By: Mike Cashion, MFF Director of Operations
WHAT IS IT?
So… You might be wondering, what the heck is Acorns? Basically, it is an investing tool that was designed with behavioral economics in mind. Acorns is an investment tool that makes investing simple, easy and affordable for everyone, especially for those young investors that are just getting started. The idea of saving for retirement is a daunting mental thought for many, regardless of where you are in life. Acorns was designed with the customer in mind.
- Account setup is seamless
- Quick to get started
- Roundup feature
- Once setup, the system goes to work and you don’t need to think about it
- Linking accounts was not easy. It may have just been my banks, but it took multiple attempts for each card and checking account. Then I ended up having to manually add them
- Navigation takes some getting used to
My experience with Acorns has been good so far. The account setup was somewhat seamless and quick. I ran into some problems, when the time came to link my accounts and start investing. For some reason, my accounts at various organizations did not want to connect. This is not uncommon with financial institutions. This led me to add my accounts manually to fund my account and to turn on the roundup feature for Acorns. Adding a bank or credit card account manually is not instantaneous, but it is also not much work to do.
Fast forward a few days, and I was up and running with the service. There are a number of different plan options that you can choose from to get started with Acorns. I decided to keep it simple with the Personal Package. They have a Lite, Personal and Family package to pick from. The pricing to get started is very affordable at $1, $3, and $5 / per month for the respective plans. Each package has a different set of features for those that want something more on the simple side or a few more features.
Although the user experience on the App is nice, I did find that it took a little getting used to. As is probably the case with anyone, I wanted to know how my money came in, where it went, how to pull up my account balance and check my investment settings. Give it some time and play around. You will become more comfortable with the navigation and find everything that you are looking for.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The features that have me excited are the roundup feature and that everything is automated. Right away, I linked the credit card that I use for all of my discretionary spending. This works differently than I had initially thought. The way that the roundup feature works is by viewing the transactions that you made with the credit card of your choosing. They round up to the nearest dollar on each transaction, add all of the roundups together and once you reach a total of $5, then Acorns will transfer that amount out of your connected checking account. For some reason, I thought they would round up the dollar amount of each transaction on my credit card and the charge would take place there.
Note: The round up feature is one of two ways in which you can automate your savings. You can also set up an automatic recurring transfer from a checking account.
It is really fun to see an email from Acorns saying that a transfer of funds took place because you reached the $5 threshold. So far, this service is simple, automated, cost effective and a great way to get started by investing your spare change without much thought at all.
What has also been interesting to watch is how quickly the roundups add up. Before long, my roundups will add up to a fairly substantial amount of money. It has me thinking it may be time to reevaluate my discretionary and recurring monthly spending habits with what my budget is. At the same time, because it is rounding up and transferring to an investment savings account for the future, I guess it is still a net positive.
So far, the service is working well, it is fun and it is helping me to automate saving for the future.
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