Just imagine the American dream – laying around all day, doing nothing, and collecting fat dividend income. Sounds reasonable, right? Well, that’s a little bit of psychology there for you – if you’re young enough and tech-savvy enough, this is completely achievable. Thanks to smartphones connecting our lives more than ever, now is quite possibly the best time ever to keep track of your finances.
Investing apps are all the rage for finance-savvy people, old and young alike. Keeping on top of your finances is important, and these apps serve to help not only that one purpose but also make you wealthier. These apps are for both nervous first-time investors and experienced investors alike. And the best part is that every single one of these apps is available on both the App Store and the Android Play Store. Some of these investing services allow for a web browser, but others are strictly mobile device only.
While not an actual investing app itself, Mint is incredibly important in keeping track of your investments. Mint allows you to construct an overall financial picture, which includes money in your savings/checking account, credit card debt, investments, and even tracking down things like your PayPal account. Mint also serves to construct budgets, which helps to keep your finances tighter than ever. I’d go so far as to call Mint necessary if you choose to use any of the following investing apps.
Mint is also run by Intuit, who runs services like Quickbooks and TurboTax. Mint will automatically allow for a ton of data to port over to either service, and can help save tons of time when February rolls around and tax season takes off.
Acorns is a truly unique investment app – rather than make the user do some research and wisely plan their investments, Acorns lets the user place their money in the care of Nobel Prize-winning economist Harry Markowitz. Acorns works by “investing the change” – users link their accounts, load up a certain amount of cash, and the rest happens like a well-oiled machine. Users can designate how much they want to round up. For example, I have my personal round-up set to every $.50, so if I spent $2.36 somewhere, that purchase is rounded up to $2.50. The remaining $.14 is invested into my portfolio, which I have designated as “conservative.”
Users can change their portfolios, allowing for conservative, guaranteed growth, or maybe instead going after an aggressive approach and trying to claim as many gains as possible in a short period of time. Your portfolio is updated constantly, allowing you to see how much you gain or lose in real-time. Unfortunately, Acorns does charge a monthly fee – if your account is under $1,000, it’s a $1 per month fee. Anything over $1,000 is a percentage fee, typically no greater than .1%. Acorns is available to use on your mobile device and web browser.
Stock Market Simulator
While this app is not able to make you an actual legal tender, it’s a great tool for those looking to take their destiny into their own hands. The Stock Market Simulator App allows for a user to “play along” using an imaginary $10,000. He or she invests this $10,000 into a wide portfolio of stocks, and the market is updated using real-time data. This allows for you to see just how wise you are with the stock market, or maybe if it’s something that you should totally stay away from. This is recommended solely for new investors, or for experienced investors with a really long flight. Unfortunately, the app I’m referring to is for mobile devices only, but other simulators do exist online that just don’t feel as complete as this one.
SigFig is more geared towards seasoned investors with plenty of capital ready to invest. Upon sign-up, users fill out a risk profile questionnaire, select a personalized investment plan, then choose their method of funding. Investments are compiled into one dashboard screen, which is great for checking all of your accounts at once. If you are a more green investor, SigFig also offers a proprietary “investment engine,” which gives users advice and tracks stocks based on how well (or poor) they perform. SigFig is free for the first $10,000, but after that, there is a monthly fee that is a percentage based on your return. One big thing to note is that the SigFig brokerage will only keep a history that goes back to three years, while others offer the norm of five to 10 years.
Robinhood is geared towards new investors and experienced investors alike. While new investors may find the interface easy to use, Robinhood ultimately tosses its users out into the cold, desolate wasteland that is investment. However, Robinhood is the most user-friendly when it comes to picking out specific stocks and monitoring it. Robinhood will allow for a user to trade in a pre-existing portfolio, if they already have one, and receive the stock all under the Robinhood brokerage.
Outside of that, Robinhood allows for its users to do a lot of significant functions with just the click of a button. This includes cashing out, selling stock, buying stock, and more. Robinhood typically runs refer-a-friend deals, where a referred friend will receive a specific stock share and so will you. These are never any significant shares, like say Amazon or Apple, but instead are cheaper shares like Snapchat, Instagram, or any others. Robinhood can be managed from a dashboard in a web browser.
Motif Explorer uses a series of networks, some of which are computer nodes, in order to clearly determine what is the best investment move. The company takes this information and builds portfolios, named “motifs,” based on related stocks and market trends. Examples include green technology, housing companies, and a lot more. Unfortunately, Motif Explorer will charge a $9.95 commission every month for your portfolio. Your purchase is a required minimum of $250, but comes with 30 stocks and Electronic Transfer Funds, or ETFs. Motif Explorer is not particularly about picking and choosing your own funds, but rather going with what is scientifically proven to work. This is what makes it more investor-friendly. Motif Explorer is not available in a web browser dashboard, and can only be used with the application.
While lacking in any features that can help guide new investors, TD Ameritrade does have one specific function that makes it stand out from the crowd. TD Ameritrade requires a user to invest $1,000 into stocks, of which they are granted some recommendations and suggestions. Users are connected to an advisor, who serves to inform a group of people with similar socioeconomic profiles. However, the most important feature is that the TD Ameritrade has the Snapstock feature. This allows users to take a picture of a barcode, or an item that can be identified easily, and find out who makes that product. The company that makes the product will then have their stock information shown, including company name, ticker symbol, stock quote, as well as news related to the company and economic charts. The TD Ameritrade app can be used on a web browser, but only the proprietary Snapstock app can be used on mobile devices.
Bloomberg is aimed more towards seasoned investors, but is such a source of information. Real-time financial news and stories are posted every hour, as well as stock tickers for major and minor exchanges. Bloomberg also has the good fortune of showing every single stock market in the world (not just the NASDAQ, which is what most of the apps listed above use). Although Bloomberg does not allow for stock exchanges or other brokerage functions, keeping up-to-date on any happenings in the stock market is crucial for achieving the American Dividend Dream.