Acorns Vs Robinhood, Which Is a Better Investment Platform?
In this Acorns Vs Robinhood article we compare each platforms benefits depending on how you invest. When it comes to the investing space, Acorns and Robinhood are two of the most essential apps that you need to have in your repertoire. Similarly to whether you’re Team Apple or Team Android, it usually doesn’t make a lot of sense to have both of these and you should choose one over the other.
But which one is right for you? We will dive into Acorns Vs Robinhood, but before we do, we have a few questions that we want you to contemplate before reading:
What goals do I want to achieve from investing?
Am I the person who needs a lot of control over my finances/investments?
Can I really trust myself to be accountable for my financial goals?
How ambitious are my investing goals?
Once you have a good idea of the answers to these questions, the answer as to which platform you should use will be clear. Let’s take a look at Acorns Vs Robinhood.
Acorns Vs Robinhood, What Is Acorns?
From Wikipedia, Acorns is an American financial technology and financial services company based in Irvine, California that specializes in micro-investing and robo-investing. As of 2019, Acorns had over 4.5 million users and over $1.2 billion in assets under management.
The beauty of the Acorns platform and what sets it apart from other financial services companies is that it’s completely automated. Acorns works by rounding each purchase you make with your debit/credit card up to the nearest dollar and investing the difference. For example, you buy a coffee that costs $3.50. Acorns sees that transaction then charges your card $4.00 and invests the 50 cents for you!
Did you ever save your spare change in a jar around the house? Weren’t you always surprised by how much change added up over the course of a year? Acorns is essentially the modern equivalent to saving your spare change. However, they take it one step further and actually invest it for you!
Acorns is great for beginner investors, forgetful investors, and kids.
- It’s Cheap – Acorns service costs just $1 per month. Considering how much they can help you save and invest over the course of the year, this is more than worth it.
- Automation – As mentioned, Acorns system is completely automated. It’s very easy to set up and once you are, all the action just goes on in the background of your daily life. Do you really think you’re going to notice a few cents out of your daily budget?
- Corporate Mission – This pro might be a little biased, however, we feel that Acorns is one of the few financial companies who really care about their users. Most financial companies operate under a “how much money can we milk from our clients” business model. There’s a fee for everything and management costs are incredibly high. Acorns was started with a simple idea: how can we help make investing easier for the everyday user?
- User Friendly – You don’t need to be a Harvard MBA to get started. You don’t really even need to know anything about investing. Just sign up and they handle the rest!
- Transparency – That said, if you are a Harvard MBA and want to see what they’re doing with your money, they have a detailed breakdown in the app. You can see exactly where it’s being invested, what your return is, and other details.
- Corporate Partners – Acorns has formed quite a few strategic partnerships over the years to help bring their users even more savings. Below are just a few companies who will invest in your Acorns account when you shop with them.
Overall, there are definitely advantages to using Acorns. If you’ve never invested your money before and aren’t quite sure where to start, this is a good place to start.
We’ve dished out a lot of praise for Acorns but what are some of the downsides?
The disadvantages of using Acorns mainly stem from automation, which is a pro or a con depending on how you look at it.
- Lack of control – If you’re not a beginner investor, you might be frustrated with the lack of control on Acorns platform. The only decision you can really make is telling them how aggressive to be with your money. If you want to overrule them and make a specific investment decision, forget it.
- Lack of options – Options (literally, stock options), Bonds, Cryptocurrency, Gold, Volatility Indexes, Commodities, and even individual stocks are all things that you can NOT invest in on Acorns. They’ve condensed the investing playing field down to 5 ETFs and this is what you get to choose from. Good for beginners and simplicity, not so good for anyone else.
- Can disrupt your budget – If you’re on a tight budget, getting cents yanked from your bank account can actually disrupt your home’s cash flow. We know it doesn’t sound like a lot but the feeling of seeing money just disappearing from your bank account every day can actually cause stress for some people.
In summary, if you’re a beginner investor and aren’t really sure where to get started then Acorns is the perfect place for you. However, if you want more (or any) flexibility in what you’re investing in, you might want to keep reading.
Let’s take a look at one of the other most popular platforms to invest money.
Acorns Vs Robinhood, What Is Robinhood?
Robinhood burst onto the scene in 2013 with the intent to democratize the financial world. They offered a sleek platform that was very intuitive to use and, more importantly, no fee for buying/selling stocks. Up until Robinhood, every brokerage would charge anywhere from $5-$15 per trade! Remember when we said that financial companies made their business from nickel and diming investors? Note: All major brokerages have followed Robinhood’s lead and now offer $0 commission trading. The screenshots above give you a glimpse of Robinhood’s platform. It’s very easy to get started and can be done directly from your smartphone. Let’s take a look at some of the other pros of their service.
Ease of use – The entire platform is optimized for the user. They help you get started and even give you recommendations for stock picks once you’re up and running.
Referral program – Robinhood offers a robust referral program. If you invite a friend and they join, you both get free stock. The stock is randomly selected and this incentive is enough to get most people started.
Control – Remember how Acorns really doesn’t give you any control over your investments? Robinhood does the opposite! You’re free to buy anything and everything you want. This includes stocks, ETFs, REITs, bonds, cryptocurrency, options, gold, and many more. Below is an example of the search bar where you can search for practically any investment tool you want.
- Robinhood Tax Information – Robinhood generates all of your trading statements and history for you. This means you won’t need to track everything in excel by yourself. Even more, they automatically send it to you at the end of every month. Easy!
- No commissions trading – We mentioned this already but it’s worth repeating. They pioneered this trend!
- Robinhood Snacks – This is a newsletter that they offer for free. It gives you a snapshot of what is going on in the economy and business world. You can sign up to get it daily or weekly. We highly recommend it.
- TurboTax Integration – There’s no need to dread tax season anymore. Robinhood integrates TurboTax into its platform and makes the process as simple as answering a few questions.
- Cash Management – This is a newer feature. Robinhood can help you put your extra cash to work by essentially offering you a checking account. They allow you to earn .3% APY on any cash that isn’t invested.
How Does Robinhood Make Money?
So if Robinhood doesn’t charge any commissions on each trade you make, how exactly are they making their money. This is a great question (considering the fact that they’re valued at $7.6 billion). Since they’re still a private company this information isn’t publicly available, however, there are a few known ways that they make money.
- Interest – They have a lot of cash sitting in their user’s accounts that isn’t invested. Robinhood earns interest on this cash much like a bank earns interest on cash sitting in your savings account.
- Robinhood Gold – This is their premium account where you can trade on margin (borrowed money) among other features. This cost $5 per month.
- Margin Interest – Additionally, they earn interest on the money that you borrow to invest until that money is paid back. If some users are borrowing tens of thousands of dollars, this can turn into a nice revenue stream for Robinhood.
Robinhood is one of the best financial tools that you can use today. It’s easy and, similarly to Acorns, it was designed with the end-user in mind. We highly recommend getting started with their platform. That said, no platform is perfect.
Let’s see what some of the cons of using Robinhood are.
- Higher-level analytics – If you’re really savvy as an investor, you might still feel limited using Robinhood’s platform. They don’t have some of the data or statistical analysis that other tools have.
- Historical data – You’re unable to dive into the history of stock prices on Robinhood. You can get a glimpse of the past year, 5 years, or total history but if you want to see what was going on with a certain stock price 10 years ago, you’re out of luck.
Now that we’ve taken a look at some of the pros and cons of both platforms, let’s examine which one of these platforms is best for you.
Acorns Vs Robinhood Conclusion
Acorns and Robinhood are both superb differences. It wouldn’t be fair to recommend one over the other because the answer really comes down to what type of investor you are.
Therefore, we would recommend choosing Acorns if:
- You’re just getting started as an investor.
- You have never used an investment platform before or ever invested money.
- You don’t necessarily care about having total control over your investments. You’d rather someone do it for you.
- You don’t have time to sit and analyze stocks.
- You know yourself and know that you’d forget to invest money if left to your own devices.
- You don’t really care where your money is invested as long as it’s growing.
Additionally, we would recommend choosing Robinhood if:
- You like control over where you’re investing your money.
- You don’t mind doing some research if it means potentially earning a better return.
- You have a lot of ideas as to where you can invest your money.
- You like to read about the economy and business in your free time.
- You are interested in earning as high or a return as you can.
We hope that you found this article valuable and that it helped you understand the differences between Acorns and Robinhood. If you’re interested in reading more from us, check out our financial news.