Make no bones about it: saving money is not as easy as it sounds. We live in a world that facilitates consumerism, a world that, in the words of Marxist scholar Fredric Jameson, shows “a permanent industrial background which has come to resemble that of nature itself”. In other words, we are surrounded by a universe of machines and machine products, rife with brand-names, commercial products, and pieces of spiritualized matter.
We lead luxurious private lives that stand beside others “like closed monads behind the doors of (…) private apartments”. To fill up these privileged compartments of middle-class living, we willingly, and somewhat unknowingly, spend our hard-earned dollars on much that we don’t need or even want. And we seem to do it out of reflex: without knowing it, your checking account is suddenly in the single digits. Like clockwork, you wait on the next paycheck.
And it’s hard to break this cycle, for it is so inborn. Saving applications like Acorns and Stash help you saving dollars and manage your investments. A mix of robot-advisor, finance application, and automated, saving, both Acorns and Stash help the average consumer get back on the track. Managing your money has never been easier.
Robo-advisors are responsible for an uptick in the number of Americans investing their money in the stock market. By keeping things simple and automatic, robo-advisor platforms have taken the middleman (stock brokers) out of the equation and link average investors directly to the world’s markets.
No longer do you need to be financially savvy to reap the rewards of investing. In fact, robo-advisors and like platforms take all the guess work away by creating perfect asset allocations based on onboard questionnaires.
Both Acorns and Stash make things even easier. You won’t find some of the advanced features offered by other robo-advisors such as Betterment, Wealthfront, or SoFi Invest, but what you will find is a way to automatically invest your money through mindless savings.
But which of these two applications is better for the average consumer? Acorns vs. Stash is a tough contest. Let’s look at some of their respective features in order to clear the picture.
Acorns – Turning Hedonism into Profits
Acorns was founded in 2012 by father and son duo Walter Wemple Cruttenden III and Jeffrey James Cruttenden. In an effort to promote passive, incremental investing, Acorns has a novel approach that sees users automatically investing their small change. What Acorns does is round up every purchase you make to the nearest dollar; that “rounded” amount is then automatically invested for you.
- Acorns Fees: even in this department, Acorns keeps things simple. The cost is $1 per month for the standard taxable investment account, $3 per month for the more advanced Acorns Later, and $5 per month for Acorns Early, a custodial account for children.
- Acorns Invest: considered the application’s flagship feature, Acorns Invest comes with adjustable settings. By setting your personal risk tolerance, round-up amounts, and reoccurring investments, one can passively invest with freedom.
- Acorns Mobile App: Modest Money’s Bob Haegele was especially pleased with how Acorns looks and performs on his mobile phone, citing its “beautiful design” and usability. What’s more, Acorns mobile edition packs all the features of its desktop counterpart.
Stash – Making the Market Available
Stash was born out of the desire to make the market available to all types and creeds, regardless of wallet size. Founded in 2015, Stash offers both a desktop and mobile variant, and makes investing extremely easy.
- Stash Stock-Back: like Acorns, all purchases are rounded up to the nearest dollar and that amount is deposited into your portfolio. Where Stash differs is the “stock-back” feature, which rewards all purchases placed on the Stash debit card with fractional shares in an electronically traded fund (ETF) or stock.
- Stash Fees: stash fees are tiered and easy to understand. A regular brokerage account runs $1 a month, whereas IRA accounts (regular and Roth) are $3 a month. Custodial accounts are $9 a month.
- Educational Content: Stash is not content to passively invest for you, but wants to turn you into an educated investor who knows the ins and outs of the marketplace. While portfolios are pre-built, Stash goes to lengths to explain the dynamics of each asset group.
Acorns vs. Stash – And the Winner Is…
Superficially speaking, there is little that separates the two. Acorns vs. Stash is like a lightweight clash between twin brothers who were raised in slightly different households or environments.
Acorns is probably the more automatic of the two. It has an automatic rebalancing feature which Stash lacks, and it’s application’s interface is tailored for pure beginners.
Stash, on the other hand, offers greater investment diversity. Due to its wide range of ETFs and stocks, Stash feels more like a bona fide robo-investor.
Either application will have you saving money in no time. We think these are both great platforms for those looking for a kind of passive, hands-free investing option. Get started today and don’t let that spare change go to waste: Acorns or Stash will do all the dirty work for you.