Cryptocurrency and NFTs have made a lot of people rich in a short time. But like any short-term money-making venture, these alternative investment tools haven’t worked out for everyone. Crypto scams have cost investors one billion dollars, to say nothing of the crash that wiped out hundreds of billions of dollars in crypto’s market value. That’s why if you’re looking to invest, you might want to consider a more traditional route, such as stocks. You can passively put your money away in a diverse, low-risk portfolio, or you can take a more active role in your investments. Either of these can be a great alternative to the frequent ups and downs of the cryptocurrency market.
Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to get into the stock market without the use of a brokerage firm. We’ve written about some of our favorite investment tools for beginners previously, and there are tons of convenient apps and websites that allow you to trade and make financial decisions no matter where you are. We’ve rounded up some of the best traditional investment tools that allow you to earn money and start working toward your goals, whether that’s retirement or a new home.
When it comes to investing, a good first step is to consider your budget. There are no investments that carry zero risk, which is why you should do a financial check-up and see how much money you’re willing to potentially lose by putting it in the stock market. One great way to do that is by getting a budgeting app, which will allow you to better track your finances. We’ve picked out some great budgeting apps below, in addition to the best investment sites and apps that you can use to start earning today.
1. Stock Advisor by The Motley Fool
The Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor is one of the simplest, easiest tools to help you make investment decisions, and it’s trusted by over 1 million paying members. Stock Advisor is a surprisingly old-school tool in the world of apps, but that’s arguably a large part of its appeal. The Motley Fool emails monthly recommendations, with a breakdown of why these companies are worthwhile. Motley Fool offers a wide range of premium subscriptions depending on your portfolio size and risk tolerance, but the Stock Advisor is its most basic, affordable option for beginner investors. It costs $99 per year.
2. SoFi Automated Investing
If you’re looking for an all-in-one place to start investing, SoFi Invest is a great place to start. In addition to automated investing (also known as robo investing), SoFi also offers active investing and crypto. You can start by setting your financial goals, whether you’re saving up for retirement or starting your kid’s college fund early. And if you’re totally new to investing, SoFi is one of the easiest ways to get started; they let you invest as little as $1.
Digit is a similar option to Mint, with the added benefit of investment tools. It’s a great option for the modern investor, as it’s built around a sleek app that’s available for Apple and Android users. Digit allows you to see which bills are due and monitor your savings. Plus, you can start investing in an easy, low-risk way.
BEST FOR STARTING SMALL
Acorns is one of the most clever investment options available today. Here’s how it works: Acorns automatically rounds up spare change from purchases you make every day, whether that’s at the grocery store or during your lunch break. It then takes that change and puts it toward a diversified portfolio. It’s one of the easiest ways to invest without even thinking about it. Plus, you can invest in an ESG portfolio (environmental, social and corporate governance) so you can feel positive about the companies your money is going to.
Read More: The Best Investment Tools for Beginners
BEST FOR MONEY MANAGEMENT
When it comes to budgeting, you might understandably want to avoid another subscription that’ll deplete your finances. That’s why Mint is such a popular option; unlike many other financial tools, it’s free to use. Mint, a brand owned by Intuit, can help you track your monthly expenses and shows you how much you spend on things like streaming services. Plus, you can set budgets and monitor your credit score. However, it’s worth noting that this doesn’t have any investment tools; it’s simply a way to manage your personal finances.
Any time you want to make a financial decision, whether that’s applying for the best travel credit card or shopping around for a mortgage, you should consult Nerdwallet. Its website provides tons of concise, easy-to-understand evaluations of credit card companies and investment brokerages, with detailed pros and cons. Or, if you want to use Nerdwallet to manage your own personal finances, consider downloading the app.
There are a lot of buzzy young companies with app-based investment tools, but there are also plenty of traditional investment companies that make it easy to get started in investing. Fidelity is a great example, and it enjoys a five-star rating from Nerdwallet and is the top pick of Investopedia. That’s because it has $0 in fees and no account minimum, and it offers expert-backed planning and advice.
NO MINIMUM TO START
Betterment is a good robo advisor, especially if you’re fairly new to investing. Betterment has no account minimum to start, and has an annual fee of 0.25%. Betterment also features a socially responsible investing tool so you can put your money in companies whose values align with yours. And if you’re willing to dip your toes in the crypto market, Betterment has tools for that as well.