How many times have you heard ‘start investing now, and you’ll have hundreds of thousands more by the time you retire’? The answer is probably a lot, and that is a very true statement. Compounding interest adds us quickly, but when you’re a broke college student investing doesn’t really seem like it’s possible. However, I’m here to you that it is!
Gone are the days of needing even $1,000 to start investing and growing your money. You can now start investing for just a few dollars a month. So, here are the top 5 places you can start investing while in your 20’s!
Some of the below links are affiliate links in which I get a small commission at no additional cost to you when you sign-up through these links. These affiliate relationships have no influence on these ranks.
You can’t make a list about investing in your 20s without mention Acorns. They are one of the most popular ‘micro-investor’ platforms out there. Acorns lets you invest as little as $5 to get started, and if you sign up using this link, you will get an additional $5 added to your account after your first deposit.
One of the key features of Acorns is round-ups. Rounds-ups are a very simple concept, but it can really add up over time. Basically, you link your accounts to Acorns and they monitor your purchase. Then, when you buy something for $4.68, they take that and round it up to an even $5.00 investing the $0.32 it took to do so. Now, it may not sound like a lot on one transaction, but it really adds up. On average last year, I invested over $50 a month using this round-up system. That is $50 every month that I saved and now will grow for me over time.
Investing $50 per month for 30 years at an average 6% interest rate would be over $50,000. Compound interest really is a beautiful thing.
On top of round-ups, Acorns is great for new investors as they have a sit-it and forget-it approach. Basically, you add money into Acorns, and you forget about. They invest it for you depending on the risk tolerance you set. Thus, if you have no clue or no interest in learning how to invest in the stock market, Acorns is perfect because they invest it for you.
Stash is an investment platform that gives you two primary investment options – Personal and Retirement.
Personal allows you to invest in a variety of stocks and ETFs. Now, this isn’t the full NASDAQ or NYSE. These are select stocks that are available on Stash. You can view the full list here. As far as ETFs go, these are also limited to those selected by Stash. Stash, however, does not manage any of these ETFs currently. You can view the full list here.
Retirement is an IRA offered by Stash that, of course, is meant for longer term investing. They offer tax optimization, curated investments, and even feature a ‘auto-stash’ service that allows you to simple ‘set it and forget it’. You can, however, also choose the ETFs or stocks that you are investing in with your Stash IRA.
One of the main benefits of Stash, in my opinion, is the ability to invest in fractional shares of a their stocks/ETFs. What that means is that if Apple is trading at $200 a share, you don’t have to buy an entire share. You can buy 10% of a share for $20. This can help diversify your portfolio if you are investing a smaller amount of money and just getting started.
If you are looking for a very solid platform that lets you invest in thousands of different stocks, ETFs, options, cryptocurrency, and over 250 global/international stocks that you can’t find on US exchanges, then Robinhood is for you. As you can tell, Robinhood is for someone who was very diverse options. You can see all of the asset types Robin supports here.
On top of all that, Robinhood has no fee trading meaning that you don’t have to worry about any fees when you are buying or selling any of the assets that are listed above. This alone gives Robinhood a huge leg-up on the competition.
I personally use Robinhood to invest in individual stocks o really believe in. In my opinion, Robinhood beats out Stash for individual stocks in every way. The only downside is that you cant buy fractional stocks on Robinhood. If you buy a stock with Robinhood, you must own one full share. This can be a big problem when you’re looking to buy something like Amazon.
Wealthfront is a sit-it and forget-it robo-investor. This means they have all kinds of algorithms working on your side to keep your portfolio balanced, tax optimized, and growing over time. Wealthfront has a few different products that they do this with.
First they have all of the retirement accounts you could want – Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, and 401(k) Rollover. I actually use Wealthfront myself for Traditional IRA retirement account. I just put a set amount in the account each month, and Wealthfront takes care of the rest investing in stocks, ETFs, and other assets that have grown for me over time.
On top of their retirement options, Wealthfront has 529 College Savings accounts as well as Individual, Joint, and Trust for those who just want a great place to put their money that will grow over time. All of these accounts have the same tax-loss harvesting and robo-investing features as the retirement accounts, and are a great way to sit-it and forget-it when it comes to investing.
Betterment has a solution for those who want more a sit-it and forget-it approach. Offering multiple different retirement options from IRAs to 401k rollovers, they are great place to stash and grow your retirement savings.
They also offer trust accounts, and a few different ‘personal’ investment products. For example, their savings account alternative is actually a bond investment account allowing you to get some tax advantages while earning more on your money.
On top of all that, Betterment also offer a general investment account that will allow you to add and grow money outside of a retirement account and the other options mentioned here. All of these options have specific advantages, but depending on the account, they offer tax loss harvest optimization, auto-portfolio rebalancing as well as dividend reinvesting, and smart rebalancing of your portfolio over time.
Overall, Betterment is great if you have a specific savings goal in mind. They’re entire process is designed to help you meet whatever savings/wealth goal you set.