Stash Review - Read Before You Download Stash Invest App

(Editor Rating)

Ranking

8.5/10

Are you new to investing and don’t know where to start? Maybe you’re somewhat seasoned but still want help in determining exactly where–and how–to invest your money. Well, Stash is a guiding platform that wants to help you do just that. Here’s our complete Stash Invest review.

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Commission Cost

10/10

Technology

9.5/10

Customer Service

9.5/10

Trade Execution

8.5/10

Up Front Incentive

5/10



Highlights:

 

  • Cheap trading costs
  • Small up front bonus

Editor's note - You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent financial advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the author's alone, and this content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser.

What Is Stash?

Stash is an app that aims to make investing easy and fun for anyone, even if you’re brand spanking new to the investment world. It won’t manage your accounts for you, but it will guide you through the process of selecting investments for your specific needs.

Upon signing up, the app will ask you to answer a few questions about yourself. These are designed to give the app an idea of your financial situation, your outlook on investing and life, and your plans for the future. Then, the app will curate a customized portfolio to choose from, giving you investment options that suit not only your income but also your values.

Stash also serves to teach and guide its users, offering tons of in-app educational content. Of course, even this content is tailored to your own investing profile, allowing you to easily access topics that actually apply to you and your situation.

Education resources

Holdings and performance are hypothetical.

Even if you’ve never invested a penny before, Stash wants to make sure that you are comfortable and confident in your new portfolio choices. This app couldn’t be easier to use.

How to Use Stash

You can sign up for Stash on its iOS or Android app as well as on its website. In the initial registration process, you’re asked about your own investing style (or how you think you’ll be once you start). Are you a conservative investor who wants to play it safe, an aggressive one who doesn’t shy away from high-payout risks, or somewhere in between?

In order to curate your investment recommendations, they’ll ask you questions about your income, total asset values, and when you plan to use the money you’ll be investing.  You’ll also be asked to connect a funding source (i.e. a checking account) during the setup process, which you’ll then use to fund the account when you’re ready. They do not accept other forms of account funding.

Once this process is complete, you’ll be given your Stash results. The app will give you a rundown of recommended ETFs based on your unique needs and financial situation. It will also note foundational investments based on your personal risk tolerance and, in turn, asset allocation. If you answered that you wanted to be a conservative investor, these foundational choices will be “safer” investments like bonds. If you want to be more aggressive, you’ll see options like high-risk stocks.

Stash home

Debit Account Services provided by Green Dot Bank and Stash Debit card issued by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc . Holdings and performance are hypothetical.

How Much It Costs

Stash not only makes it easy for beginners to get advice and guidance when jumping into the investment game, but they also make it incredibly affordable.

While Stash used to operate on an expense ratio scale (based on how much you had in your account), they now have three subscription plans to choose from. You can pick the one that fits you best, depending on what–and how much–you will need to get out of your account.

There are 3 price tiers:

  • Stash Beginner – $1/month¹
  • Stash Growth – $3/month¹
  • Stash+ – $9/month¹

The basic account is designed for beginner investors, aimed at helping you learn all about saving and investing. You’ll get a personal investment account, a Stash debit card², access to their resource-rich learning library, and will even earn Stock-Back™ rewards³. This plan will only cost you $1 a month.

The $3 plan, on top of what you get for the $1 one, provides you with retirement accounts.∗ The most premium $9 tier offers you everything mentioned on $1 and $3 plans plus custodial accounts for up to 2 of your kids as well as 2x Stock-Back™ rewards, and even a metal debit card.∗∗

Stash Debit

Stash has recently introduced a Stash Debit account.

Every time you use your Stash Debit card, you can  earn Stock-Back™ rewards. These rewards give investors Stock-Back™ into ETFs or publicly-traded stocks. So the next time you buy doughnuts at your local bakery, you’ll earn Stock-Back™ rewards in a diversified ETF. If you purchase your kids’ shoes at Nike or buy coffee at Starbucks, you’ll earn yourself a piece of each company’s stocks (i.e.: NKE and SBUX).

You can earn even more back by spending at select retailers according to Stash’s rotating selection. During that time, select retailers will earn you up to 5% bonus inStock-Back™ rewards.

How Much You Need to Start

There is no investing minimumª. This means that you don’t have to save up a ton of money in order to get the ball rolling on your investment portfolio.

You can start with whatever you have to spare, and even choose to add to the account monthly with as much as you can set aside.

This makes Stash an excellent option for beginners or those without a lot of wiggle room in their budget. As you may know, compound interest is one of the most important factors in investing–the sooner you can allow your money to start growing, the more it will earn for you in the end.

One feature of Stash is that it shows you how much your money can potentially grow. In it, you can look at where your investment is now, how you expect it to grow, and how much you’ll regularly contribute to the fund. Then, the app will show you what you can expect to have from that investment in five or 10 years. This may motivate you to trim your budget and invest just a little bit more each month.

Stash vs Robo Advisors

It’s important to note that Stash is not a robo advisor. There are many great ones available out there (Betterment and Wealthfront are two of our favorites). They guide you through exactly what you need to do investment-wise to manage your assets. Unfortunately, that’s not what Stash does.

Stash is a great app for those who might be overwhelmed by the idea of investing or who want to start small on their own before hiring a “real” financial advisor to manage their portfolio. And for that purpose, Stash really shines.

However, if you have more assets on-hand and want a more personalized touch, a robo advisor is the next perfect step.

Below is a list of prices for some popular robo advisors:

BettermentWealthfrontWiseBanyanAcorns
0.25%, Regular

0.40%, Plus

0.50%, Premium
Free, $0-$5,000 for DR Readers

0.25%, over $5,000
Free

*You can buy premium packages
$1/mo, under $5,000

 

0.25%, over $5000

Keep in mind again that whether you use Stash, one of the robo advisors, or any other portfolio management option, you’ll also be forking over the cost of the ETFs themselves.

Pros and Cons

While Stash isn’t going to be a one-stop-shop investment option, it might be the perfect place for you to get your feet wet.

Pros

  • It’s perfect for new investors, making the process simple and straightforward.
  • You don’t need much to start; there is no minimum deposit or investing minimums.
  • Curated recommendations based on your needs and income mean that you get an easy, personalized result.
  • Easy app features allow you to see the impact your saving and investing might have over time. You can then adjust your habits accordingly.
  • With over 250+ ETFs and stocks to choose from, you have quite a few options to get you started.
  • The app offers a wide range of educational pieces, tailored to your own funds, income, and questionnaire results. This could be invaluable to a brand new investor, especially since you won’t have to look far to find pertinent info.
  • Invest in your passions; Stash enables you to choose investment funds that are in line with what you’re most passionate about. If you want to put your money into companies that focus on green energy and the environment, Stash can help you find them. Interested in technological advancements? The app has you covered.

Cons

  • Stash doesn’t actually manage your portfolio. So, you’ll need to go into the app knowing that these are great starting points. But you may eventually need to move on to a robo advisor or financial advisor as your portfolio grows.
  • While the monthly fee sounds low (as little as $1/month), it can actually be a higher percentage than many robo advisors. Companies like WiseBanyan offer similar services with no management fees, and companies like Wealthfront will manage your first $10,000 for free (only charging 0.25% after that).
  • Though the app offers more ETF options than its most direct competitor (Acorns), you are still missing out on a lot of options. Plus, you could research many of these funds on your own and even purchase them on a non-commission basis.
  • You’ll have to input your personal info just to get a result. In order to see any of their recommendations, you’ll need to link up your checking account and commit to a monthly, recurring contribution. You can opt out of this once sign-up is complete. But it might irk some to have to give this information before even finishing the registration process.

FAQs

Still have questions about Stash Invest and whether this app is right for you? You might be in good company. Here are a few frequently asked questions that may help you decide if Stash is right for you.

It can take as many as three business days for funds to show as debited from your bank account when transferring to Stash. However, you will see the funds show up in your Stash account immediately!
You absolutely can. Just look in the Companies category under Stash’s Invest section.
Once you enroll in Stock-Back, you’ll earn 0.125% of your purchase back in stock each time you spend—or up to 5% when you spend at a bonus merchant.

Bottom Line

If you’re brand new to investing and need to be walked through the process in a quick, easy way, Stash might be the perfect place to start. For no investing minimums, you can start investing for your future, even picking funds that align with your own passions.

Sure, you can find more comprehensive advisors (robo or human). However, for the true beginner Stash is happy to hold your hand (well, your phone) and walk you through the process.

¹You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the custodian.

²Debit Account Services provided by and Stash Visa Debit Card issued by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.  Investment products and services provided by Stash Investments LLC, not Green Dot Bank, and are Not FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed, and May Lose Value.  In order for a user to be eligible for a Stash debit account, they must also have opened a taxable brokerage account on Stash. Account opening of the debit account is subject to Green Dot Bank approval.

³Stash Stock-Back™ is not sponsored or endorsed by Green Dot Bank, Green Dot Corporation, Visa U.S.A., or any of their respective affiliates, and none of the foregoing has any responsibility to fulfill any stock rewards earned through this program.

ªFor Securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares starts at $0.05.

∗Stash does not monitor whether a customer is eligible for a particular type of IRA, or a tax deduction, or if a reduced contribution limit applies to a customer. These are based on a customer’s individual circumstances. You should consult with a tax advisor.

∗∗The adult (or Custodian) who opens the account can manage the money and investments until the minor reaches the “age of majority.” That age is usually 18 or 21, depending on the Custodian’s state. The money in a custodial account is the property of the minor. Money in a custodial account can be used by the parent or legal guardian, but only to do things that benefit the child.

DoughRoller is a paid Affiliate/partner of Stash. Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser.

Article comments

2 comments
Nikki says:

About Stash Invest. Stash Invest is an automated investment app. You can invest with as little as $5, which makes it a micro-savings application.

Michael says:

I have using Stash for almost two years now and I really like it. It really makes saving fun. I usually put in 10-30 dollars a week in some of the ETF’s that I really like. And I’ve also purchased some stocks in companies that I really like. I’ve purchased Costco, Microsoft, Coke are just a few that I have purchased. So I would recommend it.