My first step into stock market started with the investing app Acorns. I didn’t really understand it other than it rounded up my debit card purchases and used the difference to invest the loose change. It has been almost a year since I started and have a pretty good handle on their trading platform. Acorns charges $1 a month for their investing services that comes directly out of your Acorns account. That is a high percentage at first but over time it is barely noticeable and worth it if you want to be a passive investor.

First things first. After you link your bank or credit card you set up you risk tolerance. This will balance your allocations across different types of ETF’s based the the professionals at Acorns’s assessment. After that you don’t have to do anything again. A guy I work with actually deleted the app and doesn’t plan on looking at it until his oldest son is a senior in high school. The ETF’s can be invested on your own and you technically don’t need Acorns to do it. However, as a part time investor with limited income it is a great way to own a spread of high grade ETFs from Vanguard and iShares.

The way your money is invested is based on theoretical cash transactions. Pretend you went to the grocery store and bought $19.50 worth of groceries. You paid with a 20 would receive $.50 in change and go home and put in in a jar. Acorns is that jar except the money is invested in the stock market where it has the opportunity to make you money!

Other than rounding up your change there are two additional methods to increase your level of investments. First you can set up recurring allocations; either monthly or weekly. I currently add money weekly. The other way is through their program “Found Money”. Acorns has partnered with dozens of companies that will invest into your account if you use their services. Right now I make $.50 per use of Uber. This is great because I was going to use the service anyways, I may as well get $.50 back for every ride. I also get money invested using eBay, Dollar Shave Club, and have my wife shop online at Forever 21. Be sure to read the fine print first. Some partners require a minimum dollar purchase, while others require that you open your shopping experience through the Acorns app.

Last but not least you can earn $5 for referring a friend. If a referral code is used both you and your friend will get $5 invested from Acorns. Feel free to use mine.

Below are the list of ETF’s that Acorns has invested my money in:

  • Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO)
  • Vanguard Small Cap ETF (VB)
  • Vanguard Emerging Markets ETF (VWO)
  • Vanguard REIT Index ETF (VNQ)
  • iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond (SHY)
  • iShares Inv Grd Bond ETF (LQD)
  • Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF (VEA)

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