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Acorns review: Acorns is one of the many FinTech product offerings that has hit the market in recent years. Acorns is an investment tool to help you invest your spare change by linking all your debit and credit cards to your Acorns account.

For many of us, investing can be a daunting task filled with uncertainty, complicated, and intimidating for non-financially minded folks. But Acorns has simplified the process via an industry disrupting mobile app.

Acorns' Auto Invest
Acorns’ Auto Invest

Since Acorns went live, it has continued to raise the bar within the investment industry and FinTech. It has caught the attention of many celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Durant. Both are Acorns’ investors. Unlike other Acorns review, we’re going to mention some of Acorns’ investors.  They include a list of who’s who in the investment industry. Here are some major investors:

  • PayPal
  • BainCapital
  • Blackrock
  • NBCUniversal
  • Capital Group
  • DST Global
  • Comcast Ventures
  • GreyCroft
  • eVentures
  • TPG
  • Rakuten
  • Sound Ventures

The overall concept is revolutionary. How many of us really pay attention to our change? We have pennies, quarters, dimes, and nickels all over our house. We don’t even think twice about it.  Why not put them to good use?

Should you plant some Acorns for it to grow into an Oak Tree?  Want $5 to start investing with Acorns???

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Let’s get started with our Acorns review!

HOW DOES ACORNS WORK?

Once your account is approved, Acorns will initiate a withdraw for your first deposit and you’re ready to go. The Round-Up transfers will happen by monitoring your linked accounts then rounding up all your purchases to the nearest dollar.

Let’s say I spent $33.19 at Costco for gas. The purchase will be rounded up to $34.00 and the 81 cents will be added to my Acorns Round-Up balance. In other words, your “spare change.” The best part about Acorns is it waits until your account reaches the minimum $5 threshold then the withdrawal occurs.

For example, you bought a Starbucks coffee for $1.59 on Monday, you bought lunch on Tuesday for $7.45, and so forth. Acorns will not withdraw money on your account until your total change threshold reaches $5. Once it hits $5, Acorns will automatically withdraw the $5 from your account.

Additionally, you can select which purchases to include in your Round-Up balance or set it to apply to all purchases. For example, you can set the Round-Up to only apply to your monthly phone bill, gas purchases, and etc.

To speed up your savings, you can super charge your Round-Ups by applying Acorns Multiplier. The Multiple will multiple the Round-Up amount by 2, 3, or 10. In other words, the 81 cents Costco gas purchase will be $8.10. More on the Multiplier feature later.

In addition, you can setup recurring deposits, cash reward bonuses, or other credit card cash back programs. Furthermore, you can add Found Money (i.e., Acorns Reward Program) to your portfolio or spend the cash. More details about Found Money later.

Plus, Acorns has a branded checking account and Visa debit card with Lincoln Savings Bank. The partnership’s is supposed to work seamlessly with your Acorns investment account. Best part? The checking account allows you to check your investments and Round-Up balance in real time. With the checking account you can check your roundups and investments in real time.

Acorns is the modern-day change saving jars. The same jars your parents or grandparents used to throw their spare change into after a long day at work. However, the only difference is Acorns provide a return on your change while the outdated jar collects dust. It’s a great and effective way to save hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars each year and grow your retirement nest.

Acorns Concept
Acorns Concept

WHO IS ACORNS TAILORED TOWARDS?

Next on our Acorns review agenda is who Acorns is targeting for its service.  Acorns is definitely not made for the seasoned investor who understands, researches, and watches the market. It’s definitely made for “novice” investors who are just getting started. In other words, people in their late teens, 20s, or anyone looking to start a retirement fund. However, anyone can use it.

Who are the people using Acorns?

  • College students who are thinking about their future.
  • Young adults without a retirement account or 401(k) plan.
  • People who want to passively invest their money.
  • Folks who can’t make investing or saving a regular routine.
  • Investors without time or patience to manually manage their investments.

In addition, Acorns is definitely targeting the younger generation with their no fees for college students. All that’s needed to is to provide a valid .edu address. The no fees deal is good for up to four years from registration date. It provides the perfect opportunity for college students to gain financial responsibility and leave college with some money saved up.

After college, students have debt and low income. It’ll give students a more optimistic outlook when they leave college. Also, Acorns allows any aged 18-23 to use their service without paying any fees. It’s a great deal if you consider compounded interest from 18 to 25. If you start with $5,000 at 18 and the market increases 10% annually, you would double your money by 26.

AgeInterestInvest
1810% 5,000.00
1910% 5,500.00
2010% 6,050.00
2110% 6,655.00
2210% 7,320.50
2310% 8,052.55
2410% 8,857.81
2510% 9,743.59
2610% 10,717.95

“The best time to start investing was 10 years ago. The second-best time is today.”

Acorns makes investing easy especially with their roundup automation. It’s all digital, so you don’t have to meet with your financial advisor on a regular basis. It’s an affordable way to get to get started without putting the time into researching industries, reading financial statements, and watching the stock market every day.

In addition, with Acorns, you can withdraw your money at any time. With a 401(k), you’re not allowed to touch it and there’s a 10% penalty for early withdrawals on top of the current tax rate. The money you put away with Acorns is all after tax, so you’ll be taxed at the capital gains rate (i.e., 15% or 20% depending on your income bracket) if you hold the investment for more than a year.

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NOTABLE FEATURES FOR ACORNS REVIEW

Acorns is loaded with plenty of features and services. To increase the return on your money, you can conveniently setup recurring account transfers, get extra cash via Acorns reward program, and get money for referring your friends.

Here are some of Acorns’ services:

  • Acorns Later – This is Acorns individual retirement account (i.e., IRA) available to Acorns users. They recently added Roth IRAs and SEP-IRAs (for self-employed people). It’s only $2 a month for Acorns Later and Core accounts.
  • Acorns Spend – This is Acorns’ FDIC insured (i.e., up to $250,000 is covered) checking account, which its Core users can enroll in. It’s only $3 for Acorns Core, Later, and Spend. In other words, it’s only a dollar a month for each service. Furthermore, you can add an additional 10% of your everyday purchases from local retailers who aren’t Found Money.
  • Found Money – This is Acorns reward program. It works in the same way as your credit card with cash back. How does it work? If you make a purchase with one of Acorns Found Money partners, the company will invest in your Acorns portfolio. Partners include AirBnB, Blue Apron, Macy’s, Expedia, Lyft, Nike, Sephora, and more! More details later.
  • Round-Up – Every purchase on your debit or credit card will Round-Up and the change is invested for you. For example, you bought a beer for $3.25 and Acorns rounds up to $4 then $0.75 is added to your portfolio.
  • Round-Up Multiplier – Users can add an additional “Round-Up” by multiplying it by two, three or 10 instead of doing spare change.
  • Scheduled Deposits – Conveniently setup recurring investments for those serious about growing their wealth. You can do it daily, weekly, or monthly.
  • Acorns Learn – It’s an educational section that includes some FAQs, an investment glossary, and informational items about investing basics.
  • Acorns Grow – This service includes tutorials, interviews, and news about investments via their website or app.
  • Acorns Potential – Acorns provides an estimate of any additional investment on your portfolio.
  • Gift Cards – This is a great gift idea for friends or family. Currently, it starts at $25 per Acorns Gift Card. I think it’s a great gift option for new high school graduates.
  • No Fees – For college students, there isn’t a fee for using their app. That’s a savings of $48 for four years. It’s a good amount that can go to school supplies.
  • Customer Support – Acorns offers customer support. However, please note that this isn’t a 24 hour support line. They work to get back to people within 24-48 hours.
Acorns Review
Acorns Screenshots

Here’s a summarized table:

FeaturesDescription
Minimum Investment$0
Fees
  • $1/month under $1 million

  • 0.25%/year over $1 million

  • FREE for under 24 and in college

  • IRAs are an additional $1/month

  • $3/month for Spend and Later
  • Mobile Access
  • iPhone App

  • Android App
  • Website AccessYes
    Accounts
  • Traditional IRA

  • Roth IRA

  • Rollover IRA

  • Savings

  • Checking

  • Money Market
  • Want $5 to start investing with Acorns??

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    FOUND MONEY PARTNERSHIPS

    Acorns has partnered up with a lot of major online retailers and service providers to offer a “cash back” program. When you make a purchase with your linked card, the partnering companies will deposit Found Money into your Acorns account.

    It usually takes anywhere from one to two months to receive your award. If you’re investing your spare change, you might as well look at every opportunity given. In short, Acorns has married the micro-investing and cashback concept, which resulted in Found Money.

    Here are some of the Found Money partners and cash back amounts:

    CompanyDiscount
    AirbnbUp to 1.8% of your service fee
    Barnes & Noble2% of your purchase
    Billshark$10 when you sign up
    Blue Apron$30 when you sign up
    Boxed4% of your purchase
    Chevron25 cents for each $15 or more fill-up
    DirecTV$25 when you sign up
    Dollar Shave Club10% of your purchase
    Earnest$100 when you refinance your student loan
    Expedia4% of your purchase
    Groupon5% of your purchase
    Liberty Mutual Insurance$5 per auto or home insurance quote
    LifeLock$25 with a new purchase
    Lyft$15 when you sign up as a driver
    Macy's5% of your purchase
    MeUndies20% of your first purchase
    New Balance5% of your purchase
    Nike5% of your purchase
    Sephora$3% of your purchase
    Stich Fix$10 with a new purchase
    Walmart$5 with a new subscription
    Warby Parker1% of your purchase

    PORTFOLIO

    After signing up, Acorns will recommend a portfolio based on your answers, goals, and personal information. In addition, you choose a different portfolio if you’re risk factor is higher or go with Acorns’ recommendation.

    Acorns takes a Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) approach with its investments. MPT was developed by Harry Markowitz – one of the world’s renowned economists – and he won the 1990 Nobel Memorial Prize for Economic Sciences. He happens to be one of Acorns’ advisors too.

    The approach emphasizes diversification through different assets type versus holding a single asset type. In other words, they’ll invest in fixed income securities like bonds and different size company stocks together instead of investing in one time of stock.

    Acorns Review
    Conservative Portfolio

    Here are Acorns asset classes:

    • Large Company Stocks
    • Small Company Stocks
    • Emerging Markets
    • Developed Markets
    • Government Bonds
    • Corporate Bonds
    • Real Estate

    In addition, as mentioned, the type of portfolio you decide on will depend on your risk factor. The riskier the portfolio the higher return and it also means the larger the losses. Riskier portfolio usually has a higher percentage invested in stocks and the more conservative portfolio are gears towards bonds.

    Here is a break down of Acorns’ portfolio based on asset classes for each portfolio:

    PortfolioStock (%)Bond (%)Real Estate (%)
    Conservative0%100%0%
    Moderately Conservative36%60%4%
    Moderate54%40%6%
    Moderately Aggressive72%20%8%
    Aggressive90%0%10%

    With any type of investing, return on investments aren’t guaranteed and you could lose money. In addition, investments aren’t FDIC insured even though it could be SIPC insured. However, Acorns invests in ETFs offered by iShares and Vanguard. They’re both the two most popular ETFs on the market.

    Here are available ETFs on Acorns:

    ASSET CLASSETFTICKER
    Large Company StocksVanguard S&P 500VOO
    Small Company StocksVanguard Small-CapVB
    Developed MarketsVanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETFVEA
    Emerging MarketsVanguard Emerging Markets StockVWO
    Real EstateVanguard REITVNQ
    Corporate BondsiShares iBoxx$ Investment Grade Corporate BondLQD
    Government BondsiShares 1–3 Year Treasury BondSHY

    Furthermore, Acorns has other supported investment accounts:

    • Personal Savings
    • Traditional IRAs
    • Roth IRAs
    • SEP-IRA
    • 401(k) Rollovers

    ACORNS REVIEW PROS vs CONS

    Pros

    • Easy and convenient way to save
    • Takes away the complexities of investing away
    • No minimum deposit to start
    • Free for college students
    • Automatically invests your spare change
    • No major lifestyle changes with Acorns
    • Educational content to help you expand your investing knowledge
    • Found Money helps you get cash back with certain retailers
    • No trading fees or withdrawal fees, so you can cash out any time
    • Great option for people new to investing
    • Recurring deposits option
    • Ability to increase your Round-Up amount with Acorns’ Multiplier feature

    Cons

    • Investing can be risky, but that’s with all investments
    • Only used for extra savings, but you can transfer more via recurring deposits
    • Limited investment options, but the ETFs have a solid track record on returns
    • No tax benefits or tax-loss harvesting, but you should consult a CPA to find ways to any potential losses
    • Relatively high fees on small account balances, but it’ll motivate you to invest more

    Want $5 to start investing with Acorns??

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    THINGS TO CONSIDER OUTSIDE OF ACORNS REVIEW

    No one can predict where the stock market will go next, so market volatility is always there. The stock market can be down today and up tomorrow. This is true if you invest with Charles Schwab, Fidelity, and so forth.

    In March 2020, we saw the stock market dive due to COVID-19 fears. The S&P 500 loss approximately 34% of its value in a matter of weeks. However, in May 2020, it regained 32% of its value from the March 23, 2020 lows. With that said, investing is a long game unlike a Vegas blackjack table. You’re almost guaranteed a return the earlier you start investing and the longer you stay in it.

    S&P500
    S&P 500

    What makes Acorns great? It teaches you good financial habits. Per a CNBC article, the typical American household has an average savings of $8,863. That’s probably only 2-3 months’ worth of expenses covered. That’s not much, so the sooner you start saving and investing the better for you.

    Furthermore, you should evaluate all your options, consider where you are in your career, and tax benefits associated with certain investment securities. Any savings and investing are good for you. If you want a seamless and convenient way to start investing, Acorns is definitely a great option.

    In regards to taxes, you will pay taxes on all investment income. For traditional 401(k) and IRAs, you pay taxes when you make your withdrawals. With Roth IRAs, you pay taxes upfront and your withdrawals are tax-free. All three are taxed at higher rates (i.e., your ordinary income).

    While investments like Acorns, the tax rate will depend on when you cash out. In other words, ordinary income tax rates if held less than a year and capital gains tax rates if held more than a year.

    Ordinary income tax rates are higher and include taxes like social security, Medicare, and other taxes you usually see on your paycheck.

    Capital gains tax is 15%-20% depending on your annual income. This is true whether you use Acorns or other brokerage firms like Charles Schwab, Fidelity, etc.

    Like I said, investing is a long game. If you haven’t started investing, Acorns is definitely a great option in addition to your other retirement accounts. It’s how the rich keep getting richer because they create multiple streams of income.

    Lastly, the average annual inflation rate is 2-3%. If your money is in a savings account earning 1.75% annually, you’re losing money because the value of your money will decrease from 0.25-1.25% annually.

    Per Investopedia, the average S&P500 return has been 10-11% from 1926 to 2018, which is way above the inflation rate. Here’s our hypothetical return on your money based on a 10% annual return:

    AgeInterestInvest
    1810% 5,000.00
    1910% 5,500.00
    2010% 6,050.00
    2110% 6,655.00
    2210% 7,320.50
    2310% 8,052.55
    2410% 8,857.81
    2510% 9,743.59
    2610% 10,717.95

    SUMMARIZED COSTS FOR ACORNS REVIEW

    Now, we’ve reached the cost portion for our Acorns review.  How much will it cost you a month?  First and foremost, it’s free for college students if you register your Acorns account with valid .edu email address and keep your employment status as “student”. Secondly, Acorns doesn’t charge any transaction, trading, or withdrawal fees.

    With Acorns, you can deposit up to $20,000 a day in your Acorns account and pull the money out without incurring any costs or fees.

    Here are the monthly fees with each service:

    Monthly FeeAcorns InvestAcorns Later IRAAcorns Spend
    $1X
    $2XX
    $3XXX

    The highest monthly fee is less than a McDonald’s Big Mac and it’s much better for your health. The $3 per month equates to about 10 cents a day.

    Moreover, if you want to add the Acorn Spend app, you could potentially earn up to 10% cash back. It allows you to invest additional Found Money since the purchases are based on your local retailers (i.e., grocery stores, coffee shops, restaurants, etc.). The cash back depends on participating partners in your area.

    Here are the management fee rates based on your investment value:

    Account balanceAcorns ($1)Acorns Later ($2)Acorns Spend ($3)
    $1001.0000%2.0000%3.0000%
    $5000.2000%0.4000%0.6000%
    $5,0000.0200%0.0400%0.0600%
    $10,0000.0100%0.0200%0.0300%
    $20,0000.0050%0.0100%0.0150%
    $30,0000.0033%0.0067%0.0100%

    If you’re just starting off, the monthly fee could be expensive relatively speaking in terms of Assets Under Management (AUM). In addition, ETFs usually have their own management fees separate from Acorns’ fees. The ETF fee is charged regardless where you buy the ETF at. But, as your account balance grows, Acorns monthly fee is a great deal.

    However, with Acorns, you’re essentially paying for someone to manage your investments for you. It’s a great option for someone who doesn’t have a financial background or just getting started.

    Want $5 to start investing with Acorns??

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    IS IT SAFE?

    We have to consider safety in our Acorns review since Acorns deals with your financial information.  Acorns service is fully encrypted with “bank-level” security, so your personal information is pretty safe. As we’ve seen in past years, everyone falls victim to hacks. Social media accounts have been hacked, the government has been hacked, and so forth. Unfortunately, it’s just the environment we live in now.

    That said, Acorns doesn’t store your bank log in credentials and you can protect your account with multi-factor authentication. We highly recommend using multi-factor authentications on all your online accounts.

    Acorns is insured through the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) for investments up to $500,000, which includes up to $250,000 for cash balances. SIPC is a federally mandated and it protects investors if the brokerage firm fails.

    What does that mean? If Acorns fails, your money will “probably” be protected. However, it’s important to note that the SIPC doesn’t protect you against market losses. In other words, if your investments loses half its value, you can’t file a claim and try to get your money back.

    Acorns Review
    Acorns Security & Encryption

    ACORNS REVIEW CONCLUSION

    Should you use Acorns? It really depends on your financial situation, your current age, and your other investments. If you’re a well-informed investor, it’s probably not the best for you.

    However, it’s a great option if you’re just getting started and don’t understand investments. You can put your spare change to use and get cash back for some of your purchases.

    If you’re a college student, it’s completely free to use and you won’t be paying any monthly fees. Plus, you can setup recurring deposits while you work a part-time job and watch your investment grow without paying the monthly fee.

    If you’re not a college student, the monthly fee is a really small fee to pay to help grow your wealth. In our opinion, the $1-3 monthly fee is really a small cost to have someone manage your investments. It’ll pay dividends in the long term. Pun intended.  That wraps up our Acorns review!  Want $5 to start investing with Acorns?

    Get $5

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    Acorns Review: How To Make Money While You Sleep?
    • 9/10
      Features - 9/10
    • 10/10
      Ease of Use - 10/10
    • 8/10
      Price - 8/10
    9/10

    Summary

    Should you use Acorns? It really depends on your financial situation, your current age, and your other investments. If you’re a well-informed investor, it’s probably not the best for you.

    However, it’s a great option if you’re just getting started and don’t understand investments. You can put your spare change to use and get cash back for some of your purchases.

    If you’re a college student, it’s completely free to use and you won’t be paying any monthly fees. Plus, you can setup recurring deposits while you work a part-time job and watch your investment grow without paying the monthly fee.

    If you’re not a college student, the monthly fee is a really small fee to pay to help grow your wealth. In our opinion, the $1-3 monthly fee is really a small cost to have someone manage your investments. It’ll pay dividends in the long term. Pun intended. Want $5 to start investing with Acorns???  Get it here.

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