Investing app reviews

One of the bits of neg­a­tive feed­back I’ve got­ten of my book is about the tac­ti­cal how-to. Specifically, I rec­om­mend a bit of an “old school” way to get start­ed. I rec­om­mend using direct pur­chase plans.

In my mind, there are three broad ways to invest:

  1. Traditional bro­ker­ages
  2. Direct pur­chase plans
  3. Apps

Direct purchase plans vs traditional brokerages

Traditional bro­ker­ages are at sig­nif­i­cant dis­ad­van­tage to direct pur­chase plans for those who I expect are in my tar­get audi­ence with the excep­tion of peo­ple who roll over their 401(k)’s to IRAs.

Direct pur­chase plans are easy to start, have very low start­ing bal­ance require­ments, and enable peo­ple to buy in dol­lar amounts, rather than share amounts. It’s eas­i­er to get start­ed if you can buy $25 of a stock rather than in round num­ber of shares (one share, two shares, etc). Direct pur­chase plans also have a way to auto­mate small month­ly pur­chas­ing, so you can build a wealth-build­ing habit.

Recommending direct pur­chase plans over a bro­ker­age for non-401K rollovers was an easy choice. As you will see in the review below, Stash aligns very nice­ly to the things I val­ued in choos­ing direct pur­chase plans as the way to get start­ed.

Direct purchase plans vs apps

Less easy was the choice to fail to men­tion the app options.

What it came down to was sim­plic­i­ty. I find that part of the chal­lenge with invest­ing is there are too many options. A cor­ner­stone ele­ment of the Elephant’s Paycheck Blueprint is nar­row­ing down the selec­tion of invest­ment choic­es to con­ser­v­a­tive div­i­dend increasers (known as the Dividend Aristocrats).

Similarly, I want­ed to nar­row down the choic­es for how to invest and pro­vide just one rec­om­men­da­tion. It’s also ide­al that direct pur­chase plans are the way I have start­ed for my own chil­dren. (I start­ed this way too, but things were very dif­fer­ent 30–35 years ago when I did that!)

However, I don’t want to be con­sid­ered out of touch with more mod­ern options for get­ting start­ed. Especially since the options for get­ting start­ed with apps are good ones.

There are a lot of choic­es, so I thought I’d try them and write up short reviews. I’ll even­tu­al­ly con­sol­i­date them into one longer adden­dum to the book.

It’s going to be a ran­dom order, so don’t read into the order in which I review these solu­tions.

That said, may I present my first — Stash.

My sec­ond — Robinhood.

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