We’re calling it: 2022 is the year we’re going to make our money work for us. There are so many financial stressors to navigate as an adult, from paying off your mortgage to navigating life insurance, picking out credits cards to signing up for a 401k — and somehow you have to make sure you’re saving enough, too. It’s overwhelming, but investing your money in a way that serves you doesn’t have to be.
Investment doesn’t have to be scary or involve a ton of risk. Even if you’re being pressured to explore cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, you really can opt for simpler paths. It can actually be easy, empowering and sort of fun. You no longer have to be super wealthy or rich enough to hire a financial advisor in order to invest in the stock market. All you need is some change you’re willing to part with for the time being, and an app you like and trust to help curate your portfolio. We’ve rounded up our favorite investment tools for beginners looking to expand their wealth without risking it all in the process.
If you’re reading to start making money with your money, then read on for the best investment tools and apps for beginners. You got this!
What to Consider Before Choosing an Investment Tool As a Beginner
There are a few important factors to consider before choosing an introductory investment tool. There are, thankfully, many tools out there aimed at making investing and building an investment portfolio easier for everyone. Here are a few factors to consider before picking the app or platform that’s right for you:
How Much Money Do You Have to Invest?
Many of the apps below don’t have a minimum account balance for investing, or if they do, the amount is quite low. This lowers the barrier of entry significantly, and it means you don’t have to be wealthy or have a lot of disposable income to invest. Nonetheless, for financial planning purposes, you’ll want to consider exactly how much money you can afford to invest on a monthly and annual basis.
Which Types of Investment Opportunities Are You Looking For?
Many of the apps below offer a variety of opportunities for investing your money — including stock options, EFTs, IPOs and fractional shares as well. If there’s one or two you’re looking for in particular, you’ll want to choose an app that offers those as an option, and it could help you narrow down your search.
How Much Control Do You Want to Have Over Your Investment Portfolio?
There are some investment tools below, like Motley Fool, that offer expert advice but leave the investment decisions in your hands. There are others that simply take your money and manage your whole portfolio for you. There are some, of course, that do both. Consider how much control and ownership you want to have over our investment opportunities, and choose your platform carefully from there. If letting an expert be in the driver’s seat sounds appealing, there are definitely apps that can make that happen.
Are You Interested in Alternative Investment Vehicles?
If you are interested in investing in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum, then some of the retail investment tools featured below will allow you to buy and sell crypto the same way that you would buy and sell traditional stocks. If that feature appeals to you, then you’ll want to pick an app like Robin Hood.
1. Stock Advisor by The Motley Fool
The Motley Fool is an excellent resource for investors, and Stock Advisor, the company’s stock recommendation service, is perfect for new investors worried about making the wrong stock choices. To date, more than 1 million investors have leveraged Stock Advisor, which has beaten the market for 19 straight years. Let us put it this way: if you had invested $10,000 with Stock Advisor in 2002, you’d have more than $350,000 sitting in your investment account right now. Back in 2002, Stock Advisor recommended investing in Marvel (now owned by Disney), a stock that’s increased 8,567% in the years since.
A Stock Advisor membership is currently 60% off* for new members through February. With a membership you’ll receive two monthly stock recommendations, a regular newsletter, monthly updates from The Motley Fool team on the ten stocks they believe are the best buys of the moment, an annual set of “Starter Stocks” for beginners, and an online platform of updates regarding major company changes, sell recommendations, and more. It’s a no-brainer investment membership for newbies, and it’s currently discounted to just $79/year* for new members.
Returns as of 1/12/22. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Individual investment results may vary. All investing involves risk of loss.
*Based on $199/year list price. Introductory promotion for new members only. Stock Advisor will renew at the then current list price.
Robinhood’s active community of users has made major ripples in the past due to the democratic nature of their mission and an ambitious plan to game the Wall Street system. And for people who are just as interested in Bitcoin as they are in traditional investments, it’s a great app. We still think it’s an excellent place to begin investing as a beginner, and it’s very effectively gamified the investment process. Unlike Stock Advisor, which merely recommends stocks and smart investments, Robinhood let’s you purchase stocks and watch the value rise or fall in real time.
The Robinhood app is commission-free and they offer even new investors the ability to get in at the IPO price for newly publicly traded companies. There are no minimum account balances or requirements for special status, and you can request shares in new companies before their stock becomes available for trading with the public. You can invest any amount you wish, customize your portfolio with different types of companies and funds to reduce risk, and trade in real-time.
BEST FOR BABY STEPS
If you’re brand new to investing and want (or need) to take things slow, Acorns is the investment platform for you. They’re all about helping you invest with any amount of money, and that a little amounts to a lot over time. Their RoundUps platform allows you to invest any space change you’ve got, a piece of your paycheck or other cash you’ve got lying around and help it grow in real-time. They use bank-level security to protect your funds and personal information, and you can set up accounts for you and your family quickly and easily. They’ve got memberships for $3 or $5 per month, as well as customized options for retirement and children too.
Betterment is another investment platform designed to make investing accessible for beginners. They start off with a little information gathering about how much you want to invest, why you want to invest and your timeline. You can start with an investing goal or a general investing account, and then from there they take care of the more complicated parts. Your portfolio will be custom-built using diversified, low-cost EFT’s, and they’ll make recommendations once new, better funds become available.
BEST FOR INVESTORS WHO LIKE CHOICE
If you love investing in certain types of companies or want to use your money to invest in a certain industry, Stash gives you the option to do so. Investors have the option to choose the stocks they want and build their portfolios based on their individual interests. Their platform uses fractional shares to enable you to invest only what you can afford on a set schedule. They also have long-term retirement goal options as well as children’s investment accounts. Like Robin Hood, Stash also lets users invest in alternative investment vehicles such as cryptocurrency.
6. SoFi Invest
SoFi’s investing tool comes with options for IPO investing, active investing, automated investing, retirement accounts and even cryptocurrency. You can trade stocks, EFTs and more all in one place. Their investment platform is fee-free and allows you to have as much or as little control over your investment portfolio as you’d like. The minimum to open an account is $5.00 and you can purchase fractional shares making it a beginner-friendly platform no matter what your budget looks like.
GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE
If trading makes you nervous, and you want to be able to talk to a person whenever you need help, Fidelity is the way to go. Their investment platform comes with all sorts of perks like $0 trading fees and a $0 account minimum, and their customer service was ranked top-notch by NerdWallet in 2022. You have a broad choice of investments when you use them, from stock options to EFTs, mutual funds, IPOs and more, and their fractional share trading makes dollar-based investing easy as well.