How to Grow Wealth With Your Spare Change! Acorns!

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Acorns Your Way to Wealth – With An Online Piggy Bank!

I am going to use this app to fund my family’s European vacation 3 years from now.

Imagine what this app could mean to your kids if they started saving money at their young age?

If you haven’t heard of this easy way to save money make sure to read this post about a phone app called Acorns. This is more than an Acorn App Review. It’s a testimonial to the upside impact it could have on your life.

I heard about Acorns around Thanksgiving and have been using ever since. The app is an online piggy bank with extra bells and whistles.

How it works:

It rounds up and automatically saves the change whenever you spend money on you’re the debit or credit cards. For example, if you use your debit or credit card to buy a $1.30 cup of coffee, they round up and put the $0.70 into your Acorns online investment account.  If you have an even $1 transaction, it puts a full dollar into your account.  The app keeps track of your round ups and when they exceed $5, it pulls the roundup amount from your checking account and deposits into an investment account created for you made up of a diversified portfolio of investments.

This is a screen shot of my round ups:

This is a screen shot from my iphone showing my account value after 21 days. I may hit the $100 in my first month!

 

There are three ways to turbo charge your account:

  1. Create a multiplier that would automatically multiple your round ups by 2x, 3x or 10x.
  2. You can also create an automatic weekly deposit into your account
  3. Make a one-time deposit any time by simply clicking a button on the app.

 

The app has a feature that projects the 40 year future value of your account based on the money you are putting into the account. It will also let you see a projected amount if you set up an auto deposit amount.  What a difference just $5/week makes!

Projected if I saved $5/week.

 

You can set up one time investments so that anytime you want to add money to your account it’s as easy as clicking a button. It might be fun to add $10 when you brown bag it to work as a way of saving what you would have spent on lunch. You can also set up weekly automatic additions to your account for as little as $5 a week.  The app shows you how much money your will have in 40 years based on how on the pace of your savings.

You can also withdraw money with the click of a button. Keep in mind that since you would be taking money out of an investment account that investments will be sold to raise the money. Those investment sales will either mean a gain or loss for you. If there are gains they will be taxable.

How to set up Acorns account:

Step 1. You download the free app on your phone or tablet.

Step 2. You create an id and password using your email address and password. One of the things I like is the double-authentication for when I log in. That means when I click on the app I have to click in my app specific password.

Step 3. The next step is to link your debit and credit cards to your account.

Step 4. Answer a few investment profile questions to determine how your Acorn money will be invested.

Step 5. Your money is invested in a portfolio of low cost Exchange Traded Funds (link to my ETF article).  Acorns takes the money from your checking account when the round ups exceed $5. It will take multiple round ups for you to add up to $5. Once you are over $5, it will pull from your bank and add and invest into your Acorns account.

 

Investment Options & Portfolios

Round-ups are moved into your Acorns account in $5.00 increments. So if the value of your last six round-ups is $3.65, that money will remain in your bank account until you’ve got another $1.35 in round-ups. Once that $5.00 threshold has been met. The money will flow into your Acorns account and get invested in your portfolio.

There are five portfolios available to you which range from Conservative to Aggressive:

  1. Conservative
  2. Moderately Conservative
  3. Moderate
  4. Moderately Aggressive
  5. Aggressive

When creating your Acorns account, you’ll be asked a series of personal questions. Based on your answers a portfolio is chosen for you.

To change portfolios, select ‘Settings’ from the app menu, then choose ‘My Acorns Portfolio.’ Swipe left and right to see your options.

 

 

Other Features

Found Money and Grow are two features I want to point out, and are both relatively new to Acorns.

Found Money is a shopping portal that will add money to your Acorns account when you shop and buy with retailers that Acorns has partnered with. Acorns has several well-known partners, and while I’ve not personally used this service, it does look interesting.

How Acorns Makes Their Money

Creating an account is free and you pay nothing if you have an account balance of $0, so there is no risk at all in signing up. If your Acorns account has a balance of less than $5,000 the fee is $1.00 per month. If your account has more than $5,000 then the fee is 0.25% per year.

FYI: Students (under the age of 24) can use the service for free if they register using their .edu email address.

$1.00 per month isn’t going to break anybody’s bank, but when you look at those fees as a percentage of your account balance, Acorns can be relatively expensive for some. For example, if you’ve only got $10.00 in your account then that seemingly small $1.00 fee becomes a 10% fee.

The 0.25% fee for account of $5,000 or more isn’t great, but isn’t terrible either. Acorns wasn’t designed to be your main investment vehicle, so as long as you’re using the service as a way to make your own savings more efficient by capturing your spare change, then I’m okay with the fees.

What About Security?

Acorns provides bank-level security on their servers. Which are also protected with physical security. The website and app are secured with 256-bit encryption and, in the unlikely event that something does happen, rest easy knowing that your money is SIPC insured for up to $500,000.

For good measure, your account has multi-factor authentication and automatic logouts should you leave your account open for too long without any activity.

 

In Summary

I’m infatuated with Acorns. I understand that it’s not going to make me rich, but a year from now I might take make round ups and use it for Christmas shopping or vacation spending money. If I leave it alone and let it grow, in a few years I might be able to use it to take my family to Europe. That’s my goal!

My teenagers (18 & 19 year olds) have the app and started using it last week. So very excited about what their accounts will grow to over the years. Imagine how much you would have if you had been doing this 10 years ago.

 

Click here to get your Acorns account

Special Thanks to TY from GetRichQuick for parts of this review.

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