Review: Acorns investing app

Score: 3/5 stars

The pros:

  • Packed with features
  • Low fees & great flexibility
  • Robust privacy safeguards

The cons:

  • Can be difficult to navigate the app

Capture.PNG
Credit: http://www.Acorns.com.au

Every little helps, they say. This couldn’t be truer when it comes to saving.

But in a world of PayPal & contactless payments, gone are the days of spare change rattling-around in your pocket just waiting to be dropped-into a piggy bank. Or perhaps one of those really cool over-sized bottles…

But the team over at Acorns thinks they’ve found a way to overcome this very 2017 problem. They’ve launched an app that links to your bank account and then invests your spare change into the stock market. Pretty cool, eh!

It’s been featured on Wired, Forbes, ABC News… and now Gen Y to FI! It’s not just the markets that are hitting all time highs :-/

Yeah, pretty cool… but how does it work?

The key feature of the app is how Acorns automatically rounds-up what you spend to the nearest dollar and transfers the cash from your bank account without you having to do a thing. You can also make manual deposits into your account and set recurring payments if you want to give your pot a boost.

When you set-up your profile you’re asked to select from 1 of 6 portfolio funds with varying degrees of risk/return. You can drill-down into which holdings the fund is invested in & change your portfolio selection easily from the ‘Settings’ tab in the app.

Found Money is one of the latest features, where brands will give you a ‘Bonus Round-up’ for shopping with them. Everything from Asos to Uber. I’ve not personally used this feature yet, but it’s a nice little addition.

What’s also great is that it’s super cheap to use Acorns – just $1.25p/m for balances of less than $5k.

And is it safe?

The app & websites are both password protected, as you’d expect, but the thorough verification process also gave me more confidence in using Acorns. There’s more in-depth details on their FAQ page if you want to find out more.

So, does it cut the mustard?

I’ve already saved just over $100 in 2 months, which is approximately $600 annualised. Now that’s nearly an extra month of Super contributions by doing absolutely nothing at all!

However, the app can be a little difficult to navigate at times and some of the features are novel at best. But the beauty of this app is that even if I never click on it again, Acorns will still keep diligently working-away in the background without me having to lift a finger.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Acorns app, or any other similar tools out there. Just post below or get in-touch via the Contact tab at the top of the page.

In the meantime, I’m going to leave you with a link to this super-trippy promo video they’ve posted on YouTube. Weird….

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Acorns Grow Australia Limited and have not received any direct financial benefit resulting from this blog post.

Net Worth Update #1: -$1,042

I’ve been in full-time work for 6 years and although I’ve made great progress in growing my income, I’m still pretty much at zero in terms of net wealth.

So with just half of the year left I’m getting my shit together; by the end of 2017 I’m aiming to have a net worth of positive $15k.

My strategy for 2017 won’t be to focus on growing my assets, but rather to reduce my liabilities (debts). This is how I’m going to do it:

  • Stop spending so much – reduce discretionary expenditure by 20% to fund savings growth;
  • Combine my small savings pots to pay-off my student loan early;
  • Work my ass off in work to hit my bonus targets.

Here’s my net worth report card:

net wealth june 17

CASH SAVINGS @ $10,704

A combination of cash in my Oz current, savings and family/joint accounts, plus a small top-up from my UK savings account.

PENSIONS @ $13,577*

Again, a combo of Oz & UK pots.  I hadn’t been paying into my UK pension for long before moving to Oz and my Oz pension will be larger by the end of 2017 as the Oz government requires employers to contribute nearly 10% as a minimum. How generous!

* Not inclusive of UK state pension

OTHER ASSETS @ $6,922

I’ve been experimenting with stock trading over the past 12 months using eToro. Over the year I’m up about $500-600. What stands-out is the importance of drip-feeding cash into a pot as this has accumulated from $0 to nearly $7k in no time at all.

I’ve also just started experimenting with the Acorns app. More to come on this…

CAR LEASE @ $19,460

In hindsight, this was a pretty stupid thing to do. When I moved to Oz 6 months ago I was caught-up in the romance of it all and got a Jeep. Now, this is utilising a tax deductible allowance via work and in my defence, it looks awesome! But yeah… pretty stupid.

 

jeep.jpg

STUDENT LOAN @ $11,477

I’ve been paying this down since graduating in 2010. I’m now in the home stretch & I’ll pay this off over the next few months.

OTHER LIABILITIES @ $1,330

Erm, another financial faux pas. A brand new iPhone 7 on contract at $70 p/m. Very clever…

TOTAL NET WORTH @ -$1,042

And that’s a wrap! The next post in this series will be in early August, where I’ll track my progress against each key area and see how I’m measuring-up to achieve my 2017 goal.

If you can’t wait until then for more net worth fun, head over to Budgets Are $exy. This guy has been tracking his progress for years & inspired me to start posting my own stats.

I’d also love to hear your thoughts on the Gen Y to FI blog & news about your own net worth adventures. You can post a reply below or drop me an email (genytofi@outlook.com).