What is Acorns?
Acorns is an app built on a concept of investing spare change. It was founded in 2012 by Walter and Jeff Cruttenden. In 2014, Acorns had 60,000 users, and claims to have over 3 million users today and that is really a lot of users.
The system works like this- it takes spare change from the purchases you do every day and make investments with it.
What you have to do is link your credit or debit card and bank accounts that you use every day to the Acorns app. Then you make purchases as usual. The app will round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and use the spare change for investment. For instance, let’s say you buy groceries for $5.60. Acorns rounds up your purchase to $6.00 and invests the extra $0.60 into an exchange-traded fund. In this way, you’re investing your spare change automatically without even noticing that. It happens every time you swipe your credit or debit card. You can make unlimited deposits and unlimited withdrawals any time you wish.
THE EXCHANGE TRADED FUNDS
Acorns portfolios range from conservative (lots of bonds) to aggressive (all stocks and real estate).
All the portfolios contain exclusively low cost ETFs from Vanguard and BlackRock. From time to time, Acorns may swap out one ETF for another ETF that tracks the same index. These are the investments that Acorns is using today. It’s worth noting that these options haven’t changed in at least a year (likely because they are still among the lowest cost ETFs in the market).
- iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF | LQD
- iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond ETF | SHY
- Vanguard Small-Cap Index Fund ETF Shares | VB
- Vanguard REIT Index Fund ETF Shares | VNQ
- Vanguard 500 Index Fund ETF Shares | VOO
- Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock Index Fund ETF Shares | VWO
- Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets Index Fund ETF Shares | VEA
What does Acorns cost?
The fee for using Acorns is $1 a month which is a percentage of your overall investments in the app each month. While $1 is standard the more times you use your debit card for purchases, the lower the overall percentage of your investments. For example, if you invest $10 in your Acorns account per month, the fee would be 10%. However, if you invest $20, the fee becomes only 5% of the total. Acorns Later costs $2 a month, which includes your Acorns investment account, while Acorns Spend costs $3 a month, which includes access to Acorns Later and your original Acorns account.
Should you consider Acorns?
We have found Acorns to be a financial tool that works well. If you are starting into investing and do not have a portfolio manager or stockbroker to rely on this app is a good start. Here are some other benefits of Acorns:
- Easy entry. We like the fact that setting up the account took seconds and only required a $5 initial investment.
- Perks for using other services. They have promotions that reward users for using partner services, such as Uber, Amazon an Apple.
Again, Acorns may be a good option for those people starting in financial investing or to have an additional investment strategy in place of what they have currently such as a 401k plan.
If you do plan to use Acorns as a start we wouldn’t rely on it solely as an investing strategy as it may make you fall short of any financial goals you may have. Down the road you may want to keep a financial advisor in the loop about your microinvestment app and help you come up with more or better financial savings plans for the future.
How To Sign Up?
There are two options you can use to join Acorns. You can visit their site at Acorns.com and click on the sign up button. This will take you to the registration page. Or you can use the app, which you can get on Google play or you can download it from the app store.