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How to Invest in Stocks

You can buy individual stocks or stock mutual funds yourself, or get help investing by using a robo-advisor.

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Steps

1. Decide how you want to invest in stocks

2. Open an investing account

3. Know the difference between stocks and stock mutual funds

4. Set a budget for your stock investment

5. Start investing

Investing in stocks is an excellent way to grow wealth. But how do you actually start? Follow the steps below to learn how to invest in the stock market.

1. Decide how you want to invest in stocks

There are several ways to approach stock investing. Choose the option below that best represents how you want to invest, and how hands-on you’d like to be in picking and choosing the stocks you invest in.

“I’m the DIY type and am interested in choosing stocks and stock funds for myself.” Keep reading; this article breaks down things hands-on investors need to know. Or, if you already know the stock-buying game and just need a brokerage, see our roundup of the best online brokers .

“I know stocks can be a great investment, but I’d like someone to manage the process for me.” You may be a good candidate for a robo-advisor, a service that offers low-cost investment management. Virtually all of the major brokerage firms offer these services, which invest your money for you based on your specific goals. See our top picks for robo-advisors .

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Once you have a preference in mind, you’re ready to shop for an account.

2. Open an investing account

Generally speaking, to invest in stocks, you need an investment account. For the hands-on types, this usually means a brokerage account. For those who would like a little help, opening an account through a robo-advisor is a sensible option. We break down both processes below.

An important point: Both brokers and robo-advisors allow you to open an account with very little money — we list several providers with low or no account minimum below.

THE DIY OPTION: OPENING A BROKERAGE ACCOUNT

An online brokerage account likely offers your quickest and least expensive path to buying stocks, funds and a variety of other investments. With a broker, you can open an individual retirement account, also known as an IRA — here are our top picks for IRA accounts — or you can open a taxable brokerage account if you’re already saving adequately for retirement elsewhere.

We have a guide to opening a brokerage account if you need a deep dive. You’ll want to evaluate brokers based on factors like costs (trading commissions, account fees), investment selection (look for a good selection of commission-free ETFs if you favor funds) and investor research and tools.

Below are strong options from our analysis of the best online stock brokers for stock trading: TD Ameritrade , E-Trade and Robinhood .

The passive option: Opening a robo-advisor account

A robo-advisor offers the benefits of stock investing, but doesn’t require its owner to do the legwork required to pick individual investments. Robo-advisor services provide complete investment management : These companies will ask you about your investing goals during the onboarding process and then build you a portfolio designed to achieve those aims.

This may sound expensive, but the management fees here are generally a fraction of the cost of what a human investment manager would charge: Most robo-advisors charge around 0.25% of your account balance. And yes — you can also get an IRA at a robo-advisor if you wish.

As a bonus, if you open an account at a robo-advisor, you probably needn’t read further in this article — the rest is just for those DIY types. Here are the top picks from NerdWallet’s latest robo-advisor comparison: Wealthfront , Betterment and Ellevest .

3. Know the difference between stocks and stock mutual funds

Going the DIY route? Don’t worry. Stock investing doesn’t have to be complicated. For most people, stock market investing means choosing among these two investment types:

Stock mutual funds or exchange-traded funds. These mutual funds let you purchase small pieces of many different stocks in a single transaction. Index funds and ETFs are a kind of mutual fund that track an index; for example, a Standard & Poor’s 500 fund replicates that index by buying the stock of the companies in it. When you invest in a fund, you also own small pieces of each of those companies. You can put several funds together to build a diversified portfolio. Note that stock mutual funds are also sometimes called equity mutual funds.

Individual stocks. If you’re after a specific company, you can buy a single share or a few shares as a way to dip your toe into the stock-trading waters. Building a diversified portfolio out of many individual stocks is possible, but it takes a significant investment.

The upside of stock mutual funds is that they are inherently diversified, which lessens your risk. But they’re unlikely to rise in meteoric fashion as some individual stocks might. The upside of individual stocks is that a wise pick can pay off handsomely, but the odds that any individual stock will make you rich are exceedingly slim.

For the vast majority of investors — particularly those who are investing their retirement savings — a portfolio comprised mostly of mutual funds is the clear choice.

» Still unsure which is right for you? Learn more about mutual funds

4. Set a budget for your stock investment

New investors often have two questions in this step of the process:

How much money do I need to start investing in stocks? The amount of money you need to buy an individual stock depends on how expensive the shares are. (Share prices can range from just a few dollars to a few thousand dollars.) If you want mutual funds and have a small budget, an exchange-traded fund (ETF) may be your best bet. Mutual funds often have minimums of $1,000 or more, but ETFs trade like a stock, which means you purchase them for a share price — in some cases, less than $100).

How much money should I invest in stocks? If you’re investing through funds — have we mentioned this is our preference? — you can allocate a fairly large portion of your portfolio toward stock funds, especially if you have a long time horizon. A 30-year-old investing for retirement might have 80% of his or her portfolio in stock funds; the rest would be in bond funds. Individual stocks are another story. We’d recommend keeping these to 10% or less of your investment portfolio.

» Got a small amount of cash to put to work? Here’s how to invest $500

5. Start investing

Stock investing is filled with intricate strategies and approaches, yet some of the most successful investors have done little more than stick with the basics. That generally means using funds for the bulk of your portfolio — Warren Buffett has famously said a low-cost S&P 500 index fund is the best investment most Americans can make — and choosing individual stocks only if you believe in the company’s potential for long-term growth.

If individual stocks appeal to you, learning to research stocks is worth your time. If you plan to stick primarily with funds, building a simple portfolio of broad-based, low-cost options should be your goal.

Nerd tip: If you’re tempted to open a brokerage account but need more advice on choosing the right one, see our 2020 roundup of the best brokers for stock investors. It compares today’s top online brokerages across all the metrics that matter most to investors: fees, investment selection, minimum balances to open and investor tools and resources. Read: Best online brokers for stock investors »

FAQs about how to invest in stocks

Do you have advice about investing for beginners?

All of the above guidance about investing in stocks is directed toward new investors. But if we had to pick one thing to tell every beginner investor, it would be this: Investing isn’t as hard — or complex — as it seems.

That’s because there are plenty of tools available to help you. One of the best is stock mutual funds, which are an easy and low-cost way for beginners to invest in the stock market. These funds are available within your 401(k), IRA or any taxable brokerage account. An S&P 500 fund, which effectively buys you small pieces of ownership in 500 of the largest U.S. companies, is a good place to start.

The other option, as referenced above, is a robo-advisor , which will build and manage a portfolio for you for a small fee.

Bottom line: There are plenty of beginner-friendly ways to invest, no advanced expertise required.

Can I invest if I don’t have much money?

There are two challenges to investing small amounts of money. The good news? They’re both easily conquered.

The first challenge is that many investments require a minimum. The second is that it’s hard to diversify small amounts of money. Diversification, by nature, involves spreading your money around. The less money you have, the harder it is to spread.

The solution to both is investing in stock index funds and ETFs. While mutual funds might require a $1,000 minimum or more, index fund minimums tend to be lower (and ETFs are purchased for a share price that could be lower still). Two brokers, Fidelity and Charles Schwab, offer index funds with no minimum at all. Index funds also cure the diversification issue because they hold many different stocks within a single fund.

The last thing we’ll say on this: Investing is a long-term game, so you shouldn’t invest money you might need in the short term. That includes a cash cushion for emergencies.

Are stocks a good investment for beginners?

Yes. In fact, everyone — including beginners — should be invested in stocks, as long as you’re comfortable leaving your money invested for at least five years. Why five years? That’s because it is relatively rare for the stock market to experience a downturn that lasts longer than that.

But rather than trading individual stocks, focus on stock mutual funds. With mutual funds, you can purchase a large selection of stocks within one fund.

Is it possible to build a diversified portfolio out of individual stocks instead? Sure. But doing so would be time-consuming — it takes a lot of research and know-how to manage a portfolio. Stock mutual funds — including index funds and ETFs — do that work for you.

» Which is the better investment? Stocks vs. real estate

What are the best stock market investments?

In our view, the best stock market investments are low-cost mutual funds, like index funds and ETFs. By purchasing these instead of individual stocks, you can buy a big chunk of the stock market in one transaction.

Index funds and ETFs track a benchmark — for example, the S&P 500 or the Dow Jones Industrial Average — which means your fund’s performance will mirror that benchmark’s performance. If you’re invested in an S&P 500 index fund and the S&P 500 is up, your investment will be, too.

That means you won’t beat the market — but it also means the market won’t beat you. Investors who trade individual stocks instead of funds often underperform the market over the long term.

How should I decide where to invest money?

The answer to where to invest really comes down to two things: the time horizon for your goals, and how much risk you’re willing to take.

Let’s tackle time horizon first: If you’re investing for a far-off goal, like retirement, you should be invested primarily in stocks (again, we recommend you do that through mutual funds).

Investing in stocks will allow your money to grow and outpace inflation over time. As your goal gets closer, you can slowly start to dial back your stock allocation and add in more bonds, which are generally safer investments.

On the other hand, if you’re investing for a short-term goal — less than five years — you likely don’t want to be invested in stocks at all. Consider these short-term investments instead.

Finally, the other factor: risk tolerance. The stock market goes up and down, and if you’re prone to panicking when it does the latter, you’re better off investing slightly more conservatively, with a lighter allocation to stocks. Not sure? We have a risk tolerance quiz — and more information about how to make this decision — in our article about what to invest in .

What stocks should I invest in?

Cue the broken record: Our recommendation is to invest in many stocks through a stock mutual fund, index fund or ETF — for example, an S&P 500 index fund that holds all the stocks in the S&P 500.

If you’re after the thrill of picking stocks, though, that likely won’t deliver. You can scratch that itch and keep your shirt by dedicating 10% or less of your portfolio to individual stocks. Which ones? Check out our list of the best stocks , based on year-to-date performance, for ideas.

Is stock trading for beginners?

While stocks are great for beginner investors, the “trading” part of this proposition is probably not. Maybe we’ve already gotten this point across, but to reiterate: We highly recommend a buy-and-hold strategy using stock mutual funds.

That’s precisely the opposite of stock trading, which involves dedication and a great deal of research. Stock traders attempt to time the market in search of opportunities to buy low and sell high.

Just to be clear: The goal of any investor is to buy low and sell high. But history tells us you’re likely to do that if you hold on to a diversified investment — like a mutual fund — over the long term. No active trading required.

SCAM WATCH

Investment schemes involve getting you or your business to part with money on the promise of a questionable financial opportunity.

Common types of investment scams

Investment cold calls

A scammer claiming to be a stock broker or portfolio manager calls you and offers financial or investments advice. They will claim what they are offering is low-risk and will provide you with quick and high returns, or encourage you to invest in overseas companies. The scammer’s offer will sound legitimate and they may have resources to back up their claims. They will be persistent, and may keep calling you back.

The scammer may claim that they do not need an Australian Financial Services licence, or that that they are approved by a real government regulator or affiliated with a genuine company.

The investments offered in these type of cold calls are usually share, mortgage, or real estate high-return schemes, options trading or foreign currency trading. The scammer is operating from overseas, and will not have an Australian Financial Services licence.

Share promotions and hot tips

The scammer encourages you to buy shares in a company that they predict is about to increase in value. You may be contacted by email or the message will be posted in a forum. The message will seem like an inside tip and stress that you need to act quickly. The scammer is trying to boost the price of stock so they can sell shares they have already bought, and make a huge profit. The share value will then go down dramatically.

If you invest you will be left with large losses or shares that are virtually worthless.

Investment seminars

Investment seminars are promoted by promising motivational speakers, investment experts, or self-made millionaires who will give you expert advice on investing. They are designed to convince you into following high risk investment strategies such as borrowing large sums of money to buy property, or investments that involve lending money on a no security basis or other risky terms.

Promoters make money by charging you an attendance fee, selling overpriced reports or books, and by selling investments and property without letting you get independent advice. The investments on offer are generally overvalued and you may end up having to pay fees and commissions that the promoters did not tell you about. High pressure sales tactics or false and misleading claims are often used to pressure you into investing, such as guaranteed rent or discounts for buying off the plan.

If you invest there is a high chance you will lose money.

Visit ASIC’s MoneySmart for more information about investment seminar scams.

Superannuation

Superannuation scams offer to give you early access to your super fund, often through a self-managed super fund or for a fee. The offer may come from a financial adviser, or a scammer posing as one. The scammer may ask you to agree to a story to ensure the early release of your money and then, acting as your financial adviser, they will deceive your superannuation company into paying out your super benefits directly to them. Once they have your money, the scammer may take large ‘fees’ out of the released fund or leave you with nothing at all.

You cannot legally access the preserved part of your super until you are between 55 and 60, depending what year you were born. There are certain exceptions such as severe financial hardship or compassionate grounds – but anyone who otherwise offers early access to your super is acting illegally.

Visit ASIC’s MoneySmart for more information about how super works.

Warning signs

  • You receive a call, or repeated calls, from someone offering unsolicited advice on investments. They may try to keep you on the phone for a long time, or try and transfer you to a more senior person. You are told that you need to act quickly and invest or you will miss out.
  • You receive an email from a stranger offering advice on the share price of a particular company. It may not be addressed to you personally, and may even give the impression it was sent to you by mistake.
  • An advertisement or seminar makes claims such as ‘risk-free investment’, ‘be a millionaire in three years’, or ‘get-rich quick’.
  • You are invited to attend a free seminar, but there are high fees to attend any further sessions. The scammer, posing as the promoter, may offer you a loan to cover both the cost of your attendance at the additional seminars and investments.
  • You see an advertisement promising a quick and easy way to ‘unlock’ your superannuation early.

Protect yourself

  • Do not give your details to an unsolicited caller or reply to emails offering financial advice or investment opportunities – just hang up or delete the email.
  • Be suspicious of investment opportunities that promise a high return with little or no risk.
  • Check if a financial advisor is registered via the ASIC website. Any business or person that offers or advises you about financial products must be an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence holder.
  • Check ASIC’s list of companies you should not deal with. If the company that called you is on the list – do not deal with them.
  • Do not let anyone pressure you into making decisions about your money or investments and never commit to any investment at a seminar – always get independent legal or financial advice.
  • Do not respond to emails from strangers offering predictions on shares, investment tips, or investment advice.
  • If you feel an offer to buy shares might be legitimate, always check the company’s listing on the stock exchange for its current value and recent shares performance. Some offers to buy your shares may be well below market value.
  • Never commit to any investment at a seminar – always take time to consider the opportunity and seek independent financial advice.
  • If you are under 55, watch out for offers promoting easy access to your preserved superannuation benefits. If you illegally access your super early, you may face penalties under taxation law.

Have you been scammed?

If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

We encourage you to report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page. This helps us to warn people about current scams, monitor trends and disrupt scams where possible. Please include details of the scam contact you received, for example, email or screenshot.

Scams that relate to financial services can also be reported to ASIC.

Spread the word to your friends and family to protect them.

Stash Invest Review 2020 – Is It Even Worth It?

Every new investor faces two challenges:

  1. The barrier to entry is too high
  2. Not having the slightest idea of what to actually invest in

It’s no secret that investing jargon can sound like a foreign language. This can deter many people from ever taking the time to learn what they actually need to know. On top of that, many brokerages require investors to have minimum balances and automatic deposits that are just too much.

Fortunately, those days are long gone.

Technology has been huge for lowering investment barriers. There are now so many options that are both accessible and easy to understand by everyone.

One of these options is Stash Invest. You can get $5 for free when you sign up and make your first investment!

Stash is great because the app allows users – who perhaps don’t have a ton of money – to buy fractional shares of a stock. Want to buy Amazon but a single share costs $1,000?? With fractional shares, you can buy a percentage of a single share.

Stash isn’t the only one offering fractional shares – the functionality has become popular and companies like M1 Finance also offer it on their platforms. M1 Finance allows you to build a portfolio of stocks and ETFs for free – yes free. No fees.

Plus, many of the major brokers now offer commission-free investing, so keep that in mind as you make your decision of where to invest.

If that sounds appealing, then I recommend you check out these 5 apps that allow you to actually invest for free.

Bonus: Stash Banking is offering a $50 bonus if you deposit $300 within 30 days. Check it out here >>

Quick Summary

  • Automatic investing app with $0 minimum to get started
  • Makes investing “easy” by really simplifying the process
  • Fees as low as $1 per month

Stash Invest

Product Name

Min Investment

Annual Fees

Account Type

Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Taxable

Promotions

Why Stash Invest?

Stash Invest is an app that launched in 2020 after the founders set out to answer the question: why don’t half of Americans invest?

They kept coming back to one answer. Most people found investing to be un-relatable, expensive and intimidating. (Can you relate?!) From those answers, Stash Invest was born.

The Stash Invest app allows investors to start investing for free. Not only that, but Stash makes choosing investments extremely simple.

They also have low fees at only $1 per month, for basic banking and personal investing.

Stash Invest Fees and Pricing

Stash Invest recently updated the pricing and tried to simplify their offerings.

They currently have 3 pricing options – all flat fee offerings (versus the previous structure of AUM).

Beginner: This plan is $1 per month, and offers a basic brokerage account and Stash Banking account. It also offers free financial guidance.

Growth: This plan is $3 per month, and allows retirement investing, along with a taxable brokerage account and banking options.

Stash+: This is their most robust option, and is for families who want to save and invest. At $9 per month, you get not only taxable and retirement investments, but you also get up to two custodial investment accounts for your children (note: these are not 529 plans).

These options compare to Acorns, but are slightly more expensive in some regards, although you do get banking at every price point.

How To Get Started In Five Simple Steps

If you want to get started with Stash Invest, the sign-up process is extremely simple. (After you sign up check the bottom of the post for ways to quickly grow that balance.)

# 1 – Click Here To Get Started

Click here to check out Stash Invest online and get started on your desktop.

Click here to get Stash for free on the App Store, you’ll be directed to the app store and you can download the app to your phone.

# 2 – Fill Out Your Profile

Next, you’ll fill out your basic information and answer a couple of questions.

These questions will help Stash guide you on making investment decisions. It’s important that you’re honest with these survey questions because they help determine your risk tolerance.

This should only take a couple of minutes.

# 3 – Choose An Investment

Based on the answers you provided, Stash Invest will show you investment options that line up with your risk tolerance (conservative, moderate, or aggressive.) You can click on the different investments to learn more about them. (Don’t worry they’re explained in layman’s terms!)

The great thing about Stash is that they make investing relatable. Instead of crazy names of ETFs and ticker symbols, you invest in “themes” that are based on your wants, beliefs, or likes. We’ll talk more about that below.

Right now, there are over 1,800 investment options (stocks and funds) available on the platform.

You can invest in these for as little as $0.01.

Link up the bank account you want to have money withdrawn from to make your investments.

It takes about 2-3 days for the money to transfer into Stash.

# 5 – Confirm Your Identity

Verify your identity, create a four digit pin number and you’re all done.

How To Actually Invest With Stash Invest

Stash does things differently than your traditional investing app or brokerage.

Instead of choosing a stock or ticker symbol to invest in, you choose from themed investments.

This is a really great way to make investing relatable, while at the same making investing affordable and easy.

For example, if you believe that Americans will spend more on healthcare simply because they are getting older, you could invest in “Doctor, Doctor”. This investment is based on an ETF that invests in U.S. healthcare companies.

Similarly, you could invest in “Companies”. For example, you could want to invest in a piece of Warren Buffett through his company, Berkshire Hathaway.

When you click on an investment you can see the underlying holdings – real companies that you invest in.

Purchasing an investment is really easy. You just click on the “Add To Portfolio” button and enter how much you want to invest.

Fractional Shares

Fractional Shares are now available on Stash – which is great if you’re getting started with just a little bit of money. Fractional shares of most investments are available on our platform starting at 1¢, and customers can buy a piece of any stock or fund trading at more than $1,000 per share starting with just 5¢.

DRIP (Dividend Reinvestment Program)

Dividends are a huge driver of long term growth and returns – and Stash now includes free dividend reinvestment. Customers can automatically reinvest dividends across STASH’s suite of investment products, including personal brokerage, Traditional & Roth IRA’s and custodial accounts.

What To Do Next

The goal of Stash (and any investment account) is to build your portfolio over time. Stash Invest makes it fun and easy by creating milestones and ways to encourage you to invest more.

Once you make your first investment, you’ll get the milestones based on thresholds:

Stash also tries to show you your potential – by both adding new investments and teaching you the value of investing often.

Over time, you can check in your home screen and see how your portfolio is doing overall.

You can also enable Diversify Me.

  • Diversify Me simplifies the portfolio building experience and guides customers towards a well-balanced, diversified foundation in their investment accounts. STASH’s diversification engine automatically constructs starter portfolios that are tailor-made for each customer. Then, customers can invest their desired amounts with just one tap.

Stash Retire

Stash has a feature called Stash Retire, which is a retirement account option for investors. Stash Retire offers both Traditional and Roth IRAs – and offers the same investment choices you’d find in Stash. You can contribute up to the IRA Contribution Limit in a Stash Retire account.

Stash Retire is part of the Growth Plan, and it is slightly more expensive at $3 per month.

You can still start investing for free, but that could be quickly eroded by fees if you don’t invest more and see investment gains.

Stash Banking

Stash also recently partnered with Green Dot Bank to launch a banking feature on its app¹. They offer a debit account with no overdraft or monthly maintenance fees², access to a large network of free ATMs nationwide³, ASAP Direct Deposit™ which enables customers to get their pay up to 2 days early⁴, as well as Stock Back™⁵ the only rewards program where customers earn stock every time⁶ they spend.

Every STASH customer also receives personal guidance across every aspect of their finances—from spending to saving and investing‚ with actionable advice to help them get the most out of their money.

Of course, the banking aspect connects seamlessly to Stash Invest, to allow you to manage all your money in one place.

Also, with banking, you can do the following:

  • Round-Ups to grow savings on auto-pilot. Every time customers spend, STASH will round-up the purchases to the nearest dollar. Each time the round-ups total hits $5, STASH will transfer the spare change to the customer’s personal investment account.
  • Cash Back gives customers the opportunity to earn up to 10% cash back on everyday purchases. Customers can opt-in and then connect up to three credit or debit cards and automatically earn cash back each time they spend at participating retailers nationwide. Based on customer location, the feature will surface cash back offerings nearby, allowing them to conveniently discover new retailers and great deals at places they already shop. Customers can invest the earnings in their favorite stocks or withdraw the money at no cost.

Bonus: Stash Banking is offering a $50 bonus if you deposit $300 within 30 days. Check it out here >>

The Cons of Stash Invest

The biggest drawback of Stash is the cost. $1 per month may not seem like a lot, but on a small portfolio, the percentage is very high. $1 per month is $12 per year. On a $100 investment that is 12% in investing fees. That’s incredibly hard to earn back, and those fees keep coming. That can really kill your portfolio’s earning potential.

When you look at $3 per month (or even $9 per month), you need to invest a large amount to make the fees competitive to other platforms.

Let’s look at an example to break it down. If you’re interested in Technology Stocks, you might consider investing in Stash’s Internet Titan’s ETF. This ETF is actually ticker symbol FDN, which is First Trust Dow Jones Internet Index Fund. This ETF has an expense ratio of 0.54% – which is pretty high for a domestic ETF.

If you want to invest in a similar ETF at Fidelity, you’d probably go with FTEC, which is Fidelity MSCI Information Technology Index ETF. It invests in the same companies, and it has an expense ratio of just 0.08%. It’s also commission-free to invest in. The Stash ETF alone is 6.75x more expensive to own than the fund at Fidelity. Plus, you have that $1/mo fee on top of it!

So, if you have a $1,000 investment in this fund, it would cost you (per year):

  • At Stash: $12 (the $1/mo fee) + $5.40 (the fund’s expense ratio) = $17.40
  • At Fidelity: $0.80 (the fund’s expense ratio) = $0.80

In percentage terms, your investment would end up costing about 1.74% per year in fees.

At Fidelity, it’s just the 0.08%. So, when you add in the monthly fees, it ends up being 21.75x more expensive to invest at Stash than Fidelity!! All those extra fees are doing is hurting your return over time.

I spoke to Stash about this to see if they had any comment. The person I spoke to justifies the high percentage in fees by looking at what the customer gets in return of spending only $1 a month.

For example, unlike Fidelity, Stash has a beautiful and easy-to-navigate app built specifically with the user in mind (millennials). When a customer signs up to Stash, they are not just there to invest. they are there to learn.

Fidelity doesn’t exactly talk the user through their investment decisions the way Stash does, using layman’s terms the user can understand. Moreover, many people never end up investing solely because there are too many options on platforms like Fidelity!

It turns out millennials may be willing to pay $1 a month, even if by percentage terms that’s a lot, to learn how to invest, get recommendations on what to invest in, and most importantly, form the investing habit.

Alternatives To Stash

But if you’re like me, and don’t like high fees no matter how convenient and pretty the app may be, then I recommend opening an IRA or brokerage account at a mainstream brokerage like TD Ameritrade or Fidelity. What most people don’t realize is that you can open an IRA with no minimum, you can get access to hundreds of commission free ETFs, and you have a great app to use. You essentially can build your entire diversified portfolio for free, on an app.

So, instead of paying high fees and investing in their custom ETFs, you simply get a regular “mainstream” account, can invest in the same ETFs, and experience no fees.

If you’re looking for something that allows you to buy small amounts, check out ​M1 Finance.

Final Thoughts

With Stash, it’s free to get started. This is perfect for anyone getting started. Plus, it’s so easy to understand!

A bunch of $5 investments can add up to something big.

If you want to get started investing but haven’t made the plunge, consider Stash, but also consider other options. For every investing style, there is likely a better and cheaper solution.

Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Nothing in this article should be construed as Legal or Tax Advice. For additional questions regarding Taxes, please consult a Tax Professional. Investing involves risk.

*Clients may incur ancillary fees charged by Stash and/or it’s custodian that are not included in the monthly Wrap-Fee.

1 Debit Account Services provided by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC. Investment products and services are not offered by Green Dot Bank, are NOT FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed and May Lose Value. Account opening for the debit account is subject to Green Dot Bank’s approval.

2 Other fees apply to the debit account. Please see Deposit Account Agreement for details

3 Other fees may apply. Fee-free ATM access applies to in-network ATMs only. For our-of-network ATMs and bank tellers a $2.50 fee will apply, plus any additional fee that the Atm owner or bank may charge.

4 Early access to your direct deposit depends on deposit verification and when Green Dot Bank gets notice from your employer, and may vary from pay period to pay period.

5 Opt-in is required. In order to earn stock in the program, the Stash debit card must be used to make a qualifying purchase. Stock-Back Rewards that are issued to a participating customer’s personal brokerage account via the Stash Stock-Back Program, are not FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed and May Lose Value. Stash Stock-Back™ is not sponsored or endorsed by Green Dot Bank, Green Dot Corporation, Visa U.S.A., or any of their respective affiliates, and none of the foregoing has any responsibility to fulfill any stock rewards earned through this program.

6. What doesn’t count: Cash withdrawals, money orders, prepaid cards, and P2P payment. See full terms and conditions.

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