GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - You can do just about anything on your phone. Buy new socks, send memes to your mom, even invest in the stock market, and you don't have to be a financial genius to do that last one.
In fact, there are several apps out there that aim to get people who've never invested before, involved, and educated in the process. One of the newest is Stash.
"Eighty-six percent of our users have never invested before, so we're very much targeted in helping that first-time user, first time investor, get started and then move on the journey on how to become more sophisticated,” says Ed Robinson, co-founder of Stash.
The fine financial folks at Stash recognize that even the word investing sends some people running for the hills. It's intimidating, confusing, and who has extra money anyway?
“We built, effectively, a fractional share trading model that allows you to buy $5 of Amazon or $5 of Facebook or $5 of things that you believe in like clean and green energy or defending America,” Robinson said.
Yep, Stash lets you get in the game for just five bucks. It will cost you $1 a month to have an account but there are no fees for trades. They also provide an advisor and coach to help educate you. They're not only ones tapping into apps. Acorns links to your debit account, rounds up every purchase you make to the next dollar, and then invests that extra "change money" for you.
Robinhood is an app that allows you to make free stock trades, and Stockpile allows you to buy fractional shares and even gift them to others. Those are just a few of the options out here. But, what do financial advisors have to say about all this?
"I think they're fantastic. I especially think so for people who are young, people who are new to investing, that it's a really accessible, non-judgmental, and simple way to become introduced to the idea of investing," said Darla Kashian, with RBC Wealth Management.
Kashian realizes not everyone is in a position to work with a financial advisor, but the earlier we teach people financial literacy, the better the chance they'll need someone like her in the future. The question is, are there any downsides?
"Security is always a downside, so you need to think through who has access to your data, and really take some time to understand what kinds of security protocol those companies are employing,” she said.
It’s something Stash has thought of and believes they have the solution.
"We have a full team that just works tirelessly on just securing the networks. We've got insurance through FDIC, we're regulated by the SEC and FINRA, so we take these things very seriously," Robinson said.
So, as with anything, a little research will help you pick the app that works best for you, but at least you can go in knowing you can do it, even if your bank account isn’t overflowing.