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Acorns: My Favorite App For Saving Money

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Thursday, 11 January 2018

Clint Haynes

Did you set a goal to try and save more money this year? If you’re like most people, this is a recurring goal that continues to rear its ugly head time and time again.

Let’s face it, saving money can be tough. Spending money is much easier and way more fun… hey, I’m a financial advisor, and I’m in total agreement.

However, as much as we dread putting some money away for a rainy day — or for whatever reason, we need to do it. Some of us are good at, while others are not so good.

Many of us take the strategy of saving what’s leftover at the end of every month, but quickly find out there isn’t anything left over to save at the end of the month — and this continues month after month until you completely forget altogether.

Some of us are good at budgeting and can automate savings to go into an account the day after a paycheck hits our checking account. I wish it were this easy for everybody, but it just isn’t — no matter how much I try to educate or make it easy as possible — it’s just hard to stick to the plan.

So what are you to do if you’re not the best saver in the world, but you know you need to do it (this goes for good savers too)? Well, I’ve been testing a financial app over the past few months, and I think it could serve as a pretty awesome solution.

What is Acorns?

Acorns is based on what’s called micro investing. Literally, pennies are transferred from your checking and credit card accounts on every purchase and automatically moved into an investment account. All Acorns does is round up your purchases to the next dollar and sends that money to an account, which is then invested according to your comfort level — you’d be surprised at how fast it adds up.

The app can be downloaded to your phone, but you also have access to a website if you prefer a bigger screen. Either way, it’s pretty easy to set up and start saving.

How Does it Work?

The first step in the process is to connect your cards. For me, I connected my credit card and debit card. Once your cards are connected, you’re pretty much ready to go.

However, you do have some other options you can choose to implement besides just rounding up to the next dollar for your savings.

  • You can choose a multiplier. This just means you can 2x, 3x, 10x, etc., the amount of the money that is rounded up. For me, I went with the 2x roundup.
  • You can also choose to have a certain amount of money saved from your linked checking account on a regular basis. It could be any amount of money on a regular basis. For me, I tested out $20 a week, and it worked out seamlessly. Like I said, though, you can basically set up any recurring amount for any timeframe.
  • You also have the option of setting up one-time transfers as well.
  • They have some great partnerships with their Found Money® program too. When you shop at these retailers — which many of them you probably do already — they will also invest in your Acorns account as long as you’re using a card that’s linked.

The great thing with all of these options is you can start and stop them anytime you want. While I understand they have to allow this option, please don’t abuse it. I know from experience that once people stop saving, they tend to forget to start back up again.

Once you have all your options set up, that’s it. Now, you just go about your life and spending as you always have, but now, you’ll also be saving and investing money at the same time. It’s so incredibly smart but so incredibly easy.

How Do I Access My Account?

You can access and view your account through either the phone app or the Acorns website. Everything is updated in real-time, so you can always see how much you have along with your rate of return.

You can view all of your transactions, make changes to your round-ups or savings options, change investment portfolios, transfer money to your checking account, and much more all from the app or site. I’ve found the user interface to be quite friendly and easy to navigate.

What are my Investing Options?

When you initially signup, you will have some options as to how you want to invest the savings when it is transferred in from your round-ups. You can be as aggressive or conservative as you want.

If you are just trying to build some savings, then I would highly suggest the conservative portfolio. You could take more risk, but if this is money that’s going to be used as an emergency account, then you should go the conservative route.

All said there are five different portfolios to choose from within Acorns. You can move from one to another at any time. However, when setting up your account, I would recommend setting a goal for what this money is being saved for and then determine which portfolio is best for you.

If it’s just to build up a savings type account for emergencies, then I would look at the conservative account. If it’s something in the 3+ year range, then you might look at taking a little more risk in the moderately conservative to aggressive accounts.

How Much Does It Cost?

If you know anything about financial planners, then you know we don’t like to spend a lot of money. And, setting up an account on Acorns won’t cost you much.

So, what is that investment; $1 per month. That’s right, all it costs you to save money — that you should be saving anyway — is $1 per month. With the ease of use, the amount of value and, most importantly, the savings it will generate, Acorns is probably worth many multiples of that on a monthly basis.

My Personal Experience

Take a look at the video above to learn a little bit more about my own personal experience with Acorns, as well as get an inside look of what the user side looks like when you get signed up. For me personally, I really just wanted to try it out to see if it was something I could endorse and recommend to my clients and followers who struggle with saving money.

It’s been a great experience for me so far. The setup was very easy, and the interface is quite user-friendly. I like the flexibility it offers, and I really haven’t noticed the round-ups affecting my current spending habits or lifestyle.

It’s pretty amazing how such small increments — that you really don’t notice — can add up to such a nice amount of money on a monthly basis.

I have definitely been pleasantly surprised. If you struggle with saving money, then this is one app I would definitely look a little deeper into as I think it just might surprise you as well.

How to Get Signed Up

As far as how to get signed up, I’ve included a few links or you just click the button below. I think you’ll find it pretty easy and, most importantly, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised as well. If you do get signed up, definitely let me know your feedback and I’d love to get your thoughts after you’ve saved for a month or two. Best of luck on your savings journey!

This is a post from Clint Haynes, a Certified Financial Planner® in Lee’s Summit, MO. He is also the founder and owner of NextGen Wealth. You can learn more about Clint at the website NextGen Wealth.

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About the author

Clint Haynes

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Let’s start with the fun stuff. I am married to my best friend, Christa. We live in Lee’s Summit, MO and I grew up right down the road in Raymore. Christa grew up in Wichita and crazy enough I actually knew her parents before I knew her. It’s a long story that I won’t tell here, but feel free to ask me about it if we ever meet — it’s a good one.

I’m a complete craft beer dork and have been making — or at least attempting to make — my own beer since about 2014. Christa and I love to travel and you can count on us hitting up a few of the local breweries on just about every vacation. I also love to golf and as I write this my goal is to get to a single digit handicap. Hopefully, by the time you read this I’ve made it there. So, now that you know a little about the personal and fun stuff, let’s get to know a little bit more about me professionally and how I got to where I am today.

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