Stash Invest Reviews 2020

By: Jonathan Schramm
Last Updated: April 28, 2020
Advertiser Disclosure

Stash Invest

Summary

Knowing which stocks to buy and sell is tough, which is why many experts suggest most investors build a diversified portfolio instead, of stocks, bonds and low-cost index funds made up of ETFs, or exchange traded funds.

But even then, how do you know which fund to choose? Should you invest with Vanguard, Schwab, Fidelity, Blackrock, or another investment firm?

If you don't know the difference between the S&P 500 and Russell 2000, how do you choose between the two? It is even harder to know how to pick individual stocks. That's where Stash comes in.

Stash is a low-fee investment app designed for newer investors looking to get started and experienced investors looking for a new, simple platform to build a portfolio. Continue on through this Stash investing review to learn more about what it costs, how it works, and if it makes sense for you to start investing with it.

Account Minimum

$0

Fees

$1/month for Beginner account, $3/month for Growth account and $9/month for Stash+ Account.

Expert Walkthrough

While the company is officially called Stash, the website is at StashInvest.com, so many people refer to the company as StashInvest. We may use the two terms interchangeably in this Stash Invest review.

Getting started with Stash takes about two minutes. Be aware that even if you sign up on the Stash website, managing your account is best with the Stash Invest Android app or Stash Invest iOS app.

This is a technology first investment platform designed for people who can manage their own investments using an app on their phone.

If you are not comfortable with this type of technology or do not own a smartphone, Stash is not for you.

However, if you look to your phone or computer first when managing your money or looking to learn something new, Stash is a perfect fit. You can get started for free to test this app.

Is StashInvest legitimate?

Yes, The app is now used by 4.3 million users since its launch in 2015. It is a leading FinTech, with 250 employees and 191 million dollars in funds raised from venture capital. It is also SEC-registered.

StashInvest is a legitimate actor of the FinTech (Financial-Technology) industry and quite popular with young investors.
You can learn more about its extensive security features and regulatory compliance HERE.

Stash App Review

The Stash app is the core of your Stash experience.

Users can use the app to add funds to their account, do research, learn about stash investment app options, monitor their account, and manage their investments.

With Stash you can:

  • Buy and sell ETFs, stocks and bonds, including through fractional shares (more on that below)
  • Have an online bank account through a partnership with Green Dot Bank
  • Get a debit card giving cash back when used
  • Get tax benefit on your stash investments
  • Get custodial accounts for your kids

If you are a new to investing, learn more about the benefits of ETFs and index funds here.

The app offers easy navigation and a fairly straightforward user experience. Stash is not a roboadvisor like Betterment and some other competitors.

Rather than manage the funds for you, Stash gives you the tools to pick and choose your own combination of ETFs. The app makes that experience quite easy.

The app’s Learn section is focused on news and investment advice to help you make the best investment decisions possible.

While it is not everything you need to know to invest, it does give you a lot of good information and is a great resource to get you started. It is really well designed for beginners and will give them the basic knowledge and terminology they need to get started and to identify what they will need to learn in the future.

Custom Content Based On Your Portfolio

Stash also curates and pushes relevant content based on your portfolio - this level of customization results in the education section being one of the best benefits of a Stash account.

You can also find news about specific stocks when going to the related page. Of course, you can get much of the same information here for free at InvestmentZen, no account required!

Of course, you can get much of the same information here for free at InvestmentZen, no account required!

You can transfer funds into your account with the app using a one-time transfer or activate the recurring feature to “Auto-Stash” and add funds to your account on a regular basis

Additional screens give you the numbers and graphical breakdowns on your portfolio, your total account balance over time, and additional useful information about your investments. Overall, the app is great!

Stash Invest Account Balance
Stash Invest Portfolio Dashboard

Stash Bank Account

Stash also offers an online bank debit account through Green Dot Bank. The debit account comes with a Stash debit card, also issued by Green Dot Bank, who is managing more than 5 million active accounts.

The Stash debit offer includes stock-back rewards. The stock-back rewards is a program where Stash offers that when you do some purchase with your stash debit card, you get extra money that is automatically used to buy stocks in your investment account. You can get more details about the stock-back rewards HERE

Stash debit bank account is also offering you the option to get your salary 2 days earlier. You even get an extra gift of $50 to your debit account for activating the option HERE

Take note that you need to deposit as little as $5 in your bank account for receiving the associated debit card

Stash Pricing

Stash offers simple pricing that makes sense for accounts you plan to add to regularly. The basic fee is $1 per month and up to $9 per month for the premium offer.

The basic $1 offer mostly is for testing the water in investing and an online bank account, but do not offer retirement accounts, which are hugely beneficial in terms of taxes.

The $3 offer will be what most people look for as investment online solution as it gives access to 2 types of tax advantaged retirement accounts.

The $9 offer doubles your stock-back rewards, gives you a metal debit card, custodial accounts for your kids and also an exclusive monthly market insight report, so it fits best older, wealthier or more experienced investors.

Stash Invest Pricing

While there are some free accounts out there, this pricing falls in line with several popular robo advisor and investment management apps and platforms.

There are no add-on trading fees or commissions, but be aware that the ETFs in your Stash account do charge fees, also called expense ratios (which is standard for all brokerages).

The expense ratio can range from a very competitive 0.07% up to a less exciting 0.95% depending on the fund you choose.

Remember to add these expense ratios to your Stash fee to calculate the total cost of investing in your Stash account.

Stash Investment Options

Stash has over the last years expanded radically its investments selection of ETFs and stocks. You can find here the complete list of EFTS and Stocks

While each ETF is provided by a major fund family, like Vanguard, BlackRock’s iShares, and State Street’s SPDR, each fund is given a new name by Stash to easily identify what the fund is all about. For example, the Vanguard Small-Cap ETF is referred to as Small and Mighty in Stash. This allows for an easy to understand and remember classification, far better than the rather cryptic "real" name of the funds.

The stocks and ETFs are searchable by category. The stocks are organized in a more traditional fashion, like Energy, Media or Real Estate, and each stock has a short description explaining the company activities.

You can browse the ETFs categories as "Missions and Causes", Commodities and other categories to pick and choose your favorite ETFs to align your money with your values or investment goals.

The "Missions and Causes" section, for example, includes portfolios of renewable energy investing options or companies that have a progressive, equal rights workplace and employment policy in place.

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While it is all nice and good to invest in companies you can believe in, remember that your investment portfolio will move up and down based on company profits and performance, not warm fuzzies and positive vibes.

Each investment’s page on the Stash app gives you important details including a summary of how the fund works, a risk rating for the fund, and a list of investments held by the fund.

Make sure to note the expense ratio, as you don’t want to accidently invest in high-fee funds just to see your investment gain get eaten up by fees!

From quite limiting some time ago, Stash has grown to offer a decent array of investing options, both of funds and individual stocks. A free investment account at any major brokerage gives you access to all of these funds and more.

However you would have to pay trade fees and commissions to buy and sell depending on the broker’s relationship to each fund family. At Stash, there are no add-on trading fees.

Tax advantaged accounts
Stash offers 2 different tax advantaged retirement IRA accounts, Traditional IRA and Roth IRA, so you can maximize your retirement investment and adapt your investing strategy according to your risk tolerance.

The difference is that traditional IRA makes you pay taxes on withdrawals, while Roth IRA makes you pay taxes now and gives you tax-free withdrawal. So in theory, young people in low tax bracket tend to benefit more from using Roth IRA, but this is just the theory.

You can learn more about the difference between the 2 types of IRA account HERE. This is about taxes, so it is not so simple and it is recommended you study it carefuly before making a choice about it

Fractional Shares
Another very valuable offer of Stash for your investing strategy is fractional shares. This means that you do not need to spend at once hundreds of dollars for an Apple share or thousands for an Amazon share.

This way you can keep your portfolio diversified and fitting your risk tolerance without needing tens of thousands of initial capital. The possibility to buy fractional shares options from Stash is great to help small investors or beginners to get into investing and make money from big famous companies from which it would be too expensive to buy even just one share.

You can get more information about it directly from Stash itself HERE and HERE

Dividends
You can also automatically use your dividends to increase your investments, using the DRIP (Dividend ReInvestment Plan). Reinvesting dividends can be a very powerful way to compound your investments, making a major difference overtime.

Does stash make you money?

Stash offers a very handy calculator allowing you to know how much money you can make with investing regularly, 1 month after the other. You can modify your monthly deposit amount, the portfolio growth you aim for and see the expected results in 1, 5 or 10 years.

Stash Invest Growth Potential

Add to it the low fee online bank debit account and the stash debit card, and it is likely that Stash will make you the amount of money compared to classical banks and investing firms. But always be aware that this is about investing, and that no investment is ever risk free.

How much should I invest in Stash?

There is no minimum required to start investing with Stash. But you will still spend a minimum of $12 per year, plus possible other ETFs expense ratios or taxes. On an account with a $500 balance, you will pay $12 in fees per year, or 2.4%, just to keep the account open. A smaller account with a $100 balance pays the same $12 per year, but that is 12%, a massive fee in percentage terms.

Considering the average performance of stock market investing can range from 4-10% annually, this means you need to reach at least a few hundreds (and ideally thousands) of your money in this app to really start seeing results.

Below $300-$500, more than half of your likely gains will be eaten up by the monthly fees. But this should not prevent you to start investing, as you only need a small initial sum and can start learning from there.

Which is better, Acorns or Stash?

On the surface, both investing apps are similar and help you invest your money in small incremental amounts. They both cost $1 to $3 per month for the most common accounts and have no minimum deposit. The main difference is in the style of investments they give you access to.

Acorns
Acorns is a robo-advisor designing for you a portofolio according to your profile and risk tolerance, and will invest your money in 7 different ETFs.

So depending if you want a conservative, moderate or aggressive position, you will get a different portfolio composition, adapted to the risk level you are looking for.

Stash
In contrast Stash gives you a lot more control on your investing strategy by letting you decide your investment portfolio composition.

You also fill a risk profile questionnaire and have a portfolio builder, but you can then modify it from the initial investing recommendations.

This also explains why they offer more extensive learning resources, as you need to know what you are doing. Using their products and services requires a bit more knowledge, and while the Learn section is not financial advice, it will help grow as an investor and learn more about managing your investing risk.

Which is best?
So Acorns is more for people willing to invest their money without having to learn too much or take decisions about their investing strategy.

While Stash is better for beginners in the art of investing, looking to learn how to pick their investments and looking for support, low fees and no minimal amount.

Stash Invest Reviews Around the Web

Stash invest app review around the web is based on its features and prices. Customers tend to be generally happy with the ease of investing and user friendly app experience.

nvestors with smaller accounts, however, are not fans of the fees and may prefer another investments app.

Highlights:

  • Excellent education and investment advice
  • Great mobile investing experience
  • Investing made simple with a few taps of your fingers
  • Easy-to-understand, themed investment options
  • No add-on trading fees or commissions
  • Fractional shares and stock-back rewards to make more money from investing

Drawbacks:

  • No access to several stocks or funds not yet hand-picked by Stash
  • Stash monthly fee on top of the usual ETFs management fees
  • Need to have a minimum knowledge about investing
  • Relatively high fee on small accounts

Stash Review Summary

For new investors who don’t know anything and want a place to start out with a small portfolio, Stash is perfect for you. You can get started with as little as $1 and need little to no background on the stock market and mutual funds. Everything is there for you.

Beginners will also get a lot of didactic resources to learn how to become better investors. Together with fractional shares, it will allow them to quickly acquire both theoretical knowledge and practical experience without risking vast sums of money.

So the ideal Stash user profile is a beginner or intermediate investor, with at least a few hundreds or thousands of money to invest.

However, experienced investors may find themselves frustrated with high fees and limited investment options. Over the course of many years, you may find the math shows you are better off with no monthly account fee and a trading commission. Or, if you open an account at Vanguard, Schwab, Fidelity, and others directly, you can invest in their funds with no trade fees or account fees.

In summary, our Stash review is a positive one for new investors looking to get started as well as investors with limited funds or lacking the time to do detailed research themselves. But it is not the best service for experienced or wealthy investors, who can find offers more adapted to their needs and profiles with the more traditional offers of the bigger investment firms.

If you are a new investor and want to get started, join Stash today.


About the Author
Avatar

Jonathan Schramm

Jonathan is a former Biochemist with an MBA in Pharmaceutical Industry Management converted to entrepreneurship and financial analysis. He is especially focused on value investing and distressed sectors. He has been contributing to InvestmentZen as a financial product analyst from 2020.


Stash Invest Reviews

Investorjunkie 2017-06-25

Stash Invest is a microsavings service geared toward beginning investors. Compared to its rivals, the service has more flexibility in choosing your investment options. However, it's too costly for smaller accounts, and all trades must be done via the smartphone app.

Nerd Wallet 2017-04-10

If you’re looking for a little hand-holding while you build a portfolio of ETFs, Stash may be a good fit. That kind of educational assistance may save money in the long run — you’ll avoid costly mistakes and learn how to manage your own portfolio.

The College Investor

With Stash, all you need is $5 to make a deposit. This is perfect for anyone getting started. Plus, it’s so easy to understand!

Money Under 30 2017-06-29

Stash has certainly carved out a niche for itself in the crowded world of fintech. Whether that niche is right for you, however, depends on what you’re looking for. Read more at: https://www.moneyunder30.com/stash-invest-review


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