In this Stash review, I'll give you all the cold hard facts and you can decide if it's better for you than Acorns. (Read our full Acorns review here.)
Did you know that around one-third of Americans have nothing saved for retirement?
Everybody has the goal of retiring someday, but some people have not begun working toward that goal.
People have not started saving and investing because it is challenging for most people.
But why is this?
This question is the same one that Stash founders Ed Robinson and Brandon Krieg found themselves pondering.
Every new investor faces two obstacles:
- The cost is too high.
- The information is too complicated.
With this in mind, Robinson and Krieg went to work, and Stash Invest was born.
The company launched in October 2015 with the purpose of simplifying the world of investing.
First-time investors can use Stash's platform to invest in a diversified portfolio with a small amount of money.
Today, Stash has helped thousands with education, services, and technology to help secure their users' financial futures.
Could Stash help you?
Let’s find out in this Stash review.
Stash Review: Micro-Investing
Micro-investing is self-explanatory: an investment of a small amount of money.
Nowadays, companies are allowing investors to buy fractional shares (instead of whole shares) to make investing more affordable for everyone.
Micro-investing removes the cost barrier to investing…
…so now the cost of investing doesn't have to be too high.
Now, you have no excuse to put off investing because…
…Stash is a micro-investing platform that enables users to invest small amounts of money at a time.
Rich, middle-class, or poor – you can get started saving today with Stash.
But before you get started, let’s see what exactly Stash has to offer.
Stash is an app that gives you the tools, guidance, and confidence to invest and grow your wealth.
Instead of creating an investment portfolio for you, the company gives you the foundation to build your own.
Stash is unique because it is not a robo-advisor that chooses investments for users. Instead, Stash empowers users to invest on their own through education and various tools.
Because let's face it – investing can be a daunting task when you are just starting out.
Stash can make the task less daunting and even enjoyable.
This is an important step for new investors…
…even if you can automate your investing, you should understand your investments.
With Stash, you can:
- Invest as little as $5.
- Learn the ins and outs of investing.
All it takes is two minutes, five dollars, and a phone to start investing confidently!
Who Is Stash Best For
Stash is an excellent option for beginner to intermediate level investors.
Users can choose personalized investments (more on that later) and gain access to a low-maintenance investment account.
So, really – Stash could be useful to any investor looking for these specific traits.
But beginner investors stand to gain the most from the Stash platform because it is an excellent learning tool.
Stash Review: Products
The app is straightforward and will not overwhelm you with options.
With Stash, you have two account options:
- Taxable investment account
- Tax-advantaged retirement account: a traditional or Roth IRA
You will invest through the company’s platform by depositing money into your account.
But the unique thing about Stash is that it will not invest or balance your portfolio for you.
How Stash Works
This section will take you from sign-up to making your first investment with Stash.
Before you go any further, let’s make sure that you are eligible for an account.
You must meet three eligibility requirements to join Stash:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Be a resident of the United States.
- Have an active checking account.
You can sign up for free on your desktop or download the Stash app to your phone.
To get started, just enter your e-mail address and create a password.
New investors can start an account with a free $5 investment.
Create your investor profile
After you are signed up, you can begin creating your profile by completing a questionnaire that asks for information like your goals, age, financial resources, and desired risk level.
This information helps Stash evaluate your risk tolerance, provide relevant investment advice, and give personalized investment advice.
Once your risk level is determined, Stash provides you with a list of investment options to choose.
The three risk levels are:
Each risk level is dependent upon your answers to the questionnaire and has its own recommended investments.
The “aggressive” portfolio is a high-risk, high-reward option, and the “conservative” portfolio is a low-risk, low-reward option.
In general, if you are more risk averse, you will be invested in more conservative assets (like bonds) and vice versa.
These recommendations are similar to what a robo-advisor does, but Stash offers even more investment options.
You cannot manually change your risk level – you will need to change your personal details or investment plan to do this.
Fund your account
You will need to fund your account by linking Stash to your checking account.
You can do this by:
- Entering your bank login and password.
- Entering your account and routing numbers.
Once your bank account is successfully linked, you will be able to add and subtract money using the Stash Deposit screen.
There are no transfer fees for deposits or withdrawals and moving money is very easy.
Verify your identity
Verification is very easy with Stash. The company will require your social security number to verify your identity.
Once you have completed the verification, you're ready to start investing!
Choose your first investment
Once your account is set up, you can choose your first investment.
Fractional shares allow users to start investing with as little as $5.
Stash will make investment suggestions based on your risk level that apply to your financial situation.
But instead of choosing a stock or fund, you can choose from ‘themed’ investments.
Stash renames each ETF so that users can get a general idea of what they are investing in.
These themed investments make investing more simple, relatable, and possibly even fun.
Each investment offering is broken up into three categories:
- “I believe.” A specific cause drives these investments. For example, you can invest in alternative energy or defending America.
Portfolios include: Clean & Green, Do the Right Thing, Equality Works
- “I want.” Your investment goals drive these investments. For example, you can invest in precious materials, blue-chip stocks, or conservative investments.
Portfolios include: Park My Cash and Aggressive Mix
- “I like.” Your hobbies and interests drive these investments. For example, you can invest in retail, tech, and social media stocks.
Portfolios include: Retail Therapy and Internet Titans
Each investment portfolio details risk level, performance history, and the holdings. You can also see what the underlying investment is for any themed investment.
SPDR S&P 500 BioTech ETF is listed as ‘Modern Meds’ and the Vanguard Small-Cap ETF is called ‘Small but Mighty.’
You also have the flexibility to add suggested ETFs into your portfolio.
However, one caveat to this investing (i.e., choosing “I like”) is that it may not be the best investment for your given situation.
Be sure to access the educational materials and understand what you are investing in beforehand.
Once you are ready to invest, there are numerous investing tips and guides provided by Stash to keep you on the road to success.
Bonus Offer: Sign up today and get $5 deposited into your account for free. Click Here
* This offer won't last
Stash Review: App
Stash is primarily a mobile app. The app is compatible with iOS and Android devices.
You can sign-up for an account on the Stash website, but can only invest using the mobile app.
The mobile app is where Stash sets itself apart with its functional and intuitive design. The displays are relevant and generally easy to understand for varying levels of knowledge.
Here is a look at a couple of the tabs in the Stash app:
Home. Here you can view a summary of your investments, portfolio performance, and milestone progress.
Learn. Here you can view different educational articles based on what you are looking to learn. Materials are organized from beginner to more in-depth once you have started to get the hang of things.
Another cool feature in the app is “coaching” which encourages further learning and helps you balance your portfolio.
The tool gives you a score based on your mix of assets and various challenges you have completed (i.e., reading certain educational materials).
Overall, we found the app to be intuitive and very easy to use.
Stash Invest Minimums and Fees
Stash does not have minimum balance requirements.
Stash offers three different membership plans for its users.
Stash Beginner is the lowest-cost plan from Stash. It costs $1 per month and offers:
- Advice for beginner investing
- Investing access to Personal Portfolio
- Banking access
- Insurance access to $1000 in life insurance
Stash Growth costs $3 per month and includes:
- Everything in Stash Beginner
- Advice for growing personal finances
- Investing access to Smart Portfolio and Retirement Portfolio
Stash+ costs $9 per month and includes:
- Everything in Stash Growth
- Advice for family finances and Stash+ Market Insights
- Investing access to two custodial accounts
- Banking access to 2x stock with the Stock-Back Card
- Insurance access to $10,000 in life insurance
Stash Review: Key Features
Stash is a hands-off investment platform for users. Outside of recommendations and tips – you are in control.
Here are some of the features that you should be aware of before signing up:
Electronically Traded Funds (ETFs)
Stash offers over 30 ETFs which is above-and-beyond what most robo-advisors offer.
You can view a list of each ETF's holdings and the underlying securities of themed portfolios.
Stash also offers a limited number of individual stocks.
These stocks include Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and General Electric.
Fractional shares allow users to invest small amounts.
This feature means that you can buy a share of any stock for as little as $5.
The Smart-Save feature enables users to save more money automatically.
Smart-Save analyzes user accounts to determine where money can be saved and automatically puts the extra cash in your Stash account.
The Stash Banking feature helps users manage their money and offers FDIC-insured accounts with no minimum balance required.
Stash Retire gives you the option to invest in a traditional or Roth IRA with just $15.
Also, for those under 25 years old, Stash offers no-fee retirement accounts. Investing for free is a GREAT incentive to begin saving for retirement at a young age.
Stash App Customer Service
Stash is easy to contact via their website through the “Contact Us” link located at the bottom of the home page.
The Stash team is available for questions Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET, or on Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET.
Stash Review: What we love
Stash is excellent for beginner investors mainly because of their educational materials.
Stash tailors your educational content based on the information that you provide when getting started.
Stash has categorized learning sources as follows:
- Teach Me
- Money News
- Money Talk
Understanding your investments will set you up to be a successful investor over the long-term.
Stash does an excellent job at cutting through complicated concepts and terms making investing easy for anyone to understand.
There are also question mark symbols throughout the platform that launch quick definitions or explanations.
All of these feature are important because users are the ones responsible for building their portfolio based on suggestions from Stash.
The Smart-Save tool helps users create better savings habits.
When the tool identifies an opportunity to save, it automatically moves that money into your Stash account.
Transfers are only made when possible and will not overdraft your bank account.
Low account minimum
There are no minimum balance requirements. No minimum balance requirements mean that your account will not incur fees for going below a certain threshold.
You will need at least $5 in your account to invest which is a reasonable minimum. The low minimum investment is made possible by fractional shares.
As mentioned above, you can purchase fractional shares of stock.
This feature gives investors of all financial situations the opportunity to invest.
Stash purchases ETFs and stocks and allocates each share among investors.
Custodial accounts allow you to give nieces, nephews, kids, grandkids, etc., the opportunity to invest.
You must be 18 years or older to open an account, so custodial accounts provide an exception to that rule.
Stash can be a great option to teach kids how to invest as well.
Instead of seeing random ETF names, you will see themes that you can choose from.
Each theme offers individual ETF options. Themes make investing in ETFs easier to understand.
But be sure to view and understand the underlying investments.
Stash Review: What We Don't Love
The fees charged on investing accounts may not be worth it for everyone.
For example, if you invest $100 with Stash Beginner, you will pay $12 in fees over the course of one year.
This would be a 12% fee, which is very high compared to most brokers.
The ETFs that Stash offers have an average expense ratio of 0.34%.
This amount is high compared to robo-advisors.
However, this is part of the cost associated with things like investing in causes or companies that you believe in.
Stash Review Summary: Is it right For You?
Stash is a perfect option for beginner investors because the company removes the two most significant barriers:
- The cost is too high.
- The information is too complicated.
Stash has proven to be a solution for those that do not have the money or know-how to invest.
Stash makes investing easy and can get you on your way to building your financial future in under five minutes.
Stash also has a unique approach to investment education that can benefit you long after you have moved on from the company.
Stash’s guidance can also help you avoid losing money due to costly investing mistakes.
Additionally, the no-fee retirement accounts for users under 25 is a great incentive for new, young investors.
However, it is essential to understand that the fees charged by Stash are higher than you could find elsewhere.
This fee can be particularly harmful to those with low account balances.
Despite this downfall…
…Stash does offer value that justifies the monthly fee and is undoubtedly a viable investment option.
Overall, this is an excellent app for college students and beginner investors.
So, what are you waiting for – are you ready to start investing?! Click here to open your account TODAY and Stash Invest will give you $5 free!