividend Tracker is also a great app that I use. Its not 100% accurate with incoming dividend amounts.( based on wrong yields) but the stock prices are always right on and can see each months dividend payments and dates.

    • Hi PCI,

      There’s no shortage of apps for investing and money management out there. I never heard of Dividend Tracker which just goes to show the number of choices one has. Sometimes having too many options can confuse an individual investor. While there’s nothing wrong with any of these apps I think one should choose one or two to manage their investments and money management to retain focus on what really matters for the long run. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

    • Hi dividendgeek,

      As far as I know it is not possible to do any type of automatic investing like with Loyal3 or Capital One Investing. I think Robinhood is more for real time trades. Thank you for your question.

  3. I’ve really started contemplating the use of robinhood. I add up how much I spend on fees annually and it makes my heart drop. I would need to invest an extra $4k into solid dividend stocks just to cover my trading feeds. This definitely adds up down the long road. I will need to do some research about rolling over my current holdings as well as if they are DRIP friendly

    • Hi DD,

      One of the benefits of being a long term dividend growth investor is that you trade less frequently. Long term dividend investors tend to only make buys and rarely sell and trade in and out of stocks as we hold for the long term. I’m curious to know how many trades you place every year and which broker you use that rack up such high annual fees. As I mentioned earlier, if I was starting out today I would go with Robinhood or Loyal3 because of its ease to nibble into positions without the worry of trading fees. As always, I appreciate your comment.

  4. Robinhood has been incredible for me. I don’t know that I will stay with them long term. But I can tell you I didn’t have the money to invest in stocks and I probably would have started until way later in life without that app. I started with just a few bucks and I have almost a 4k portfolio in less than a year. I’m also a big fan of Betterment and Wealthfront for those that don’t have the time and energy to balance their own portfolio. I think their fee structure is a little more forgiving than Acorn at least with the intial deposits for those making small investments.
    Dividend Seedling recently posted…I finally decided to throw up a long range goal and it’s ambitiousMy Profile

    • Hi DS,

      Thanks for sharing your personal experience with Robinhood. I agree that it’s a great way for any investor with minimal funds to begin on their own investing path. In fact, these days with Robinhood, Loyal3 and the like, there really is zero excuse for anyone to not invest for their future. Gone are the days of expensive commissions and other barriers to entry. Today, for as little as $10, which everyone in the western world has, anyone can build up a portfolio and create their own passive income stream. Thank you for commenting.

    • Hi Brian,

      Digit looks like a very interesting ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ manner to save. Sometimes the best ways to save and invest are when you don’t have to actually think or worry about it. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Such apps have made life easy for investors. I haven’t found a good one for dividend growth investor – the Dividend Tracker is too new and has issues as the reviews say. I use my own spreadhsheet in Google Docs that is updated real-time. The only thing I need to do is enter new dividends as and when announced by company. At a glance, I get total dividends, dividend growth, portfolio value, gain/loss and several other useful info for tracking and making portfolio decisions. Nice thing about Google Docs is that you can access and update this anywhere in the world, without having to worry about your laptop and hard disk crashing. If GoogleFinance had an automated function for capturing dividend info, that would be excellent, but they don’t yet, so I enter div/share info manually. Perhaps they will develop one soon!
    Ten Factorial Rocks (TFR) recently posted…Dividend Stock Purchase – An ExampleMy Profile

    • Hi TFR,

      I guess if no app/site suits your needs create your own as you have done with your Google Docs spreadsheet for dividends. While it’s nice to have so many great apps out there to make investing and saving easier for many, I still go the “old school” route and use whatever finance site I find online (Google Finance, Morningstar, etc.) to screen and help me make my own investment decisions. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your own method for capturing detailed dividend information.

    • Hi AFFJ,

      Every few months another new investing/saving/budgeting app/site seems to come to the forefront. There are so many great choices these days it’s almost criminal for most to not take advantage of these great and often free services. Thank you for commenting.

  6. I started using Robinhood also and have grown past the $50,000 portfolio limit which you can trade for free on Merrill Edge on up to 30 trades. I moved to Merrill Edge just because the deposits on Robinhood would take a whole week to clear after the $1000 “instant” deposit, I was also not interested in the “Gold/Margin” monthly fee as I don’t use Margin to buy DGI stocks.

    Its definitely a good starter brokerage, but once you get past the $50k, I recommend Merrill Edge.
    Dividends 4 Future recently posted…Robinhood to Merrill Edge TransferMy Profile

    • Hi D4F,

      You said it, and I completely agree. Robinhood is a good starter brokerage for many to get their feet wet. I also like Loyal3 because you can buy fractional shares with minimum buys as low as $10. That’s a very low barrier to entry for anyone wanting to start out in the investing world. As always, I appreciate your comment.

  7. I am working on getting everything with Personal Capital

    While we have a very detailed excel budget and spending is well controlled, it is now time to look at total wealth and find more opportunities to continue putting money into our investments. I have only heard good things about the Personal Capital platform.

    I also am looking at opening a Motif account to see if it can help on fees as well. Looks to have an interesting platform that seems to have fans as well.

    Thanks for the post!
    -Cameron
    Save Splurge Deny Debt – Cameron recently posted…5 Tips to Becoming a Successful ‘Boring’ InvestorMy Profile

    • Hi SSDD,

      I too have heard a lot of good things about Personal Capital, though I personally don’t use it or similar services. Have you looked into Loyal3 or Robinhood for trading? Again, I don’t use either but have heard great things about those two platforms, especially if you are new investor with limited funds to invest. It’s always nice being able to buy/sell stock for zero commission. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

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