The key to building wealth is monitoring and managing your expenses and savings, and making smart investment decisions, investment apps help you do that. Put your savings to work earning the best return, monitor it via your favorite app and find yourself more informed and become motivated to save and invest more, and most importantly, sleep well at night!
Investment apps have traditionally done a great job of showing you market graphs and return rates. New investment apps available in the app store today are taking it a step further. Many offer full-service banking, money management, solid investment education for beginners, engaging ways to encourage savings and even strategies for investing your money.
First, it is important to know that investment apps are not just for people who want to do a lot of trading. We found apps to help you build credit, run a fantasy league and manage your retirement accounts. Investing and trading are not synonymous. Investing also involves buying stocks or assets and holding them for long term gains.
Trading can be akin to gambling, high risk and potentially high return or high loss. There are a couple of things you can do to minimize your risk exposure but still enjoy the thrill of training using your favorite investment app:
- If you are new to trading, use an app that has stop-loss orders. A stop-loss order automatically sells your shares if the market falls below a certain level. This can minimize your loss if that share dives in price.
- Don’t buy what is ‘hot’ right now, thinking you will make some quick money. To make money you need to buy before everyone else realizes the value of a stock.
- If you borrow money to buy stocks, remember that if your stock value drops or the business goes into bankruptcy and closes you will have nothing to sell to pay back that loan. Would you borrow money to go gambling?
- Diversification in stocks helps you ride out industry and sector highs and lows. Choose different stocks to invest in across all areas; industry, services, products for low-income and high-income earners, company size and even global location.
- Trading generally has a cost, both in terms of trading fees and the tax you pay on profit. If you sell any asset within a year of purchase, you will pay income tax on the profit. Wait a year between the buying date and selling date and you then pay the long term capital gains tax - between 0 and 20% depending on your income.
Top Investment Apps if you are Thinking About Investing
If you are just getting started in the investment game, you will definitely want to check out these investment apps to learn a little more about investing as a whole.
My WallSt - “Investing for everyone”
Are you ready to learn, train, and then take your first step into stock market investing? This is the app for you.
MyWallSt was started by two successful stock market investors who wanted to teach people how to enjoy the same success they had. You can access their 40+ investing lessons on the MyWallSt app or desktop, as well as tune into the Stock Club Podcast for more insights. Each lesson is a quick read or you can listen to the approximately 2-minute audio transcript of each lesson. This is a great accessibility feature that you can use both online and offline.
When you’re ready to start investing, download MyWallSt’s second app, MyWallSt: Buy Stocks, Investment Research and News.
The interface is modern and friendly, and the education options continue in the navigation menu as you investigate stocks to purchase and read up on the latest stock market news.
Invstr - Play. Learn. Invest
Learn about investing in stocks, cryptocurrency, Electronic Traded Funds (ETFs) and Foreign Exchange (FX), and then play “Fantasy Finance” to really test your skills.
Invstr puts some fun into exploring the investing world with their Fantasy Finance game, giving you a million dollars in virtual cash to play the market with. Your success is based on the increase in your portfolio value. The real fun is in the competition; you can compete against other players worldwide or start your own fantasy league with friends.
When you feel confident, you can step into real-world investing from as little as $1, which involves purchasing a portion of a regularly traded stock.
For example, one share of Amazon stock is worth over $3,000. With a fractional share trade you can buy a portion of that Amazon share for way less and still have bragging rights.
Self - Build credit while you save
A slightly different investment app that helps teach you to invest in yourself.
Self is for people who cannot get a traditional loan or credit card due to low or no credit scores but want to build or rehabilitate their credit and start building wealth.
How does Self work? Create an application through the app and Self generate a loan for $500 or more. This loan will help you build credit in a non-traditional way. The loan funds are not actually given to you; instead you are enrolled in a monthly payment plan. The bill payment you make each month is put into a savings account with your name on it and when you pay the loan in full, you receive your $500 plus interest.
If you also struggle with savings this is also a great way to learn to stick to that savings plan!
Paying yourself first is the quickest way to build savings you can then invest. The big benefit with this savings/loan is that Self reports your payments to the credit reporting agencies, thus building your credit score.
Warning, if you are late making payments on your savings/loan, then this is also reported to the credit agency.
Now you have a windfall, the next step is to invest!
Top Investment Apps for Beginners
Curious to learn more about investing, but not quite sure where to start? These apps are great for beginners and help guide you through the entire process.
Wealthfront - Earn more
This is the app for true money management.
Use this app to do all of your banking, investing, borrowing and planning, and it isn’t difficult to use. This may be the replacement you need if your current bank doesn’t have a good banking app. You can deposit your paycheck into your Wealth account and pay bills too. Any remaining balance after your bills are paid is invested into various options that you choose based on how much access you want to that money. Choose from cash accounts or low-cost index funds.
Wealthfront also has the unique aspect of setting up separate 529 college savings plans for each of your children, and retirement accounts (IRA and 401K rollover) to invest for yourself! Opening an account is easy with only a $1 deposit, however investment accounts require a $500 minimum.
Choosing what to invest in is easy and involves little decision making. Wealthfront uses a ‘robo advisor’ format to invest your funds and therefore has a low-cost management fee. All funds are invested into global index funds, meaning you can be hands-off and not pressure picking stocks to buy and sell.
SoFi - investing and budgeting - buy stocks and crypto
It’s difficult to maximize your investing if you aren’t following a budget. SoFi tackles this by tracking your spending and then saving the rest.
The SoFi philosophy includes planning to help users reduce debt, build an emergency account, put your money to work and save for retirement. All great advice, which we covered here. SoFi also offers a number of loans, including student loan refinancing, small business financing and home loans. The app aims to reduce the cost of lending money and get the best investment return while building personal finance education and creating community.
When you install the SoFi app, you officially become a SoFi member, and with that membership come benefits! Benefits include career coaching, finance community events, referral program, retirement, estate planning and more.
When it comes to investing, you can invest at your own comfort level, from an active trader to a set-it-and-forget-it approach.
You can also invest in fractional trading, called “Stock bits.” Stock bits are a great option when you are starting out in the trading game and funds are low. A nice bonus is free stock and ETF trading, which means if you feel like you made a mistake in your investment choice you can change your mind without penalty.
Michael Hamelburger, CEO of Cost Reduction Consultants, shares more insight on white he recommends using SoFi.
"I highly suggest using SoFi Money because of its easy-to-use features and very simple UI. If you're not that familiar with investing, take advantage of the app's free financial planning courses for members," Hamelburger shares.
"The sessions are easy to understand and eliminates the overly technical jargon that frustrates most newbies. In addition, you can start using SoFi with just $1. It makes a great app for beginners who want to avoid recurring account charges as well as paying for commissions," Hamelburger continues.
Stash - “Own your financial future”
This is the app for investors who don’t have a ton of cash but want to get started on saving and investing. This beginner app does have a fee- plans start at $1 a month and go up to $9 a month for multiple accounts that you may use to start investing for your kids or partner.
Stash lets you invest straight away; you don’t need to build a big savings account to start investing. You can also invest regularly by automating how much you move into your investment account each month. Many experts suggest paying yourself first as if your savings is a bill to pay. With this in mind, you can set up Auto-Stash and move a set amount into your investment account and put that money to work.
The app also offers a rounding up option, putting away, literally pennies at a time.
This is great if you make many small purchases throughout the month. If your daily coffee costs $1.25, the app will round that up to $2 and invest the 75 cents into your designated account, making it easier to make your savings grow.
Chane Steiner, CEO of Crediful, also adds, “For beginners Stash is the best one to start with. It offers a low entry to market with reasonable prices. For just $3 a month, users get retirement, bank and brokerage accounts. Once they start to know what they are doing, the $9 a month fee grants two custodial accounts, monthly investment research, a stronger rewards structure, and an upgraded debit card.”
Seiner continues. “Stash may only offer about 150 stocks and 60 ETF options, but that prevents users being overwhelmed and ease themselves into stocks and shares.”
Acorns - One stop shop
Acorns is one of the most well known investment apps that offers everything all in one place. You can manage your money for retirement, investments and your checking account all within their app. Acorns also offers a round-up program, which encourages you to invest spare change. That extra 35 cents from you Starbucks order once a week will add up!
This investment app has a monthly fee of $1 or $3, but there are no account minimums or trade fees.
The good news is once you have invested over 1 million dollars, the monthly fees go away! You can automatically set up monthly, weekly or daily investments so you don't have to continually monitor your bank account.
You can arrange your portfolio conservatively or aggressively by investing in exchange-traded funds, large companies, stocks and bonds and real estate. The experts at Acorns are always available to lend a guiding hand if you have any questions about your portfolio.
This app is quick and easy to set up, only taking 5 minutes to set up and diversify your portfolio.
Top Apps for Mid to Experienced Investors
If you are familiar with investing but want to take it into your own hands, there are some investing apps out there that allow you to control your money.
Robinhood - Investment and trading commission free
This is the app that many YouTubers talk about, perhaps because of their generous sponsorship deals but also due to the functionality of the app. While often mentioned as great for beginners, reviewers tend to be divided on whether it is appropriate for true beginners - who can get overwhelmed or for more experienced investors. If you have some idea about investing in stocks and understand the lingo and your goals, you can likely work your way through the app but the true functionality comes in handy for more experienced investors, particularly commission-free trades for the more active trader.
Robinhood lets you choose to invest in individual stocks, including fractional shares as well as ETFs and options. If you are interested, cryptocurrency trading is also available, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin and others.
For investors wanting to fully utilize the app features there is a paid subscription model - $5 a month, to get access to research reports and quicker access to funds in your account rather than waiting the typical 2 - 3 days.
Shayne Sherman, CEO of Techloris, adds more about why he uses Robinhood. Sherman says, “Robinhood app requires a little bit of management, much like a traditional brokerage, but the lack of fees makes it super attractive. Robinhood's app has grown very well over time and I don’t even have to think about, but keeps growing my money for me.”
M1 Finance - The finance super app
Experienced investors will enjoy M1 for the apps ability to customize your portfolio and then automate your investing. M1 aims to be a full service investing, lending and spending app - similar to how you would use your banking app with the power of building your own investment portfolio. The app encourages you to use their automation capabilities from investing to making loan payments while also using the personalization features.
While many automation focused apps invest in index funds, M1 lets you choose exactly how much to invest via thresholds; define what you want to invest in now and in the future via different rule sets. The UI is easy to use and there is a cool feature where you can build a pie of your chosen ETFs and securities allowing you to see your weighted investments quickly and easily.
Investing and trading via the M1 app is free; if you choose to, you can pay for an upgraded account and get a Visa debit card that earns 1% interest on cash in the debit card account, plus 1% cashback on purchases. This is much better than the large banks that offer effectively zero interest on your checking account.
Top Apps to Manage Retirement Investment
Retiring is something everyone wants. Here are some great apps that will help make that a reality sooner than later.
Fidelity Investments - straightforward retirement savings
Start trading, get quotes for stocks, access a learning center and customize your feed to display what is important to you with the Fidelity app.
As a starting point, customize a finance news feed that sets up similar to a social media feed but, it’s all about finance! Choose your interests (IPOs, M&As etc.), markets and planning goals (college, financial, market analysis, retirement), and these become your first screen when using the app.
This app is simple, smooth and straightforward.If you know what you are doing and just want to execute, this feels like the perfect app to do that and perform reliably. The Fidelity app allows you to drill down into the information and micro-manage your investments or step back and see an overview of what your retirement accounts are doing.
Yieldstreet - Generate passive income while you explore
This is the app for those who want to invest outside of the stock market and have a lump sum of money that they don’t need access to for a while - perhaps a retirement fund.
Yieldstreet is a different type of investing and relies on a crowdfunding type model to buy into assets, such as commercial buildings, on a scale not normally available to individual investors. Yieldstreet effectively collects all of its investors’ money and lends it to others who want to finance a purchase or even borrow against a lawsuit settlement. If the lender defaults on the loan, Yieldstreet gets the asset - which would likely be sold and shared among their investors.
Yieldstreet offers investments in a number of asset classes; Real Estate, Legal, Marine, Commercial, Art and a sector called ‘Yield Street Funds”. Yieldstreet Funds invests across all of these asset classes in the one allocation. Diversifying your portfolio of investments is a way to manage the highs and lows of different types of investments that perhaps don’t correlate with the stock market fluctuations.
Invest for as little as six months or as long as five years. Note that the minimum initial investment is $5,000 and additional increments of $1,000. Investors get paid monthly, depending on what they invested and the return rate offered.
Choose your favorite app to invest passively - sit back and watch your portfolio grow, or get involved in buying, selling and truly managing your investments.
Make sure to pay attention to things like annual fees, minimum investments, investment options, brokerage fees and minimum balance requirements. Choosing to use an investing mobile app can help you reach your financial goals, whether you are a beginner investor or experienced investor from the tip of your finger.
You don't necessarily have to ditch your financial planner right away.
Still, you might be surprised by how the low fees with an investment app might actually offer you more freedom without a necessarily high risk tolerance. Investment apps offer investing opportunities within mutual funds, ETF trades and other trade stocks just like your traditional investment accounts.
All of the best investing apps are available on Android or iOs; all you need to do is head to the app store.
You might also be interested in: Betterment vs. Vanguard [The Investment Platform Showdown]
The 11 best investment apps: