Traditionally stock market investment had a high barrier to entry: you had to invest a lot of money and needed to know your stuff if you wanted to see real gains. No longer: technology removed the newbie challenges of stock market investing, with apps leading the charge. Stash is one of the simplest apps, find out how Stash can help you invest in the stock market in our Stash app review.
Investing in stocks can seem dauntingly complicated. Stash distills stock market investment down to a simple mix of investment preferences and investment goals. The app takes existing funds (ETFs) and divides these into themes that are easy to understand, while also offering some individual stocks to invest in.
The Stash app does not automatically manage your account. Instead, through a serious of questions, it helps guide you into the right choice of ETFs to make up a portfolio that matches your risk tolerance and investment values.
It all revolves around mission-driven investment objectives which boils down to relabeling existing investment products to make common sense. For example, invest in ‘Small but Mighty’ and the app puts your money in the Vanguard Small-Cap ETF which is composed out of smaller companies.
Stash is great at guiding beginner investors. If you have no knowledge of stock market investment but want more from your money than paltry savings account returns Stash can be of real help. This easy to use investment advice comes alongside an easy to use app that offers a snazzy, visual synopsis of your investment portfolio including a bar that visualizes your investment risk.
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Stashing money in a savings account is free but buying shares in companies rarely comes free of charge. This is true for Stash too: you need to pay to invest with Stash, but the fees are relatively minimal. The monthly account fee is $1/month if your balance is under $5,000 and 0.25% of your account balance for investments $5,000 and over.
On top of that, you need to maintain an account minimum of just $5, making Stash a great way to start investing. However, note that the $1/month fee can quickly become a large proportion of your investment if you only invest small amounts with Stash.
Stash is available for both iOS and Android devices but you can also access Stash using its website. As is often the case when an app is available for both major mobile platforms, Stash does a little bit better with iOS users, compared to Android. But let’s take a look:
Stash for Android gets 4.3 / 5 in aggregate from 14,963 reviewers. We think that Stash is a great way to start for beginner investors, and users think so too, with one user saying Stash is an excellent way to start with micro investing. Some users would like to see more investment flexibility, while one user complained about slow order execution. Overall users like the low barrier to entry and the simplicity of Stash.
On iOS Stash does even better, scoring an average of 4.7 / 5 from over 70,000 users. One user explained how they found signing up with Stash far simpler than working with a traditional brokerage, while another liked the $5 sign-up bonus. Users also praised the customer support received from Stash, though one user said that they were frustrated with how app updates were communicated with users.
In the context of financial services apps Stash does pretty well on user reviews. Investment products are complex which often leaves users frustrated, the fact that Stash receives high average scores on both mobile platforms suggests that the company has its app more or less sorted out.
You can withdraw some or all of your Stash investment if for whatever reason you need the funds you’ve invested in Stash, or if you want to move your funds to another investment product. Simply go to your Portfolio on the Stash app home screen and click Buy/Sell, selecting Sell to trigger the sale of a portion or all of your investment.
Note that due to SEC regulations it can take two business days before the funds from investments that you just sold settle in your account. Once the settlement period passed you will be able to move the money from Stash into your bank account.
Your investment requirements may change over time, or you may want to gain more control over the individual stocks you invest in. If that happens you can completely close your Stash Invest account.
Closing your Stash account is easy. Simply go to this link in the Manage Account area and click the “Close account” button. When you close your account any investments you currently have will be sold and the returns will be transferred to your bank account. This process can take between 7 and 10 working days.
Both Stash and Acorns are good solutions for novice investors that do not have the investment understanding or the time to manage their own investments. Just like Stash, Acorns also allow investors to start with as little as $5 in their account while charging $1/month to manage smaller investment portfolios.
Acorns differs in that it automatically sweeps up ‘spare change’ in your bank account. It works like this: when you make a purchase, Acorns rounds up the amount to the nearest dollar and invests the difference into your Acorns savings account. Individual amounts are small, but over time Acorns can help you invest your ‘spare change’ when you might not get around to doing so otherwise.
Acorns also tend to charge lower fees on your investment funds, but Stash offers a broader selection of investments. The difference is less than 0.5%, however, so you may feel that the wider choice on offer by Stash is worth the extra cost.
Both apps fare equally well from reviewers, with Acorns getting an average of 4.7 / 5 from iOS users and an average of 4.3 / 5 from Android users, which matches up perfectly with Stash’s scores. That said, many more people are using Acorns: it has 318,000 reviews on the Apple App Store, compared to the 70,000 for Stash.
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Stash is aimed at beginner investors, there is no question about that. Stash is not the best option if you are an experienced investor, you can get more investment flexibility with lower fees by opting for providers such as Wealthfront or one of the classic equity traders such as E*TRADE or TD Ameritrade.
Nonetheless, if you are just dipping into stock market investing and have a reasonably large sum to invest – to ensure you don’t get stung by the monthly Stash fee – you should seriously consider Stash. However, if low costs are important for you Acorns might offer a better overall investment product.
Finally, if you want a broad choice of investments and like the theme-inspired investments in Stash you should consider it above Acorns as it offers a bit more in terms of investment control.