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Acorns: The Virtual Change Jar

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Do you now, or have you ever had that old change jar sitting at home where you would throw any spare change in the jar at the end of the day?  Over time, that change jar would fill up and you would eventually wrap the coins or take them somewhere to be counted up for you.  This little bit of money, every day, could really add up.  I have heard of people taking weekend vacations, buying nice gifts, or having some pretty nice nights on the town simply by using the spare change they saved.

But the days of having spare change in our pockets is disappearing.  If we have to pay for things today, most people pay with debit or credit cards and rarely carry cash.  I know it is odd for me to have cash on me and even more odd to have any coins in my pocket at the end of the day.  But I still like the concept of a coin jar.  That’s when I came across Acorns.

What is Acorns?

Acorns is a service that acts as a virtual coin jar.  You have the ability to tie it to your bank account or credit card account and have it take the pennies left over (round-ups), up to the next dollar amount, and invest into a stock portfolio that you set.  True, it is not the same as having the cash that you would have from a physical coin jar, but it does allow your money to be put into a stock investment portfolio chosen, by you, based upon whether you want to play it safe or be risky.

All you have to do is install the app on your phone and you can quickly sign up.  You can also sign up at Acorns.com.  Once you sign up, simply set up your round-ups, link your bank accounts, set an optional recurring monthly investment, and set an investment portfolio to get started.  The app and web site are very easy to use and the whole thing can be set up in under 15 minutes.

Pros of Using Acorns

1.  Helps You To Save And Invest

Acorns has replaced the old coin jar and provides a simple, passive way to save money.  People who normally do not save or invest money can easily set this up and have some money put aside for their future.

2.  Low Monthly Fee

For as little as $1.00 a month, you can use this platform and begin saving and investing money.

3.  Cash Back At Select Retailers

Some retailers will automatically invest money into Acorns for you when you make purchases.  This is free money back from retailers!!!

4.  Educational Content

Acorns provides lots of money and investing educational content to their users.  You can easily increase your Financial IQ by paying attention and reading this free content.

Cons of Using Acorns

1.  Small Investment Portfolio

Acorns only offers a few choices for investment portfolios.  They offer Conservative, Moderately Conservative, Moderate, Moderately Aggressive, and Aggressive.  These portfolios have limited investments inside them.  This could be seen as a Pro for a beginner investor, but a Con for a professional investor.

2.  High Fee On Small Balances

I have read that if you are paying $1.00 a month in fees and have a balance under $3,000, then you are not getting the best return on your money…compared to the same amount of money invested in other areas.  For example, if you are paying $1.00 a month, you would have to gain at least $12.00 a year to break even on the money automatically invested.  

Final Thoughts

Personally, I am a big fan of Acorns.  I started using it about 2 years ago and couldn’t be happier.  I have my portfolio set to Aggressive and simply let the pennies from each transaction get automatically invested for me.  Over the last couple of years, this money has REALLY added up.  And guess what…I haven’t missed the spare change one bit.  It is like this virtual coin jar that keeps growing and I don’t even pay attention.  I check the balance every once in a while to see how it is going, but that is it.

I know there are some cons to Acorns, but I believe it can really help anyone who wants to save and invest money but doesn’t really know how.  This type of service can make a big difference in your savings and at the same time help you learn about investing.  Are there better services out there where you may be able to earn a better return??? Sure, but most of the time that takes research and maintenance.  Acorns does the work for you and you don’t have to worry about it.  This is a great service for anyone who doesn’t want to fully enter the world of investing but wants an easy way to save and dip their toes in the water of investing.

If you are interested in trying out Acorns, please use my affiliate link here.

As a CYA for the 5and2Guy:  Like any other post about money, this is just my opinion and should not be seen as financial advice for you to build your future upon.  Please do your own research and follow up with a certified financial advisor if you have any questions.

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