Becoming a first time investor has become pretty popular in recent years! According to the 2021 CNBC/Momentive’s Invest In You Poll, 59% of respondents aged 18-34 years old began investing in 2020.
And 57% of those 18-34 year olds reported using self-service mobile apps to invest. Why? Probably because investment apps make it relatively cheap and easy to start investing as a beginner – even if you don’t know much about the stock market.
Investing apps also make it possible to put investing on auto-pilot so you can reach your financial goals without having to constantly monitor the stock market.
With over 5 million registered users, Stash is one of the most popular investment apps among new investors. One of the reasons for that is because Stash makes it possible to invest on a budget as low as $5/month! But, as you may know, Stash isn’t your only option for investment apps.
That’s why, in this Stash review, we’ll help you decide if it’s the right one for you by answering common questions like:
- What is Stash?
- How does Stash work?
- How much does opening an account cost?
- What are the pros and cons of Stash for a beginner investor?
- What do you need to open an account?
- How do you set up an account?
- How much money can you make with Stash?
- How do you withdraw your money from Stash?
Feel free to read along in that order. Or, jump ahead to the section that interests you most right now. Either way, let’s begin!
What Is Stash?
Stash is an investment app that makes it easy for you to invest small amounts of money in the stock market. Currently, there are more than 5 million Stash customers who use the app to invest as little as $5 a month.
How Does Stash Work?
$5 a month isn’t much. And, so, you may be wondering: how is that even possible when you consider that buying even 1 stock in any major US company can cost thousands of dollars? Is Stash legit for investing if your monthly contribution is a fraction of how much stocks really cost?
Good questions! And both of them can be answered by explaining how Stash works.
By investing with Stash, what you’re really doing is buying a portion of a share of a stock. These are called fractional shares. For example, instead of buying 1 whole share of stock in a company like Apple, you can buy 1/20 of a share and still earn some money if the stock performs well.
But Stash isn’t the only finance app that lets you buy fractional shares. That’s a common feature among other micro-investing apps like Acorns. What makes Stash different from its competitors are the features and benefits that come with their subscription plans.
How Much Does Stash Cost?
When you sign up for Stash, you have 2 subscription plans to choose from: Stash Growth, Stash+. Here’s how much is each plan’s monthly fee, who the plan is best for, and its additional benefits.
|Monthly Fee||Ideal User||Additional Benefits|
|Stash Growth||$3||People who want to expand their long-term wealth building plan|
|Stash+||$9||Savvy wealth builders and debit card spenders|
Pros and Cons of the Stash App
Stash makes investing as a beginner easy. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right way for you to start investing. So, here’s a list of the pros and cons to help you decide whether you want to open a Stash investment account.
Cheap introduction to investing. By buying fractional shares, you can create an investment portfolio on Stash with just 1 cent. Unlike most brokerage accounts, there’s also no minimum balance needed to start a Stash investment account.
Automated investing. Within your investment account, you can set up how much money you want to automatically invest each month and which stocks and ETFs you want to invest in. Then, the money gets pulled right from your bank account (almost like an automatic bill payment) and you can let your investments build on auto-pilot.
You can also have your purchases rounded up to the nearest dollar so that, once you reach $5, that money automatically gets invested.
Beginner-friendly educational content. The Stash app has educational content that teaches you the basics of investing and shares investment advice so you can learn how to invest on your own.
Balanced investment portfolios. With a Stash Growth or Stash+ subscription, you can sign up for a Stash Smart Portfolio, which helps you manage some of the risks involved with investing by creating a balanced portfolio.
Stock back rewards. When you shop using the Stock-Back® debit Card*, you get rewarded with money that automatically goes toward building your investment portfolio.
High monthly fees for small investment accounts. If you only plan on investing a small amount of money per month, the fees for any of Stash’s membership plans are higher than you’d find from some other investment options.
Note: This con can be avoided if you use your Stash debit card on regular expenses (e.g. gas, Netflix, groceries) to earn enough rewards to cancel out the low monthly fees.
No personalized investment advice. If you want tailor made investment advice on topics like how to build a strategic investment portfolio, you won’t get that from Stash. For that, you’d need to speak with a certified financial advisor or wealth management service.
High expenses on ETFs. The exchange-traded funds on Stash have relatively high expense ratios when compared to some other investing platforms. That means you’ll pay more for operational expenses (e.g. administrative costs to manage the fund) than you might elsewhere.
Note: All ETFs charge shareholders an expense ratio. This is true whether you choose to invest with Stash or, for example, with a brokerage account.
What Do You Need to Open an Account on the Stash App?
Does Stash sound like a good way for you to start investing? Awesome! But, first, make sure you meet the basic eligibility requirements to open an account:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be a U.S. citizen, permanent U.S. resident, or holder of certain U.S. visa types
- Have an active checking account
How to Sign Up for Stash
You can open an account on Stash today and begin investing this week! Here’s everything you need to do to open your account in around 30 minutes.
Step 1 – Download The Stash App
You can download the Stash app and open an account on Stash’s website.
Step 2 – Click Get Started And Provide Your Details
When opening your Stash account, you’ll be asked to share your:
- Email address
- Cell phone number
- Mailing address
- Social security number
- Pre-tax annual income
This information is used to verify your identity and set up your Stash account.
Step 3 – Select Your Subscription Plan
Next, you need to select which of the Stash subscription plans best meets your investment goals.
As a reminder, Stash Growth costs $3/month, and Stash+ costs $9/month. You can pay for the subscription using a credit or debit card.
Currently, Stash is also offering new users the 1st month free! They also will give you a $5 bonus credit to put toward buying stock in companies like Apple or Tesla.
Step 4 – Answer Questions About Your Investing Goals And Risk Tolerance
Next, Stash will ask you to create your investment profile. To start, the app will ask you questions about:
- Your employment status
- Your estimated net worth
- Your tax filing status for this year
- Whether you’re currently saving for retirement
- How much experience you have with investing
- How much risk you want to take while investing
- When you plan to withdraw the money you invest
They’ll use your answers to all of those questions to provide recommendations as you build your investment portfolio.
Step 5 – Secure Your Account
Now, you need to secure your account. For that, all you need to do is provide your social security number.
You’ll also be asked some legally required questions and if you’d like to add a trusted contact in case there’s any suspicion of fraud. But answering the legal questions takes 1-2 minutes as they don’t apply to most people. And adding a trusted contact is optional.
Step 6 – Set Up Automatic Funding
Next, you’ll be asked to fund your accounts. To do that, you’ll be asked to select a transfer schedule for your personal investment portfolio and Stash banking account.
You can choose to put nothing in the Stash banking account. But if you want to get the Stock-Back® Card that rewards you with stock after certain purchases, you need to deposit money in your Stash banking account.
You can change your automatic money transfer schedule at any time.
Step 7 – Link Your Bank Account
To fund your account, you’ll need to transfer funds from a checking account. So, the next step is linking your bank account.
But before Stash can link your checking account, you’ll need to verify that the account is yours. Depending on the method you use, this can be done instantly (using Plaid) or manually, which takes around 3 business days.
Once the account is linked, it takes an additional 2-4 business days for the money to transfer from your checking account to your Stash account.
Note: You cannot fund your Stash investment or banking account using a credit card.
Step 8 – Decide Whether You’d Like To Invite A Friend
You’re almost done with setting up your account now. Now, you just need to decide whether you’d like to refer a friend to Stash.
This step is optional. So, no worries if you’d like to try Stash on your own before recommending it to anyone else.
But, if you do refer a friend and that friend opens a Stash account, you could both receive a $20 credit to buy stock in a company of your choosing. You can also refer your friends later and earn up to $1,000 in bonus investments.
Step 9 – Choose Your Investments
Once the funds reach your account, you can begin choosing your investments.
If you’re not sure what to invest in yet, you may want to consider subscribing to the Stash Growth or Stash+ plans. As a member of either plan, you gain access to Stash Smart Portfolios. These investment portfolios are automatically balanced and managed by Stash to fit your risk tolerance.
If you want to invest on your own, you’ll buy stocks through your Personal Portfolio. Within the Personal Portfolio, you can search companies and ETFs.
Although the Personal Portfolio is less hands-off than a Smart Portfolio, Stash still makes using this DIY investment portfolio easy to use for beginners by showing you a curated selection of stocks, companies by industry, and ETFs by categories that are easy to understand.
You can also take advantage of the investment advice within the app to learn more about how to invest in stocks and ETFs.
How Much Money Can You Make With Stash?
Stash is just like any other investment account. And investing involves risk, which means, there’s no guaranteed amount of money you can make. It all depends on things outside of Stash’s control like the state of the stock market when you’re ready to withdraw.
That being said, learning how to invest in the stock market early in life is one of the best ways to build wealth over the long term. And, the earlier you start, the better!
How to Withdraw Money From Stash
If at any point you’d like to withdraw your money from your Stash investment or Stash banking account, you can do it easily by following these instructions:
Using the app:
- Open the app
- Tap the Transfer button on the bottom of the screen
- Select the accounts you wish to move money from and to
- Enter the amount you wish to transfer
- Tap Continue to move forward
- Tap Transfer to confirm the transaction
On the Stash website:
- Go to Stash.com
- Select Home on the navigation bar
- Select Personal portfolio
- Select Transfer
- Select the account you wish to move money from and to
- Enter the amount you wish to transfer
- Click Confirm to move forward
- Click Make Transfer to confirm the transaction
Note: When you withdraw money, it will be taken out of your Stash accounts immediately. But it can take up to 5 business days for that money to arrive in your bank account.
If you’re on a budget yet want to start investing to prepare for your future, Stash is a great option. Because Stash lets you buy fractional shares, you can invest with as little as $5/month!
On top of that, Stash makes it easy to set your investment strategy on auto-pilot with:
- Automatic transfers from your bank account to your investment portfolio
- Stock back rewards to purchase stocks just by using the Stock-Back® debit card
- The option to round up purchases made with your card to the nearest dollar and invest the change when it reaches a total of $5
Oh! Don’t forget that if you sign up now, you can also get your first month free and $5 credit to invest in a stock of your choice! To get the credit, you need to successfully open a Personal Portfolio, link a funding source and deposit at least $5. This applies to Stash Growth, and Stash+ plans.
And if you want more financial tips for beginners, be sure to also check out the rest of our blog where we share tips on topics like the best ways to make an extra $500 a month and how to build credit fast.