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Investing with Acorns – Full Review

Acorns is one of the most well-known robo-advisors in the modern investing era, and for good reason.

Their carefully designed membership plans offer the perfect investing tools for different kinds of customers and their families.

Today, we will be doing a full review on the Acorns experience.

What Is Acorns?

Source: Acorns

Acorns is a popular robo-advisor that has made a name for itself in the investing world through its application of a simple but powerful investing tool: round-ups.

Acorns tracks the purchases you make in your everyday life and automatically rounds up the charge to the nearest dollar.

Acorns takes the extra change from the roundup and invests it for you in a portfolio that’s suited to your financial profile and investing needs.

Did you just buy your morning cup of coffee for $5.25? Congratulations, you’ve just invested 75 cents!

You can easily manage your round-ups through the Acorns mobile app.

Acorns uses its platform to help its customers capitalize on the magical effects of compound growth.

If you can make tiny contributions to your investment accounts every day, your invested money will start earning more money.

Then, the money you originally invested plus your gains will continue to grow, creating an exponential growth effect.

Acorns makes taking advantage of the compounding effect simple and hands-off!

 



Investment Tip #78: Acorns Referral Program

Did you know? You can earn free bonus investments just by inviting your friends to join Acorns.

For every referral, Acorns will invest an extra $5 into your and your friends’ accounts. Click Here to get the offer today.



 

What Types of Accounts Does Acorns Support?

You can open plenty of different types of accounts through Acorns, each with their own specific purposes.

Account types range from your regular, everyday investment account to UTMA/UGMA accounts for children.

Invest

The Invest account is a regular brokerage account.

It has no tax advantages, no maximum contribution limits, and no penalties for withdrawals.

You can use your Invest account to take advantage of roundups and bonus investments from Acorns’ partner companies.

Later

The Later account is a tax-advantaged individual retirement account, or IRA.

Your IRA can be a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA, or a SEP IRA.

IRAs are tax-advantaged, meaning you won’t have to worry about capital gains taxes when you sell.

Additionally, you can take an income tax deduction for your contributions to your traditional IRA, or make contributions to your Roth IRA with after-tax dollars in order to get a tax break in retirement.

IRAs do have contribution limits and early withdrawal penalties.

Banking

The Banking account is a checking account.

This checking account comes with a free, heavy metal debit card that gives you access to over 55,000 ATMs around the world.

You can hook up your Banking account to your Invest and Later accounts, making the transferring of money from the bank to the brokerage seamless.

Early

The Early account is a UTMA/UGMA account.

These accounts are essentially custodial accounts for children, so you can start investing for them while they’re young and then transfer the accounts to their name when they come of age.

UTMA/UGMA accounts have some small tax advantages, with the first $1100 you put into one of these accounts annually being free.

What Membership Plans Does Acorns Offer?

Acorns offers two different membership plans based on your investing needs.

Each plan gives you access to different Acorns features that can help you invest through a regular, taxable brokerage account, start saving for retirement with a tax-advantaged retirement account, or even start investing for your children.

Source: Acorns

Acorns Personal

The Personal plan gives you access to Invest, Later, and Banking.

When taking advantage of the Later feature, you will have a tax-advantaged retirement account.

With the Banking feature, you will get a bank account along with a debit card that can earn you bonus investments when used at partner businesses.

The Personal plan is ideal for investors who want access to a retirement account such as a Roth IRA and who want to bank with Acorns.

Acorns Family

The Family plan gives you access to Invest, Later, Banking, and Early.

The Early feature allows you to open UTMA/UGMA accounts for children, as well as set up recurring investments for those accounts.

Family also comes with free financial education for families so you can know what you’re doing when it comes to your children’s financial future.

The Family plan is ideal for investors who have minors inside or outside their families who they want to start investing for.



Investment Tip #78: Acorns Referral Program

Did you know? You can earn free bonus investments just by inviting your friends to join Acorns.

For every referral, Acorns will invest an extra $5 into your and your friends’ accounts. Click Here to get the offer today.



 

Does Acorns Have ESG Options?

Source: Acorns

Yes! Acorns offers portfolios filled with ETFs that are specifically made for ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing.

This is a type of impact investing that allows you to invest in companies that are working to reduce their carbon footprint, giving resources towards social justice causes, and holding themselves to the highest governance and accounting standards.

According to Acorns, their Sustainable Portfolios are made to perform on par with the Core portfolios, and some of the leading ESG ETFs in the market have even outperformed the traditional indices.

If you already have a portfolio with Acorns, switching over to Sustainable Portfolios is free; however, in order to switch from Core to Sustainable, Acorns will sell off the ETFs in your preexisting portfolio, which could create a taxable event.

Acorns Earn

Acorns also has a rewards program called Earn.

Earn helps you earn bonus investments just by shopping online.

The first step to using Earn is to download the Acorns Earn extension for Google Chrome. 

Then, you can go ahead and browse online and make purchases the same way you normally would.

When you come across a purchase that is eligible for a bonus investment, the Acorns icon will light up and let you know.

Then, you simply log in and take advantage of the rewards. Easy!

Acorns Earn can also help you find a new job. The platform has a huge database of job listings that can help you change careers, find a better-paying job, or start a part-time side hustle to supplement your income.

Basically, Acorns Earn is an entire part of the platform dedicated to making you more money!

How Does Acorns Make Money?

Acorns makes money by charging fixed, monthly fees for each of its three investing plans. Here are the fees for each plan:

  • Personal costs $3 per month and gives you access to Invest, Later, and Banking.
  • Family costs $5 per month and gives you access to Invest, Later, Banking, and Early.

Don’t forget that you’ll also have to pay (relatively small) management fees for each individual ETF you’re invested in.

These fees go to the fund managers, not Acorns.

An ETF’s management expense ratio isn’t a direct expense you pay out of your investment account; instead, the value of your ETF is simply reduced automatically by the amount of its expense ratio.



Investment Tip #78: Acorns Referral Program

Did you know? You can earn free bonus investments just by inviting your friends to join Acorns.

For every referral, Acorns will invest an extra $5 into your and your friends’ accounts. Click Here to get the offer today.



 

Is Acorns Worth It?

As we discussed earlier, Acorns charges a monthly fee rather than a percentage of your investments.

So, are these flat fees a good thing or a bad thing?

That depends on how much money you have in your account.

Most other robo-advisors charge you a management fee that is based on your AUM, or assets under management.

With any other major robo-advisor, this fee will be somewhere around 0.25% per year.

So, if you had $100 in your account, your management fee would be 25 cents per year; if you had $1000 in your account, your management fee would be $2.50 per year; if you had $10,000 in your account, your management fee would be $25 per year, and so on.

Essentially, the dollar amount of your management fee increases with the amount of money you have in your account whenever the fee is a percentage.

With Acorns, the flat management fee has the opposite effect.

Let’s say you sign up for the Personal plan, which is Acorns’ most popular plan.

You know that your monthly fee will be $3, which might not sound like a lot.

But if you have a relatively small portfolio, this monthly fee could actually come out to be more than you would pay at a different robo-advisor with a fee that’s a percentage of AUM.

For example, if you have $100 in your Acorns account, your $3 monthly fee will be $36 per year, which comes out to to a whole 36% of AUM…

that's 144 times the 0.25% average for other robo-advisors.

If you have $1000 in your Acorns account, the fee would be 0.36% of AUM, still way higher than 0.25%.

In order to make Acorns Personal “worth it,” you would have to have $14,400 in your account.

This would put your annual management fee at exactly 0.25%, which is on par with most other robo-advisors.

If you have more than $14,400 in your Acorns account, then the flat fee will be less expensive than a 0.25% management fee!

If you have the Acorns Family plan, you would need to have at least $24,000 in your account to get under a 0.25% management fee.

Source: Acorns

Final Thoughts

Acorns has created quite the investing experience with its robo-advisor platform, and it’s not planning on stopping.

Both its older and newer products never cease to impress, and we believe that any type of investor can find a home in Acorns.

Acorns is even planning on going public soon!

Just be sure to take into account that while the platform’s monthly fees may seem low, you need to have a certain amount of money in your portfolio to ensure that your management fee isn’t drastically higher than those of many other robo-advisors.