This piece was originally published at GENFKD.
So, you like the idea of investing your money, but don’t have thousands of dollars lying around, waiting to be thrown into the stock market. You need Acorns, an app that automatically invests your spare change.
Wait a minute, it does what now?
Acorns works the same way a lot of automated savings apps works, with a twist. Once it’s set up, it pulls small amounts of money from your account on a regular basis (think under-a-dollar small) but instead of holding onto the money in a regular old savings account, it actually invests it in the stock market.
Think of it as all the financial benefits of actually listening to your ultra-competitive, finance-major friend explain the stock market to you, but in way less than five hours. (We love you finance friends, but the two-hour diatribe on oil prices, not so much.)
First things first: Acorns needs access
Just like any other finance app, Acorns will need you to connect it to your day-to-day checking account. Of course, just like all the best finance apps, it uses bank level security, so you’re entirely covered on the not-getting-hacked front.
Spend as usual
Once Acorns is all up in your transactions, it rounds up every purchase you make to the nearest dollar, and stashes the change in your investment account. That way, every time you spend $4.45 on a latte, you’re investing $0.55 in whatever you’re saving for (as if pumpkin spice didn’t taste good enough already, am I right?)
Top it up
If the spare-change approach isn’t enough savings for you (you big finance superstar, you) Acorns lets you add additional funds to your investment account. You can add $5 or $5,000, whatever works for your life.
No investing knowledge required
Acorns is all about making investing simple, so they – and a Nobel-prize winning economist – designed a fully balanced portfolio for your investments. As soon as you invest your first dollar with Acorns, you’re invested in a diversified portfolio with exposure to 7,000 stocks.
All you really need to know is that “balanced” and “diversified” are the things you want people to say about your investments.
Take that, finance friend.
Cash back is so last year
Beyond just rounding up your purchases, Acorns has a new beta program called Found Money, where they’ve partnered with brands like Dollar Shave Club to add money to your Acorns account every time you buy from them. All you have to do is add one of your existing credit cards to your Acorns account, and abra cadabra, your hotel for spring break booked through Hotel Tonight is helping you invest more money.
BRB, planning my next trip. It’s an investment!
If you have friends who would be into investing if it just didn’t come with those five-hour-long finance lectures or the hassles of figuring it out themselves, Acorns is a win-win. If you refer your friends to the app, Acorns will add money directly to your investments as a thank-you for spreading the word.
Bonus: It’s free for college students
Get that free money, friends. If you have a valid .edu email account, Acorns is free for up to four years after you start your account – and if you’re done with the school thing, it’s only $1/month for accounts under $5,000.
So what are you waiting for? Acorns is available on iOS and Android.
GenFKD is equipping millennials with the skills and education necessary to create and lead the “new economy.” To learn more, head over to GenFKD.org.
Founded in 2013 as a financial literacy organization, GenFKD is growing into an organization that’s revolutionizing American higher education. Through skills-based training and student-first reforms, GenFKD is advancing a system of “new education” focused on improving post-graduate outcomes in areas of gainful employment, financial preparedness and entrepreneurial readiness.