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Stash Invest Review

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Stash Invest

An investing app, Stash Invest seeks to simplify stock-picking and trading. It does this in a number of ways, including narrowing the universe of investments to around 450 stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). It offers these options through an easy-on-the-eyes interface and making even high-priced stocks like Amazon and Apple accessible through fractional shares.

Of course, anyone can use Stash Invest, but it will probably appeal most to young investors. It has no minimum to buy investments, and its subscription fees are low and easy to understand ($1, $3 or $9 per month). Additionally, Stash Invest tries to streamline your finances by putting everything - your checking account, brokerage account, retirement account and debit card - all in one app. You're more likely to do this if you don't already have any of these accounts.

Though it's often compared to robo-advisors, Stash Invest is actually the opposite of one. Instead of using a proprietary algorithm to invest your money automatically, Stash Invest provides the tools and tips for you to learn how to choose investments. Its approach is not hands-off, but rather all hands-on.

Stash believes that since it’s your money, you should have control over what you invest in. This may seem daunting, especially for those who have never invested before, but the company offers the guidance you need as you venture into the world of investing.

Best for

Beginner investors looking for a hands-on experience; Investors who care about what they invest in.

Drawbacks

Stash helps you start investing on your own, but its ETF costs may run higher than other services.

Pricing: How Much Does Stash Invest Cost?

Option Name Management Fee Minimum Balance Features
Stash Invest $1 - $9 per month $0 Monthly flat fee, no asset-based pricing, mobile app access, first month free

Stash Invest

Management Fee
$1 - $9 per month
Minimum Balance
$0
Features
Monthly flat fee, no asset-based pricing, mobile app access, first month free

Stash Invest offers investors three subscription plans that come with monthly flat fees. This is unlike many robo-advisors, which instead charge fees based on account size. Stash Invest has no minimums for investing, no matter which account you choose. All three plans feature unlimited free trading and no add-on commissions. Each plan offers users personal investment accounts and free financial education, but the pricing and perks vary for each.

Stash Invest’s first plan, Stash Beginner, is great for new investors looking for low-cost investing options. The company only charges a monthly flat fee of $1, and you won’t have to pay trading or commission costs. The plan also gives users access to a debit account, automatic saving and investing tools, free financial education, “stock-back” rewards and personalized guidance.

The second plan, Stash Growth, charges investors a monthly flat fee of $3. Along with the perks the first plan offers, Stash Growth gives users tax benefits for retirement investing. Stash+, the final plan, comes with a $9 monthly flat fee. This plan, unlike the first two, includes investing accounts for two kids, a metal debit card with 2x Stock-Back™ and a monthly market insights report.

The company provides investment access to around 450 stocks and ETFs. An ETF is a tradeable, inexpensive type of fund that's become an extremely popular way to invest. The annual expense ratios of Stash's various ETF options range from 0.07% to 0.95%, with the average being about 0.295%. When compared to the ETF fees of many robo-advisors, which run from 0.10% to 0.25%, Stash’s fees are on the higher end.

The company also offers retirement options through its Roth IRA and traditional IRA accounts. Clients who choose either account will have access to all of Stash's stocks and ETFs. Both account types have no minimum, and they come with tax benefits. Like all IRAs, though, the maximum contribution is $6,000 a year for clients under the age of 50 and $7,000 for clients who are older than 50.

Stash’s Investing Strategy

When it comes to investing with Stash, you’re in control. The company's mantra is “invest in what you believe in.” With about 450 different stocks and ETFs to choose from, you have a range of options to find an investment fund that you care about. There is no minimum to begin investing with Stash.

The company primarily works through fractional shares, which allows for its low initial costs. This involves the app's buying a full share and splitting it up into smaller shares. So if it splits up the ownership of a $100 share, you can own a portion of it for any amount of money. Fractional shares allow you to invest in more and different funds, increasing your financial flexibility and portfolio diversification. It also smoothly transitions you into the investment world, rather than immediately jumping in and buying one high-priced share like, say, Amazon, which is more than $2,100 per share.

Stash Coffee

Stash Invest offers a retirement account option, Stash Retire, which follows the same investment model as Stash Invest. In Stash Retire, you’ll be able to invest money in a tax-advantaged account, meaning you won’t need to pay taxes until you withdraw the money if it's a traditional IRA. (With a Roth IRA, you pay taxes upfront, but no taxes on the earnings ever.) To avoid a penalty, though, you have to wait until you’re 59 ½ to touch the money.

You’ll need to use both Stash Invest and Stash Retire if you want to invest with a brokerage and retirement account.

Key Features

The company creates a complete hands-on investing experience for the user. It gives investing recommendations and tips, leaving you to do the rest.

It offers around 450 stocks and ETFs, which is more than many robo-advisors can provide. These ETFs are organized and renamed to better reflect their holdings. This renaming may help investors choose their investments and understand what they’re putting their money toward.

Stash Invest also offers Stash Debit. The option pairs a user’s Stash debit card with a zero-hidden-fee bank account. The account is also FDIC-insured with no minimum balance required.

Connected to the debit card is the app's Stock-Back rewards feature. Analyzes users’ spending habits on their debit cards, the company then gives you small fractions of stocks that correspond to the companies where you made purchases.

You'll also have access to partitions, Stash's free tool that helps users allocate their paycheck and plan for the future by tracking spending and savings. Users can partition their money into groups for "wants," "needs," "surprises" and even custom categories, making partitions a great way for users to get a better hold on their finances. 

Finally, if you have your paycheck direct deposited to your account, Stash Invest will give you access to your money two days early. So if you normally get paid on a Friday, you can pay bills and use the money that Wednesday prior to the Friday.

Who Is Stash Invest For

If you want a hands-on experience with investing, then this is the option is for you. Often, robo-advisors pride themselves on a creating a hands-off experience for users: they do all the investing and trading for you. But with this one, those decisions are in your hands.

The company provides comprehensive help and guidance for first-time investors. If you want to start investing but don’t know where to start, it teaches you how to choose investments, manage your portfolio and when to trade. This involved experience gives you a practical education in investing.

Stash is also great for long-term investors. It teaches you how to watch the market and be patient with your investments. This helps you get bigger returns in the long run.

With ETFs organized in a thematic fashion, the company encourages you to invest in what you care about. You’re able to further control where your money goes by investing in a selection of about 350 stocks too.

If you have more $25,000 in investable assets though, you may want to consider getting a human advisor instead. You can use SmartAsset's financial advisor matching tool to get linked to an advisor in your area who suits your needs.

How Stash Invest Works

Prospective Stash Invest customers can get started without having to worry about a minimum opening deposit to their account. You can also create an account online, though the actual investing is only done on the app. If you want to give it a try before committing, the first month is free.

You start by creating your profile. You provide information like your age and investment goals. This helps the company determine factors, like risk level, which affects your suggested investments. Risk levels act as an accurate gauge of your financial standing. They’re there to help you choose investments that are appropriate for your situation. There are three different risk levels: conservative, moderate and aggressive. You cannot manually change your risk level – you’ll have to alter your personal details and investment plan to do so.

Once your account is created, you can choose your first investment. Because the company uses fractional shares, you can begin investing with any amount of money. Investments are suggested based on your risk level. They’re divided into three categories: “I believe,” “I want” and “I like.” These categories are comprised of different, renamed ETFs to help you understand what’s in that investment.

The “I believe” category has investments that are driven by a specific cause, whereas the “I want” category has investments that align with your investing goals. The “I like” category has investments that are dedicated to things you enjoy.

Stash App

For each investment, the company details its risk level, performance history and the holdings that make up that mix. You can only add the suggested ETFs into your portfolio. This helps create an investment portfolio that works with your situation. The company also indicates if the portfolio isn’t diversified enough, which helps minimize your risk and maximize your returns. 

The last step is to fund your account and verify your identify. You can only use your checking account as the funding account. When money is transferred from your bank to Stash, there are no transfer fees. However, you’ll be subject to overdraft fees if the account does not have enough funds to cover the transfers. Once everything is verified, you’ll be able to start investing.

Overall, the company gives you hands-on control of investing. To help you make the best decisions, it has investing tips and guides on its app and website. With this guidance, it educates and prepares you for long-term investing.

What's the Catch

You have the freedom to invest in more than 75 ETFs. But the power to choose comes at a higher fee. Some of these ETFs have high annual expense ratios that reach as high as 0.95%. This is higher than the annual ETF fees of other robo-advisors, which usually go up to only 0.25%.

Its website also isn’t the most informative. Though it’s clean and has a neat interface, it doesn’t provide a lot of information upfront. It also provides an email address but not a contact phone number. Plus, when it comes to investing itself, there is no web access.

Competition: How Stash Invest Stacks Up

Acorns, another robo-advisor app, has similar rates to Stash. Like Stash, Acorns, offers both a savings and investing option. Acorns also tracks your purchases, rounds up the change and invests that spare change. Stash analyzes your spending habits to find categories with extra cash. Acorns’ approach to investing is hands-off, at a similar cost to Stash’s investing service.

Robo-Advisor Management Fee  Minimum Balance  Best For
Flat monthly fee between $1 and $9 $0
  • Beginner investors looking for a hands-on experience
  • Investors who care about what they invest in
 
  Flat monthly fee between $1 and $3 $0 to open, $5 to start investing
  • College students with little or no regular income
 

If you want to choose and manage your investments, Stash is the better option. Not only will you learn the ins and outs of investing, but you’ll also be better equipped for hands-on investing.

Bottom Line: Should You Use Stash Invest?

Stash Invest gives you control over your investments. For a low cost, it allows you to create your own investment portfolio, putting your money toward your personal interests. For those who have never invested before, it provides the necessary knowledge to help you become a long-term investor. If you want to invest and learn as you go, then this may be the right choice for you.

Tips to Help You Save for Retirement

  • If you’re investing primarily for retirement, you should first see how much more you need to save. SmartAsset's retirement calculator will help you estimate how your money will grow over time and how much more you need to sock away.
  • Stash Invest will help you start saving, but you can get more comprehensive expert guidance by working with a financial advisor. In addition to recommending investments, a planner can help you design a diversified portfolio that aligns with your goals and risk tolerance. Use SmartAsset's matching tool to find the right advisor for you.
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