As a busy career woman and Millennial who is hyper-conscious about saving and being a socially responsible investor, I search out simple automated apps so I can practice the “set it and forget it” method of saving.
Blooom is my go to robo 401(k) advisor. You can sign up in less than five minutes. It visually shows you if your 401(k) is healthy in the form of a flower. The only time I have spent on my 401(k) was setting up my Blooom account. They take care of all the maintenance, such as rebalancing my account and making sure I follow the golden long-term investment rule: Always diversify your portfolio.
Stash is my preferred long-term investing app With Stash you don’t have to have all the money upfront to buy shares, it only takes a minimum of $5 to start, and then you own a percentage of an exchange-traded fund (ETF).
Bonus! It has an auto-Stash feature, which I use to pull funds every pay period to invest in my designated ETFs. This app took the fear out Wall Street for me, as the app is intuitive and educational.
Before discovering Stash I was anti-Wall Street and investing because I found it to be expensive and scary, and I thought you had to have an economics degree to comprehend it. Stash allows me to invest in the companies and ETFs I believe in and want to support like their “Do the Right Thing” ETF which include socially responsible businesses. Being able to choose what company I invest in means I can put my money where my values lie, which is super important to me.
Acorns is my “rainy day” long-term investing app. With Acorns, I connect my bank account, and the app will round up all my purchases to the next dollar and then invest it into one of their three models. What did I choose? Aggressive! Like Blooom, Acorns is very much a “set it and forget it” option to long-term investing because you don’t have to make many choices, and the app does all the work.
Digit.co is my “because life happens” savings app. Digit.co analyzes your bank account and spending patterns. The software analyzes your daily checking account balance and learns your spending habits. Powered with this information the software knows when and how much to move from your checking account to your Digit account. The amounts vary depending on your checking balance and spending habits for that day/week/month. I notice they tend to pull smaller amounts between $5 and 10.
Simple is my bank. After more than a decade with Bank of America, I took a risk on banking with a start-up, online-only bank. Simple, has single-handedly changed my spending behavior and saving psychology, it offers two savings features—Goals and Safe-to-Spend. Goals allow me to save for anything from my upcoming trip to Maui to my student loan payment, by auto-transferring money each day to the Goals. My money is still in my checking account (Simple does not make you open a traditional savings account), but when I look at my account, I just see a Safe-to-Spend balance, which excludes funds in my Goals. I no longer have to sit down and figure out how much I need to save because Simple does it for me.
My conclusion? Because of recent financial technological (FinTech) advances, investing and saving has become much simpler, if not easier. I can be a savvy saver who takes into account my immediate goals, my potential emergency needs, and my future needs. While we, Millennials, have the odds stacked against us in many ways, new technology that helps us get ahead in the savings race, is not one of them.