Acorns Review – Grow Your Acorns Into Oaks
Acorns is a financial services company that features products including micro-investing accounts, retirement accounts, and checking accounts. Acorns enables customers to make automatic daily, weekly, and monthly recurring deposits, with no minimums, no trade fees, and a low monthly cost. While Acorns may not be the best fit for borrowers looking to maximize their earnings, it’s a great investment account for beginners that comes with some nice perks.
- What is Acorns?
- How does Acorns work?
- How much does Acorns cost?
- The bottom line
What is Acorns?
Founded in 2011, Acorns is a financial services company that promotes passive and incremental investing. While Acorns started as primarily a small-dollar investing platform, it has since expanded to offer other financial products, including checking accounts and retirement accounts.
Acorns has partnered with established investment firms like Blackrock and Vanguard to offer an affordable, accessible investment platform for consumers. Acorns is designed to simplify the investing process, encouraging investors to invest the digital equivalent of loose change. These small amounts accumulate over time, allowing investors to painlessly build their savings and grow their wealth.
How does Acorns work?
Signing up with Acorns only takes a few minutes on their website. On their homepage, you can click the green “get started” button to begin the signup process to open a brokerage account.
After you click on the button, you’ll be redirected to a form where you’ll be asked to provide your email and a password in order to create an account.
Next, you’ll have to link your bank account in order to start investing. Acorns uses bank-level security, data encryption, and more. Acorns will also ask you to provide some personal information about yourself, including your name, birthday, and social security number.
After your account is approved, you’ll be able to begin saving and investing! Plus, if you refer a friend using Acorns’ referral program, you can earn an additional $5 to get you started.
How much does Acorns cost?
Acorns has three main price tiers for its services.
The Lite Plan starts at $1 per month and features a basic investment account, spare change roundups from purchases, bonus investments from 350+ Found Money partners, and access to Acorns’ library of educational material.
The Personal Plan costs $3 per month, and comes with an Acorns investment account, retirement account, and checking account.
The Family Plan costs $5, and includes everything in the personal plan, plus investment accounts for kids.
While micro-investing is Acorns’ bread and butter, it also features plenty of other services and perks worth considering. These include checking and retirement accounts, investment accounts for kids, and the ability to earn bonus investments when you shop.
Acorns Invest allows consumers to invest small amounts of money at a time in a micro-investing account. Investors can automatically add money to a diversified portfolio composed of stock and bond ETFs, originally designed with help from Nobel laureate Dr. Harry Markowitz.
When you invest money with Acorns, your funds are automatically diversified over 7,000 stocks and government and corporate bonds. Account holders can choose how much risk they’re willing to tolerate, with conservative, moderately conservative, moderate, moderately aggressive, and aggressive options.
Acorns customers can make automatic daily, weekly & monthly recurring investments. Account holders also have the option to invest spare change leftover by rounding up to the nearest dollar on purchases with Acorns’ real-time Round-Ups feature. Acorns accounts have no monthly minimums, no trade fees, and a monthly cost of $1 to $5 depending on which plan you choose. Acorns Invest is SIPC insured.
Acorns Later is Acorns’ version of retirement savings. Billed as an easy, automated way to save for retirement, this account lets consumers set up an IRA and fund it through automatic contributions. Options include Roth IRAs, traditional IRAs, and SEP IRAs. You can begin investing with just $5, and grow your savings over time.
Acorns claims that they’ve dubbed this type of account “later” rather than “retirement” because many people think they might never retire, while others are already doing what they love before retirement age. While this language can be a little grating for young investors who think that they should be able to retire someday, Acorns’ simple, intuitive, and automated savings process has a lot to recommend it. Acorns Later accounts are included in the $3 per month Personal Plan and the $5 per month Family Plan.
Acorns also offers a checking account for customers. The main advantage of an Acorns Spend checking account is that it allows account holders to combine checking, investing, and retirement savings all in the Acorns app.
This online-only checking account features direct deposit, mobile check deposit, check sending, and more. Cardholders can instantly invest spare change, and also have access to a network of fee-free ATMs if they ever need to withdraw paper money.
The account comes with a tungsten metal debit card with a matte green finish and custom-engraved signature, which is slightly gimmicky but has a satisfying heft. Like Acorns Later, Acorns Spend is included in the $3 per month Personal Plan and the $5 per month Family Plan. Acorns spend is FDIC insured.
Acorns Early is an investment account for kids that’s easy to set up and even easier to use. You can set up multiple accounts for different children at no additional cost, and can save for a variety of expenses. Acorns Early is a UTMA / UGMA account, which means that the money invested can be spent on anything that benefits the child, with no specific category limits.
Acorns Early also features financial literacy content for families, which can help you to teach your children how to save, invest, and responsibly manage their personal finances. Acorns Early is only available through the $5 per month Family Plan.
Acorns Earn allows account holders to earn money when shopping with over 350 top brands, including AirBnB, Apple, Expedia, Groupon, Sephora, Nordstrom, Old Navy, and many more. Acorns’ Found Money is similar to cash back, with the earnings automatically invested into your account. This is a nice rewards program that allows you to earn on common everyday purchases. Acorns Earn also lets you search for jobs directly within the app.
Acorns Grow is a content library of educational resources concerning investing and money management. If you’re just starting out on your financial journey and looking to learn more about foundational financial concepts, Acorns Grow is a decent place to start. Content includes both articles and videos covering topics like saving, investing, earning, spending, borrowing, and more.
Who is Acorns best for?
Acorns is a great investment solution for beginning investors, small-dollar investors, and consumers who want to automate the investing process.
Acorns is a friendly, easily understandable investment platform for beginners new to the world of investing and personal finance. Acorns’ simplified investing options and robust educational resources make them a great fit for beginning investors.
Unlike some investment platforms, which require a minimum deposit of hundreds or even thousands of dollars, Acorns lets investors start out with only a handful of dollars, and gives account holders the option of investing small-dollar amounts rather than large lump sums.
Investors interested in automation
If you want to invest but aren’t sure how to get started, Acorns’ automated investment strategy is certainly appealing. Account holders can invest the digital equivalent of loose change, sustainably growing their balance over time through the practice of micro-investing. Acorns’ micro-investing app also makes it easy to manage your money on the go.
Who shouldn’t use Acorns?
While Acorns is a great investing platform for some consumers, it’s not the best option for all investors.
Account holders looking to maximize savings
While Acorns’ fees are only a few dollars a month, they still represent a significant amount for account holders with small balances. These investors might be better served with a low-fee investment account that charges a fee based on a certain percentage of assets.
Investors who want more choice
Acorns only offers five main investing portfolios, based on factors including an investor’s age and risk tolerance. For investors looking to further customize their investments, there are better options available.
Investors who want a financial advisor
Acorns’ funds aren’t quite one-size-fits-all, but there’s not a whole lot of customization available. If you want the help of a financial advisor to construct a personalized investment strategy, Acorns probably isn’t the best option.
Pros & cons
- Easy to set up and use - One of Acorns main attractions is its sleek mobile app and simple, intuitive investing features.
- Automated investing - Want to put your investing strategy on autopilot? Acorns makes it easy to automate daily, weekly, and monthly investments.
- All your accounts in one place - Another nice feature of Acorns is the ability to view and manage checking, investing, and retirement accounts all in one app.
- High fees relative to balance size - Unlike some other investment platforms, Acorns charges a flat management fee per month, which means that customers with smaller account balances may end up paying more in fees.
- Limited portfolio options - Acorns only offers five main investment portfolios, making it less than ideal for investors looking for customizable options.
Acorns vs. competitors
While Acorns offers a great product, there are several other competitors that are also worth considering, including Betterment, Robinhood, Wealthfront, and Stash.
|Acorns||$1-$5 per month||None||Round-Ups, automated savings|
|Betterment||0.25%-.40% per year||None||Personalized digital advice, socially responsible investing|
|Robinhood||No commission, maintenance, or transfer fees||None||Invest in individual stocks, cryptocurrency|
|Wealthfront||0.25% per year||$500||Passive investing|
|Stash||$1-$9 per month||$5||Invest in fractional stocks|
Betterment is an investment platform that automatically invests your money into index funds. You can save money for a variety of different goals, from down payment on a mortgage to a kitchen renovation or a major purchase. Betterment charges a fee of 0.25%-.40% per year, and has no required minimum investment.
Betterment also features personalized investment advice based on your personal situation and savings goal, as well as socially responsible investment options that let you direct your money away from fossil fuels and other harmful investments. In addition to investment accounts, Betterment also offers checking, savings accounts, and retirement accounts.
Robinhood is another investment platform popular among small-dollar investors. Unlike Acorns and Betterment, Robinhood allows investors to invest in individual stocks, as well as alternative investments like cryptocurrency. Robinhood costs $0 to open an account and charges no maintenance, commission, or transfer fees. The platform does charge some regulatory transactions, trading activity, and ADR fees.
While Robinhood’s platform makes it fun and easy to invest sums small and large, the gamified nature of the platform has drawn criticism for encouraging retail investors to make risky investments. Robinhood has also been in the news recently for restricting trading and freezing the buying of some stocks during surges of popularity.
Wealthfront allows consumers to invest money and grow their wealth using passive investment strategies and a diversified portfolio managed by a robo-advisor. Wealthfront’s sophisticated digital investing strategy allows account holders to minimize fees, lower taxes, and manage risk. You can save for anything from retirement to college tuition to your next big purchase. Wealthfront also automatically rebalances your portfolio to bring it into closer alignment with your target allocation.
Fees include an advisory fee of 0.25% and a fund fee of 0.06%-0.13% per year. Unlike some of the investment platforms on this list, Wealthfront has a relatively high required minimum deposit of $500. This means that it might not be the best option for investors who are just getting started. Wealthfront also offers high-interest checking and portfolio lines of credit for borrowers with balances over $25,000.
Like Acorns, Stash aims to make investing accessible to average Americans, with a minimum required deposit of just $5. Stash charges monthly fees ranging from $1 per month to $9 per month depending on which account option you choose.
One feature that sets Stash apart is the ability to invest in fractional stock. However, unlike Robinhood, Stash is built for long-term investing, not day-trading. Stash’s fees are a little high when compared with some other investment platforms, which means they might not be the best fit for extremely cost-conscious consumers. In addition to investment accounts, Stash also offers banking and retirement options.
How much does Acorns cost?
Acorns offers three separate tiers, with costs of $1, $3, and $5 per month depending on the plan you select.
What type of investment options are available?
Acorns offers five different customized investment portfolios, ranging from conservative to aggressive.
What other products does Acorns offer?
In addition to investing, Acorns also offers checking accounts and retirement accounts.
The bottom line
Millennials have plenty of investment options to choose from, including real estate, single stocks, index funds, and alternative investments like cryptocurrency. Acorns is an attractive investing platform for beginning investors because it makes investing simple and straightforward. If you think you should be investing but aren’t sure how to get started, Acorns makes it easy to invest small amounts of money at a time. With its automated investing features, Acorns also allows you to set your investing on autopilot and grow your savings through the practice of micro-investing.
Acorns may not be the best choice if you’re an experienced investor, if you want a wide selection of investment options to choose from, or if you want to minimize fees. That said, it’s a great way to begin investing on a budget, and also features plenty of educational resources to help you learn more.