Is It Worth My Time? – Stash Review
Is Stash legit? Among the new class of investing apps, our Stash Review attempts to shed some light on an interesting investment option.
These days the concept of investing money has become increasingly intimidating, understandably. There’s a massive amount of outlets to invest your money into and finding the right one to place your hard earned cash is frustrating.
Enter Stash Invest.
What is Stash? Founded in February of 2015, with the aim to simplify the investing process, Stash Invest is an opportunity for investors to ease into the stock market, using an accessible mobile app platform. The target users for this app are first-time/inexperienced investors with an interest in easing into investing with smaller amounts. Keep reading for our full Stash Invest Review.
How It Works
Upon signing up, users are asked to answer a few questions, a process that takes roughly two minutes. These questions identify the user as a conservative, moderate or aggressive investor.
Starting with a minimum investment of $5, investors are provided 30 themed offerings to choose from. These offerings are separated by risk tolerance and investor interests.
Here are some examples of these themed offerings:
- Clean & Green – Investments centered around creating a better future for our planet.
- Sample Holdings: Electric Power Development Co, Meridian Energy LTD, Xinyi Solar Holdings Ltd, Vestas Wind Systems
- American Innovators – For individuals interested in investing in tech companies.
- Sample Holdings: Apple Inc, Facebook Inc, Microsoft Inc, Google Inc, Cisco Systems Inc
- Enjoy Yourself – Centered around investments in entertainment/travel companies.
- Sample Holdings – Delta Airlines, CBS Corp, MGM Resorts International, Las Vegas Sands Corp, Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.
Behind the scenes, these themed packages are actually ETFs that are controlled by popular investment firms like BlackRock, Vanguard and Charles Schwab.
Stash provides a pleasant user interface that clearly shows you what you’re investing in, vastly simplifying investing. Taking a microsavings approach, the app invites you to invest small amounts rather than saving up hundreds of dollars ahead of time.
What Are the Fees?
Knowing the fees involved is crucial when choosing any investment service. Similar to its service, the fees are straightforward and easy to understand.
These fees are meant to get inexperienced investors to try investing without a significant financial commitment. Many have noted in other Stash Invest Reviews, that these fees are reasonable. As users expand their investment portfolio in Stash, they change over to the 0.25% annual fee upon reaching $5,000.
Steps to Get Started
- Get Stash on your device
- Start by learning more on their site
- Download the Stash app on your Android or iOS device
- Create a profile
- Follow through the Stash profile guide
- You will answer contact questions as well as identify your risk tolerance
- This process will take approximately 2 minutes
- Pick your first investment
- Using the answers from the survey, Stash offers suggestions for your first investment
- The offerings are divided up into three different risk categories:
- These are ETFs with names like Delicious Dividends, Small but Mighty and Blue Chips
- Attach your funding account
- During this step, you link to your checking account through one of two ways:
- Enter your bank username and password
- Use a micro-deposit verification process
- During this step, you link to your checking account through one of two ways:
- Identity Verification
- Complete requested verification (required by law)
The Pros and Cons of Stash Invest
- First and foremost, the primary advantage to Stash is its ease of use (especially compared to other investment apps). It can turn anyone into an investor in under 30 minutes. The entire process from sign-up to investing, is logical and simplified.
- Adding additional investments is simple and small amounts can be invested on a regular basis. This allows the user to quickly diversify their current portfolio or add funds to current offerings.
- It enforces the investment methodology of buy, hold and add. Meaning, it encourages users to select offerings and commit. This allows for long term growth and eliminates the stress of managing when to buy and sell stocks.
- With offerings split under headers such as I Believe, I Want and I Like, users can invest in markets that they like, such a tech companies, or things they believe in, such as clean energy.
- Reasonable fees that encourage first-time investors to try out investing.
- Stash focuses on ETFs rather than individual stocks. Offerings are simplified and easily packaged in this way, but it limits personalized investment choices.
- Account fees are charged to the checking account on file rather than from investments. It can be inconvenient to see funds exiting your checking account rather than managing such activity within the app.
- Investing in your interests may be a pro, but it’s also a con. Following your passions in making investment decisions isn’t necessarily the best idea, yet this mentality is a significant part of Stash’s set up.
- The fees ($1 under $5000, 0.25% over $5000) aren’t intimidating, certainly a pro as your investments grow, but as noted in other Stash reviews, for starting/small investments such fees can be counterproductive to growth.
An honest Stash review wouldn't be complete without discussing all of the services that Stash offers. One of the newest services they offer are retirement investment opportunities.
One of my original cons of Stash (and remains an issue for similar apps such as Acorns) was that they only offer taxable accounts. Using a taxable account is great as a supplemental investment strategy, but it certainly isn't how to invest for retirement. Many popular online stock brokers such as Betterment and Wealthfront offer a variety of retirement account options, such as traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs. Using these types of accounts are the proper way to start investing money for retirement.
Stash recently introduced Stash Retire to accommodate these needs. Stash Retire now allows users already investing with Stash, to add an additional retirement portion to their account (a taxable account and a retirement account). This retirement account is a Roth IRA and setting it up is similar to setting up the app. You will choose between two investment options for your account, which are as follows:
- Recommended Investment Mix
- Conservative, Moderate, Aggressive
- Consist of stocks, bonds and cash
- Park My Cash
- Bond fund that generates monthly dividends to maintain initial investment
After setting up your investment choice, you'll have access to adding any of your favorite ETFs that are available in your Stash Invest account, to your Stash Retire portfolio. The minimum to open a Stash retirement account is $15 and the fee is $2 per month for accounts up to $5,000 and 0.25% for accounts over $5,000. Although Stash may not offer the variety of account types as Betterment or Wealthfront, the fact that they now offer the Roth IRA accounts for iOS and Android users, gives Stash the competitive edge (at least in account options) over similar app-based investment services.
The primary competition for Stash, among millennial oriented investment apps, are Acorns and Digit. All three apps offer easy-to-use interfaces and each cater to a particular need.
Whereas Stash allows the user to invest in and maintain a variety of portfolios, Acorns has the user pick between 5 investment categories ranging from Conservative to Aggressive. From there the user doesn't have to do any maintenance, as Acorns works by rounding up all debit/credit card purchases to the nearest dollar and investing that spare change into the selected investment portfolio. Therefore, the Acorns app is much more hands-off than Stash. Check out our Acorns Review to learn more.
Digit, on the other hand, isn't an investment service in the way that Acorns and Stash are. Digit works by analyzing your spending habits, and then pulling money from your checking account and placing it into a savings account based on that information. Once in the savings account, that money isn't actually invested (nor does is accrue interest). It is simply a free savings tool.
There are a variety of app-based investment services that can meet almost any unique need. Though, if you are looking for a more involved (yet simple) interaction with your investment portfolio, Stash is a great choice.
Is Stash Invest Worth It?
To summarize this Stash Review, it is a great way for first-time/inexperienced investors to learn how to invest, especially if they're not sure what to invest in. Among the millennial-targeted, simple investing apps that have rose in recent years, Stash holds its own. Offering a simple and creative user interface, users can browse through their portfolio with ease while getting statistics on their account growth.
Not without its faults, Stash Invest does have some shortcomings. The process of investing may be a little too easy, as selection in independent stocks isn’t available. In addition, being led by your interests rather than research when investing can ultimately lead to poor investments.
If you are a looking for investments for beginners, Stash is a great choice. It streamlines the investment process and takes out the stress, by showing you things to invest in. Even compared the best investments apps, such as the Acorns app, it holds its own. If you are a seasoned investor, perhaps stock brokers like TD Ameritrade or Etrade are a better fit.
Whether you’re looking to try investing or expand your independent stock portfolio, Stash is at least worth a look.
Now that you've read our Stash App Review click here to try it out!