In 2009, when I got my first job, I thought acorns were just tree nuts you ate.
Similar to how most people thought Amazon was a river prior to the e-commerce giant taking over the online shopping world, Acorns is slowly becoming synonymous not with tree nuts… but instead investing.
Today, we will review the popular Acorns spare change app that allows users to invest their “Spare Change.” Check out the full Acorns Review below!
Quick Review of Acorns
Acorns is a so-called “spare change” investing app that is a bit like traditional cookie jar savings.
Consider it as a modern twist on the practice of saving loose change. It works by rounding up every purchase you make on your credit and/or debit card and automatically investing the small amounts (the difference) into a portfolio that is designed to work for you.
Since its release in August 2014, Acorns has continued to innovate, refining its micro-investment offering and adding more traditional banking services into the mix as well. Acorns also gives you cash back on selected purchases when you spend money with its partners (which include Airbnb, Walmart, Nike, and Sephora).
This cash back offering is known as the the Found MoneyⓇ concept.
There’s no denying that Acorns makes saving money extremely easy and the tiny amounts invested make it suitable for pretty much anyone. But the management fees on small accounts can be relatively high and there are cheaper alternatives out there (as you’ll see).
Acorns: What to Know
The first thing you need to know about Acorns is that you need to link your credit and debit cards to the platform before you can take advantage of it. Then, the next time you make a transaction, Acorns will automatically round it up to the nearest dollar and invest the small amount on your behalf.
So let’s say you buy a coffee that costs $3.50, Acorns will round that up to $4 and put the difference ($0.50) into your holding account. Once the balance of this account reaches $5, Acorns will automatically invest it into portfolios that are right for you.
But that’s not all… Acorns also enables you to turbo charge your investments by setting round up multipliers (up to 10 times), so instead of just rounding up to the nearest dollar, the app will actually take more. It does mean that $3.50 coffee will cost you $8.50 (if you choose a 10x multiplier), but don’t forget the extra $5 is actually being “saved.”
You can also manually transfer lump sums into your Acorns holding account, as well as regular payments on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
How does Acorns know what portfolios are right for you? Because you tell it what you want to invest in via a series of questions when you sign up. Acorns will then recommend a suitable portfolio for you, ranging from conservative (mainly bonds) to aggressive (mainly stocks and real estate).
Here are the current (September 2020) Acorns account management fees:
- Lite: $1 a month for a taxable investment account (Acorns’ bread & butter)
- Personal: $3 a month for an investment account, checking account, & retirement account.
- Family: $5 a month for all of the above plus custodial accounts for your kids.
A nice Acorns feature that doesn’t get a lot of press is ‘Learn’. It’s an educational area where people can learn more about investing, including FAQs and a glossary, perfect for new investors.
Similar Read: Acorns vs Qoins ~ What is the better spare change app?
Pros & Cons of Acorns
So Acorns already seems like a no-brainer if you’re looking for a simple way to save, right? Maybe.
Here are the pros and cons of Acorns:
|Acorns Pros||Acorns Cons|
|No minimum investment needed to open an account||Limited investment options|
|Automatically invests your spare change on your behalf (painless investing)||Relatively high fees on smaller balances|
|Makes investing extremely easy||Zero tax benefits|
|Gives cash back when you shop with selected retailers||Not 100% risk free (but then most investments aren’t)|
|Offers educational content|
|Round up customization available|
|No fee for withdrawing funds|
|Recurring deposits can be easily set up|
|Free for college students with a valid .edu email|
|Acorns Family makes it easy to create UTMA/UGMA accounts for your kids|
Other Investing Apps: Robinhood Review 2020
Who is Acorns for?
Acorns is ideal for new investors or people who simply want a hassle free way of investing. If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t have time to figure out the stock market, or you simply want an automatic way of investing, Acorns could be what you’ve been looking for.
While it started out as a smartphone app, Acorns also now has a web-based version. That said, it probably still appeals most to younger, tech-savvy investors. That’s because the entire investment experience can be managed from the comfort and ease of a smartphone.
Young adults with no 401(k) or alternative retirement account (how to start investing is not hard); people who just want to invest passively; and those who just can’t seem to make saving a regular part of their life can all benefit from Acorns.
Where to get Acorns
If you want to get started with Acorns and automatically save your small change, head over to https://www.acorns.com/ and sign up. Alternatively, download the mobile app on your Android device or iPhone and create an account.
Whichever method you choose will involve a three-step signup process that starts with entering a PIN code. Don’t forget this as it’s what you’ll use to log in to the app in the future.
Acorns accounts are currently only available only to U.S. citizens.
Final Word on Acorns:
If you want a simple, hassle free way of investing small amounts without even thinking about it, Acorns could be the perfect platform for you. When you con
However, if you’re looking for a solid investment that is going to provide you with a foundation for your retirement, a spare change investment solution almost certainly isn’t going to cut it.
Nevertheless, with its cash back feature and educational content, Acorns does offer a lot of value. Just be warned that management fees on small balances can end up being a high percentage of assets, making it nonsensical for investors that don’t invest very much. While a few dollars a month might not see like much, it could end up removing a significant proportion of your investment returns.
Related Investing Posts:
What if I don't want to link my bank accounts, does Acorns work?
The simple answer is Yes & No. You can't do round-ups without linking your cards/accounts, therefor no spare change feature. However, as an investing app, you can use Acorns and take advantage of some of their other features as well.
Can I change my contributions or portfolio?
Yes, it is very simple to adjust and fix your Acorns portfolio so that you can increase your investments or change strategies.
Is Acorns fees expensive?
It depends on how much you invest. For smaller amounts invested, say $5 a month, the app might not be worth the $1 fee. However, as you account grows, the monthly plans are relatively inexpensive.
Josh writes about ways to make money, pay off debt, and improve yourself. After paying off $300,000 in student loans with his wife in less than five years, Josh started Money Life Wax and has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and many more! In addition to being a life-long entrepreneur, Josh and his wife enjoy spending time with their newborn son, their chocolate lab named Morgan, working out, being outside, traveling, and helping others with their finances! In case you were wondering, Josh uses Personal Capital to track his net worth and his first investment account ever was an Acorns account 😎