A new generation of financial and investment services is coming of age.
Everything is possible now; from 100% commission-free stock trading, to super-high yield savings accounts. You just need to know where to look.
We’ve created this page to provide you with a leading-edge head start in this new era of simplified investment and wealth building.
The concept of a stock market app isn’t anything new. Many brokerages offer their own apps for portfolio management, but Robinhood isn’t like many brokerages. The app is a stripped-down, highly functional, and powerful investment app with a twist. There are no investment fees. None.
Going Beyond Simple Trades
While it is common for brokerages to make money by charging transaction fees, Robinhood has made investing accessible for the rest of us. There are no account minimums, no costs to get started and no transaction fees. Robinhood lives on your phone, but recently the company released a well-designed site for users who would rather manage their portfolio from their desktop or laptop.
Additionally, Robinhood made their platform even more powerful by introducing cryptocurrency services in select states and options trading capabilities. All with no trading commissions. The app and site are both robust, slick, and simple to use.
New Accounts Get a FREE Stock
Robinhood is growing and they want to keep it that way. Sign up today to receive a FREE random stock on us. Stocks are randomly selected from companies like Sprint, Ford, and Apple* (yes, they have given away free Apple stock).
*odds of receiving premium stock vary
The Acorns tagline is “Invest your Spare Change,” and that is exactly what this app does.
Serious investors may find Acorn’s capabilities limiting, but for casual investors or the set-it-and-forget it crowd, Acorns is a fun and useful product. Billed as the original microinvesting app, Acorns is easy to navigate and has a smooth, intuitive user interface.
Investing with Acorns via Round Up
The Round Up investment feature is the core Acorns offering. Every purchase that you make that doesn’t end in an even dollar amount gets rounded up to the next dollar and the difference is invested in a managed portfolio. It’s investment whenever you make a purchase, and your account grows without you even noticing.
$4.66 rounds to $5.00
$5.00 – $4.66 = $0.34 invested
Thirty-four cents isn’t much by itself, but when the spare change from every purchase is invested on a daily basis, it really adds up.
One-Time and Recurring Investments
If growing your investments by what’s left over after when you buy a cup of coffee isn’t going to grow your portfolio in an aggressive enough way, you can always make deposits directly into your investment account. Deposit when you have a little extra or set up recurring deposits to augment the work your spare change is doing for you.
Acorns has been around long enough that they have been able to cultivate relationships with other brands. The Found Money feature of the app is a way to earn bonus cash when you shop with over 200 partner brands.
Claim your $5 Bonus
Use the link below to try out Acorns and earn a $5 bonus account credit on us*.
*bonus is only available for new Acorns accounts that complete the application and account setup process. Subscriptions start a $1/mo.
Stash is a thematic micro-investing platform. It is part of a new wave of highly accessible financial trading platforms that are built on the concept of fractional shares.
Basically, using fractional shares you can invest very small amounts of money and still get a piece of the pie, even if shares of a stock or ETF are worth 10 or even 100 times what you invested.
Stash is simplified, easy to use, and a great fit for new investors, casual investors, and young investors.
Here are the pros:
- Simplified theme selection
- Balances ease of use with control over your portfolio
- Low minimum balance (get started with just $5)
- Recurring automatic deposits to grow your portfolio
- No fees for investors under the age of 25
Keep these aspects in mind
- Fees (on a percentage-of-portfolio basis) are high for small balances
- A small selection of individual stocks
- Not a trading platform
STOCK MARKET SIMULATORS
Wall Street Survivor
Stock market simulators are a great way for novice investors to learn the ropes of investment in a risk-free environment. Good stock market simulators use real market data feeds to create a seamless, educational experience.
The simulator offered by Wall Street Survivor is no exception, and they take the fun of risk-free market simulation one step further with an array of free courses, resources, and monthly cash prizes.
Registration is free, and head-to-head competitions are held monthly.
The MarketWatch Virtual Stock Exchange is designed with instructors and students in mind, but it can be enjoyed by anyone looking to experience an authentic market experience without committing funds.
There are tens of thousands of games being played all of the time, meaning that MarketWatch’s VSE is well-used, well-supported, and well-thought-out. Each game can be tailored to different specifications to create a unique experience and the VSE operates in real-time.
In addition to their VSE, MarketWatch also provides robust market news coverage along with alerts and monitors.
Investopedia Stock Simulator
From the financial resources super-site comes Investopedia’s free-to-play stock market simulator.
Used by over 700,000 new traders and stock market students, the Investopedia Stock Market Simulator starts you off with $100,000 in virtual cash. Trading challenges and a risk-free virtual market make this stock simulator a test-the-waters fan favorite.
This resource is a little different than the others in this section. Trading Sim is a day trading simulator that lets traders practice trading without risking any money.
Like other simulators, it allows aspiring traders to practice any time, validate their trade plans, and build up confidence.
MARKET NEWS & INSIGHT
Yahoo! Finance is the largest business news site in the US as measured by traffic. It provides financial news, data, and commentary including stock quotes, press releases, financial reports, and original content. It also offers some online tools for personal finance management. In addition to posting partner content from a wide range of other web sites, it posts original stories by its team of staff journalists.
In addition to news and updates from the worlds of business, finance, and tech, Yahoo! Finance also offer financial and market-based tools such as stock watch lists and real-time market information.
The Motley Fool
The Motley Fool is a financial services company that is a staple for many investors.
And with the mix of analyst insight, up-to-the-minute info, news, and recommendations it’s no surprise. The folks over at The Motley fool even have their own ETF that tracks the 100 largest domestic companies recommended by The Motley Fool’s analysts*. The majority of the site is free to use, however, The Motley Fool also offers premium stock adviser services.
*ClydeBank Media does not sell financial products. This mention of a particular financial product is not an endorsement to purchase or not to purchase. All investors are encouraged to do their own research and due diligence before purchasing shares of any ETF.
Maintained by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), Investor.gov is a trove of information for both old and new investors alike. The most unique features that the site offers come in the form of online calculators that cover a range of financial planning topics.
- 401(k) and IRA Required Minimum Distribution Calendar
- Compound Interest and Savings Goal Calculator
- Social Security Requirement Estimator
- Retirement Ballpark Estimator
- Mutual Fund Analyzer
- 529 Expense Analyzer
All of which are wrapped up in an easy to navigate site.
Investment advisers and wealth-building gurus refer to cash in a savings account as “deferred spending” because, well, that’s what it is. Savings accounts are often scoffed at because they offer such a low return, normally significantly less than 1%.
How Banks Make Money on Savings Accounts
It is common knowledge that banks make money on their accounts by investing a portion of customer deposits. And banks should be able to be compensated for their services to pay to keep the vault locked and the lights on. But they can often make as much as a return of 5% on the money that they invest. Which makes that fraction of a percent they pass on to you a little hard to swallow.
Online savings accounts (often known as high-yield savings accounts) can afford to share more of the proceeds with their customers because they have a less expensive model. These accounts can approach 2% in returns, which is certainly better than the fraction of a percent of your local bank offers.
What Does Beam Do?
Beam takes this concept a step farther and simplifies everything on the way. Beam offers an online savings account that guarantees between 2-4% APY, with no fees, no minimums, and daily interest deposits*. Getting more from your “deferred spending” at the very least means beating inflation and maintaining the value of your money.
Even better, getting a bigger piece of the pie when it comes to the money your money makes when you deposit it is a pretty great feeling.
*At time of writing, Beam is still in the beta stages. Signups add users to a waitlist to be among the first to take advantage of the returns Beam offers. Like many sophisticated apps, Beam is being rolled out in waves to ensure no service disruption to existing users and to ensure scalable growth.
Mint isn’t strictly an investment tool, but it is a super-helpful budgeting tool. Mint is an Intuit product, which means that it benefits from the same robust software development as programs like TurboTax and QuickBooks. True to form, the Mint site is fast, powerful, and secure. The Mint app is smart, intuitive, and easy to navigate, and is of course available for both Apple and Android users.
Mint is free to use. There are no fees or subscription costs.
How It Works
Mint provides personalized budgeting tools, bill tracking, and credit score monitoring. Not that impressive by itself, but the way that each of these services fit together and work automatically make Mint a truly powerful platform.
After your accounts are synced, Mint regularly updates with records of your transactions. Your spending is input into budgets that you set, and your performance is tracked. While many banks and credit card companies provide spending summaries based on merchant codes, Mint is unique in that all of your accounts can be seen all at once, in as close to real-time as possible. Plus, merchant codes aren’t always accurate, or if they are, they don’t represent the intent of your purchase. Mint allows you to modify categories and refine the way you understand your spending in a granular and easy-to-digest way.
More Than Just Budgets
Mint offers bill pay reminders and credit score monitoring. Users can set goals and benefit from Mint’s smart planning tools that provide recommendations and guidance. Additionally, Mint helps users find new financial products that can help them save money or get the most out of their financial profiles and investments.
Qapital is an online banking service with robust automated savings tools. Customizable savings rules can be created to build an automated savings program that accumulates a considerable amount of cash through the power of continual micro saving.
How It Works
Qapital sets up new users with an online bank account, a debit card, and a dashboard full of shiny new savings rules. These rules can be set up to trigger using a number of interesting and frankly kind of fun rules. Here are a few examples:
- Round Up Rule: Rounds up every transaction to the nearest dollar and saves the difference.
- Set it (and forget it) Rules: Calendar-triggered automatic savings plans (such as $15 every Sunday)
- Spend Less Rules: Spend less than your limit in certain categories and save the difference. For example, spend less than $20 on coffee, and the difference gets saved.
- Guilty Pleasure Rule: Every time you treat yourself treat your savings account too. For example, every trip to an ice cream shop triggers $10 sent straight to your savings.
And those are just the most interesting rules.
By building out rules that make saving second nature (and dare I say fun) your savings plan doesn’t tell you what you can and can’t do. Instead, it works in the background out of sight and out of mind.
INFORMATION ABOUT AFFILIATE SALES
Some of the links in this post are 'affiliate links.'
This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, ClydeBank Media will receive an affiliate commission. We only review and recommend products and services we personally have used and have found valuable. We would never recommend a product or service to you that we don't think will improve your business, or that we haven't vetted.
Affiliate sales help us maintain our blog and produce new content on a regular basis. Our affiliate relationships do not impact our editorial decision-making process.
Any and all opinions expressed in this, or any of our posts, are those of the person expressing them and do not reflect the opinions, policies, or positions of ClydeBank Media.