Acorns App Review: 2021
After the last year that most of us have had, the importance of investing for the future (and in preparation for a rainy day) has never been clearer.
Unfortunately, too many people have no idea where to start. And that lack of knowledge and confidence in investing can result in a lot of us doing nothing at all.
That’s where Acorns strives to come in. This Acorns app review can help you decide whether it’s the right financial and investing platform for you.
Table of Contents
Acorns is an investment app that takes the guesswork out of investing for you. It allows you to start building a nest egg with micro-investments that won’t hurt your wallet — or your head.
For people who generally have trouble saving or those who don’t know where to start, Acorns makes the whole process simple, seamless, and automated.
Acorns: How It Works
“Acorns” isn’t just a randomly chosen, mostly meaningless business name. In fact, the moniker is a metaphor for what the company helps you do — squirreling acorns (in this case, money) away for winter (your future).
And that is how the app works. It helps its customers save small amounts at a time (tiny acorns) rather than forcing you to commit to making big investments you may not otherwise have the money for.
The thought process is simple: small investments made over time add up quicker than you might think. But doing it this way is far less stressful than trying to come up with a big chunk of change.
And quite honestly, it’s more feasible for most people, which means even those who think they aren’t in a financial position to begin investing yet (something it’s easy to convince yourself of when you’re otherwise living paycheck to paycheck) can start storing those acorns away.
Microinvesting and Spare Change
Acorns works by helping you invest with every purchase you make. If you spend $10.50 on lunch, Acorns rounds that amount up and invests the additional $.50 for you. Drop $3.75 on a cup of coffee? That leftover quarter is going to find its way into your Acorns account.
The rounded-up change from your purchases sits in a virtual account and is invested for you on the timeline you set — daily, weekly, or monthly.
You can even set your investments to manual if you prefer, allowing you to go in and turn your change into one-time investments as you deem fit.
Though to be fair, the automatic investment option is one of the biggest benefits that Acorns has to offer.
If you don’t have to think about it, those investments are far more likely to be made.
Today, Wealthsimple manages $5 billion in savings and investments for approximately 175,000 customers.
The wealth management platform initially provided a robo-advisor service but has since grown into a full investing and banking service, offering an online brokerage, hybrid bank account, crypto trading, and a tax-filing service. Wealthsimple customers can access these tools through a sleek mobile app, available on iOS and Android or through their online interface.
Acorns: Fees and Pricing
- Lite: At a rate of $1 per month ($12 per year), a Lite account allows you to set aside your spare change for recurring, automated investments.
- Personal: Spend $3 a month ($36 per year) and you get everything the Lite account offers plus an all-in-one bank account app with checking accounts, mobile deposits, ATM access, and a metal debit card. The Acorns Personal tier also helps you to set up and manage your retirement account with either a Roth, traditional, or SEP IRA.
- Family: For $5 a month ($60 per year), you can get your kids started on saving early, teaching them the financial lessons that you may have had to wait until adulthood to start figuring out for yourself.
- Invest: Offered through all three tiers, Acorns Invest helps you to set your spare change aside and automatically invest it for the future. You gain access to hundreds of investment articles written by finance experts, and you can even earn bonus investments through a variety of money partners.
- Later: Available in the Personal and Family plans, Later helps you establish and pay into a retirement plan. This product walks you through how to set and meet goals to save for retirement, updating you as you go on how you are doing in the achievement of those goals.
- Spend: Also available through the Personal and Family plans, Acorns Spend is an all-in-one banking hub with chequing, ATM access, mobile deposits, and built-in investment and retirement accounts.
- Early: Limited to the Family account, Acorns Early helps you to establish investment accounts for your kids, and you can have as many as you want for no additional cost. You can also access family financial advice and learn how to save on your taxes with these investments in mind.
Acorn App Pros & Cons
This Acorns investment app review would not be complete without a list of the pros and cons to consider before signing up.
Pros: The Good Stuff
Simple to set up and use
Automated investments help you to save without lifting a finger
By making small change investments, you won’t even notice the money that’s being put away
Helps establish the habit of saving
You only need $5 to start saving and investing — no high minimum balance requirements
Provides access to educational financial content
You can earn additional perks such as bonus investments
The Family plan may help your kids build good habits for the future
Cons: The Not So Good Stuff
For some people, the monthly fees may be steep in comparison to the amount being invested — most investment accounts charge an account management fee based on a percentage of your overall investments, which generally works out to be less than the Acorns flat-rate fees
$50 per exchange-traded fund (ETF) to transfer your investment portfolio (again, generally more expensive than you would otherwise find)
Limited portfolio options compared to what you would have access to through a traditional investment firm
Instead of connecting with human investment advisors in a real-time setting, investments are made by robo advisors working on your behalf)
There is no tax-loss harvesting, which would be offered at most traditional investment firms
Our Final Thoughts
We like Acorns for new or reluctant investors who have a hard time putting money aside and reminding themselves to save.
The automated options make investing a process that requires very little thought or effort on the part of the user, and that can be great for those who might otherwise spend simply because the money is in their account.
That said, the fees associated with Acorns are much higher than you would find if you took a more traditional investment approach, especially because most Acorns users are not going to be investing enough to make the flat fees financially competitive.
The limited portfolio options and lack of access to investment advisors also make Acorns a less desirable option for more advanced investors who want a hand in where their money is going and how it is being invested.
You could get lower fees and a higher return on your investments by working with more traditional investment firms. But that would also require effort and forethought on your part, something most Acorns users simply don’t want (or know-how) to commit to.
So, if Acorns can get you saving when you otherwise wouldn’t, and if it can help you to start some new financial habits you otherwise might not, great! This is the app for you.
But if you’re ready to take a more proactive approach to your financial future, there are better options out there to get started with.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, Acorns fees are based on monthly subscription tiers. These fees are flat rates regardless of how much you invest, and they run from $1 to $5 monthly depending on which tier you select.
Acorns encrypts and protects all your data just as any financial institution would. Your money and information is as safe with the app as it is with your bank.
Acorns is great for new investors who don’t know how to start investing, those who don’t want to take the time to establish more traditional investment accounts, or those who are intimidated by the idea of having to invest large amounts at once.