As I’ve been reading through other personal finance blogs, I have noticed something that keeps popping up on many of them: ETFs. While I know what ETFs are, I have never actually invested in one. If you have read my prior blog posts, my husband and I typically invest in individual companies rather than picking ETFs. So, last week when a friend of mine, who is also a subscriber of the blog and a fellow accountant, reached out to me to ask if I had heard of an app called Stash, I was instantly intrigued. I hadn’t heard of it before, but as he went on to give me a quick summary of the app and what it does, I couldn’t help but think that this would be a great resource for others. I did some research of my own, as well, but figured why not let someone well-versed in the app tell my readers about it!
What the heck is Stash?
Stash is a new type of investment platform that wants to help empower its users to invest by simplifying the investment process. The app’s target market is millennials because a majority of millennials are just not investing. They are holding off investing for a number of reasons, but the most common ones are that it’s too hard or I don’t know what I’m doing. The Stash app provides a solution to both of those problems. Stash helps its users invest in the companies and sectors that matter most to them, ones that align with that person’s interests and beliefs. The mobile app also explains finance and investing concepts in simple terms to help educate users about how to invest. The best part is that the Stash Invest app allows investors to start investing with as little as $5 and the fees are low at only $1 per month for accounts with less than $5,000 then .25% per year for accounts with a balance greater than $5,000. Stash Invest offers 30 different themed investments to choose from which are narrowed down by your risk tolerance and personal preference.
Before we get into the interview, let me give you a little background on my friend Chris. Chris is the one who introduced me to Stash. He is a hardworking millennial who is looking for ways to invest in the market. Between commuting, working and exercising there is not much time left in the day for him to sit down and do tons of research on companies or even ETFs to invest in. Plus, he is still fairly new to investing. Chris entered the workforce right out of college (congrats, Chris!) and started contributing to his 401k, but after seeing his paychecks just sitting in his bank account, he wanted to do more with it. That’s when he found Stash!
- Chris how did you find the app and what do you like about it?
I found STASH by listening to a couple investment/real estate investing podcasts (Bigger Pockets/Economist). It was actually on an advertisement/commercial break during the podcast when I first found it. I like how user friendly the app is, and it even has a full 5 star rating on the Apple App Store.
- Is the app easy to use and what phones is it compatible with?
The app is very easy to use. It gives you a tutorial during your first use and even has pop-ups occasionally to simplify your experience. The app even advises you how to properly invest, and actually gives you an in depth understanding about what you’re investing in. It is compatible with both Apple and Android.
- How does the app work?
All you have to do is sign up which takes less than 5 minutes and answer a few basic questions about your finances. Once you establish your account you can invest as little (or as much) as you please! There are multiple ETF’s to invest in, and you can setup a monthly withdrawal plan from your bank account.
- How often do you use it and would you recommend others use it?
I use STASH very frequently. When I first started, I took a leap and invested $500 into fractional shares of multiple ETF’s. Within about two weeks I noticed I was making 4% interest on my money, which is multiple times more than letting it sit in a bank. I established a weekly withdrawal plan of $75 every Friday, and have continued to see strong returns. I am now up to over $3,000 total!
- Anything else you want to add?
I would recommend STASH to investors of any level, but specifically beginner to intermediate levels investors for sure. The education behind what you’re investing in is very informative, and you learn as you go. You build your own portfolio based on what you like, what you believe in, and what your goals are. The auto-investment feature is fantastic because for example I am saving $300 per month without even realizing! The pricing (charges) are extremely transparent and there is only a fee of $1.00 per month, until your account reaches $5,000, after that you are charged a flat fee of 0.25% per year. The customer service is fantastic and will respond immediately to tweets, emails, and phone calls. Lastly, the app is safe and secure, with pass codes and fingerprint authentication and is protected by FINRA and the SEC for up to $500,000.
According to a survey done by Harris Poll, approximately 4 in 5 millennials surveyed – 79 percent – say they don’t invest. While I haven’t used the app yet, I did take a flip through the website. The app seems great for beginner to intermediate investors looking to invest in the market. The ETFs you can choose from are not your typical ETFs; they have cool names like “Live Long and Prosper or Rising Robots.” Each ETF then shows you the top holdings you are investing in, as well as an easy-to-read and understand summary about the ETF’s focus. The image below is an example taken from Stash’s website. After interviewing Chris and doing my quick pass through the website, I am definitely downloading the app and giving it a shot. I think it’s a great way to invest a small amount (fun money, if you will) and learn about ETFs. I’m always excited to learn more about investing and this seems like a fun way to learn and possibly make some money in the process.
Chris, thank you for not only introducing me to Stash, but also taking the time to answer my questions. I really appreciate the candid feedback from a true user. Congratulations on your savings, you are off to a great start, keep up the amazing work!