The last few years have seen some extreme swings in the stock market. One day, the market seems like a great buyer’s opportunity, but the next everything is booming and it feels impossible to get in the game. And with the FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google) trading at all-time highs, buying even a single share can easily cost more than a month’s rent!
But to the delight of college kids who barely have money for textbooks and burritos, let alone making major investments, a new class of investing vehicles make it possible for people with as little as $5 to begin investing in the stock market.
There are a number of investing apps who allow anyone over 18 years old to buy pieces- or fractions- of major publicly traded companies. Here are 5 of the best investment apps for college students to buy fractional shares of stocks.
Thanks to their low account balance requirements and low fees, Acorns is considered a good choice for student/ post-college/ risk-averse investors. Acorns is considered to be a roboadvisor- meaning it uses algorithm-based, automated financial planning services with little-to-no human input. Because the platform uses tech versus people to advise customers, they’re able to keep fees and balance requirements low. They even offer free management for college students.
In addition to being an app that allows for fractional investing, Acorns also makes it extremely easy to save money. After linking the app to their payment method, users can take advantage of Acorns spare change savings tool. The tool “rounds up” spare change and transfers it from a checking account to an investment account.
Acorns accounts start at just $1/month, and is a good choice for cash-strapped young people, as it makes it easy to allocate small amounts of money each day to investments.
Regularly regarded as one of the best mobile investment apps for beginners, Stash offers novice investors the chance to improve their financial literacy with included educational content and even access to a coaching feature. Stash users can even participate in customized challenges while tracking progress and amassing investing knowledge.
Once you download the Stash app, you’ll complete a short questionnaire, to help determine your risk tolerance level, as well as understand your investment goals. The app will then suggest several Exchange Traded Funds (ETFS) and individual stocks that might be good choices for your investment goals. Based on your goals and risk tolerance level, the app’s education tab will also populate with content customized to your goals and financial literacy levels.
The app allows for fractional investment in Fortune 500 stocks such as 3M, Caterpillar and Exxon Mobil. To provide recommendations and up-to-the-minute market news, Stash also connects to platforms like Yahoo Finance and Market-Watch.
Users can buy fractional shares in more than 100 individual socks, and registering costs just $5.
Because they got their start in the student loan space, SoFi deeply understands the capabilities, goals- and struggles- of college students. The company has grown into a comprehensive financial service firm with lending and investing capabilities via their mobile app.
SoFi is a good choice for college students who are likely investing novices, as their app incorporates investment education into the platform. New investors can invest in fractional shares– referred to as Stock Bits- to “dip their toe in the water” of investing.
The app is a good choice for college investors, as there’s no minimum amount required to start investing. For no additional fees, platform users can also access certified financial planners. They also offer no trading fees, with only low fees for fund maintenance.
Overall, the SoFi app is a good choice for new investors with features that are easy to use and well-priced.
Sitting at the crossroads of investor education, user-friendly platform design, and transactional affordability, FinTron focuses on helping tech-savvy new investors between 18 and 35 get into- and excel at-financial investing. The young entrepreneur founding team understands generations Y and Z are notoriously skeptical of traditional financial institutions, so they created FinTron to combat the norm.
College-aged- and older!- investors will enjoy the platform’s systematic assessment of risk relative to investment value, so users can find investment opportunities that meet their specific criteria. FinTron also allows for unlimited trading in over 600 fractional investments, including ETFs and stocks.
Compared to other apps, FinTron’s fees are very affordable. The app costs just $2/month and offers commission-free, unlimited fractional share trading, with minimum orders of just $5. With the app, users can also link mobile banking and mobile payments like Apple, Samsung or Android Pay to the Fintron app, so holistic finances can be in one place.
For college-aged investors looking to keep fees to a minimum, while also enjoying a clean, easy to navigate interface, Robinhood is a popular choice.
Since its launch in 2013, Robinhood’s achieved widespread popularity thanks to their intuitive user interface and very low fees. Within the app, it’s easy to transition from one screen to another. For instance, a user can easily toggle between a feed that aggregates investing news and an interface that allows users to smoothly buy or sell stock positions. And with Robinhood, buying and selling positions won’t break the bank, as they don’t charge commission and offer one of the lowest minimum account balances in the industry ($0 required to keep the account open),
Robinhood is a great choice for investors who are in the early stages of their financial investment journey, but it may not be ideal long-term, as they don’t offer retirement accounts. This means all investments made are self-managed and taxable, so Robinhood may not be a good choice for those looking for a long-term savings platform.
Investing in stocks can be an excellent way to passively amass wealth, and fractional shares are an ideal choice for younger, more conservative, or more financially restricted investors to still be able to own a piece of their favorite companies, without outlying enough cash to cover a month’s rent for a single share.