A Richer Understanding: Mobile Investing

Investing has changed dramatically. Many of my peers have worked in the pit or the trading floor as portrayed in those hectic movie scenes with traders shouting and signaling buy and sell orders. With trading becoming more electronically based, pits are rapidly disappearing. This fast-paced, on the go industry is a great fit for mobile technology.

I’ve had a few connections ask me about investing and I direct them to RetirementSavvy as I Am no expert; even if you understand how the stock market works you might not know how to invest wisely. In addition to the site I’ve suggested mobile apps, specifically those designed for first time investors.

Activity Screens – Acorns and Robinhood

I decided to try a few and practice what I preach. In my discovery, I’ve found most have simple to understand technology and many have comprehensive features for more advanced investors.

For purposes of testing I opened accounts with Acorns and Robinhood.

Investing Simplified

Acorns offers a simple and fun way to use your phone to invest and reach short-term goals. I linked a credit card and a debit card and my purchases are rounded up to the nearest dollar and invested based on a risk profile I established at account opening. The app charges $1 a month for accounts under $5,000 and 0.25 percent of your annual assets for accounts over $5,000. I read a few complaints about withdrawing money and I had no issues withdrawing money – from request to deposit took only one day for me.

Acorns – Account Value

Robinhood offers $Free.00 trading and for anyone starting out this is ideal. The app allows you to trade stocks and ETFs, however you can’t trade options, bonds or mutual funds.

After I setup the account, I transferred $5 to test the speed and availability of my deposit, however once it was completed the app asked if I wanted “instant deposits” – The cash from my bank transfer into my account would be available immediately instead of a standard 3-day hold. With a free trade structure, I searched for how the company makes money; from their FAQ – Robinhood makes money through margin lending interest and by accruing interest off customers’ non-invested cash balances.

I’ll update this post once I hold stock and cash with Robinhood. Here are my initial thoughts on these two mobile apps.

Investing Automated

Acorns is a set-it and forget-it way of investing, your purchases are rounded up and that “spare change” is then invested in a diversified portfolio of six different funds based on your set risk tolerance. Acorns is a quick, easy, and automatic way to invest money.

Robinhood – Deposits and Tracking

The Robinhood app is very easy to sign up for and allows users to do basic trading for free. While it lacks analysis a first-time investor may seek, it does include market data. Also, you are limited to Stocks and ETF trading only, however I believe this is perfect for first-time investors. Once you’ve learned more about investing and individual companies, you can move on with the confidence of more strategic/ diversified investments.

Final Thoughts

Please share your experience and or suggestions for novice investors below in the comments. Also, let us know if you are using any mobile apps for investing / trading.

I Am,


Brian Tramuel is a regular contributor and helms the 'A Richer Understanding' series. He lives with his wife Michelle, their children Geneva and Brian, and their Cocker Spaniel Maestro in Charlotte, NC. They, along with his two older children from a previous marriage, Davina and Aaron, provide a constant source of inspiration. Aaron lives, works and plays in Charlotte and Davina lives, works and plays in Roanoke, VA.

1 Comment

  1. Hey, Brian. Thanks for this review. I’ve heard of Acorns and Robinhood but never knew how they worked. Acorns looks like a great way for a newbie to begin his or her investing career–especially if the newbie is young.

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