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Stash Invest is like the investment coach you’ve always wanted.
It’s a great program for beginners that want to handle their investments themselves, but need advice along the way.
It costs a fraction of what a human advisor charges but offers similar advice.
Check out my review of Stash Invest to see how it stacks up.
What is Stash Invest?
Stash Invest isn’t your typical robo-advisor. Rather than handling your investments for you, they give you advice and you do it. I think it’s great for beginners that want to step away from the traditional robo-advisor and start learning how to invest themselves.
If you’ve never invested before, it’s also great for you, if you dare to manage the investments yourself. There’s no minimum balance required, which is great for those just figuring out the ropes.
How does it work?
Like most robo-advisors, you’ll answer the traditional questionnaire. This helps Stash figure out your timeline, financial goals, and risk tolerance. They use this information to guide your investments.
You’ll link your bank account to Stash and once you finish the questionnaire, they’ll create a portfolio that’s either conservative, moderate, or aggressive. Within each category, Stash has recommendations for investments, which they’ll help you choose.
Deposit and withdrawal
Stash limits deposits and withdrawals to $10,000 a day. Once you link your bank account, you can make deposits and withdrawals as needed through the app.
The Stash interface is clean and user-friendly. They have three screens that make it easy to see the information you want without getting overwhelmed. The portfolio screen is where you see an overview of your portfolio, your cash balance, and your return percentage. If you want more detailed information, click on the ‘balance’ tab so you can see your balance over time and your ‘potential’ tab lets you play with monthly deposit amounts to see how your portfolio would look after 1, 5, and 10 years.
Investors may open a individual taxable account as well as traditional or Roth IRAs. Stash also allows custodial accounts of parents that want to open an account for their kids.
What can you trade?
Stash trades only ETFs and individual stocks, but they have more than 2,000 investments to choose from. Stash doesn’t work in traditional portfolios – instead, they work in themes. (Similar to M1s “pies” or Folio Investing)
You can pick and choose from your favorites, such as healthcare, and Stash will direct you to the right investments based on your criteria.
Stash Invest is a subscription-based robo-advisor. You pay a monthly fee based on the program you want:
- Beginner – Cost is $1/month and includes one taxable account, a bank account, and provided education
- Growth – Cost is $3 month/ and includes a taxable account, retirement account, bank account, and provided education
- Stash+ – Cost $9/month and includes everything in the growth account plus an investing account for 2 children and a monthly insights report
Stash includes ‘most’ fees in the monthly subscription, but a few extra fees show up including:
- Paper confirmations $2
- Paper statements $5
- Outgoing ACAT $75
Stash Invests cash account is called Stash Banking. Every investor receives access to it. The bank account includes a debit card and does not have any overdraft or maintenance fees. You can withdraw funds from one of the many free ATMs and set up direct deposit with your employer.
If you use Stash Banking, you can set up round-ups, which enables Stash to round up your purchase to the nearest dollar every time you use your Stash card. Stash will transfer the spare change to your account to grow your investment account. You can also opt-in to cashback deals, which if you use will earn you cashback on certain purchases. You can send the money to your bank account or your investment account at no charge.
Customer support is available via email only Monday – Friday 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM ET and Saturday – Sunday 11 AM to 5 PM.
Education is an area that Stash shines. Since it’s for beginners, it makes sense that they have a robust educational center. Click on any of the many categories and learn how to save, invest, budget, and more. Stash covers a large number of topics in all aspects of investing, especially in the retirement arena, which is important for everyone to understand as early in life as possible.
Another benefit of using the Stash Debit card is the Stock-Back program. Like the cashback program, if you shop at participating retailers, you can earn fractional shares back rather than cash. It’s only 0.125 percent of your purchase that you earn, but every little bit adds up. Stash also has bonus Stock-Back offers that earn up to 5 percent on your purchases too.
Rather than cashing out your dividends, Stash can reinvest them if you opt-in to DRIP. This enables you to compound your earnings on certain investments. On retirement accounts, DRIP is automatic, but on taxable accounts, you must opt-in.
Stash Invest Pros and Cons
Who is Stash Invest best for?
Stash Invest works best for beginners. If you want someone holding your hand, telling you what to invest in and how much to invest, you’ll enjoy this service. It enables you to learn the ropes of investing without jumping in headfirst and trying to figure it out yourself.
Can you cancel Stash at any time?
Yes, you can cancel your subscription at any time. It may take up to 10 days to complete. All assets in your account will be sold and all cash in your cash account will get transferred to your bank account. If you’re canceling a retirement account, make sure you talk to your tax advisor first to see how to do it without triggering a tax liability.
Can you change your Stash plan at any time?
Yes, you can change your subscription whenever you want. Stash will figure out your new monthly fees and take them out of your account each month. Keep in mind, if you downgrade from having a retirement account, you may trigger a tax liability if you aren’t careful.
What happens if Stash goes out of business?
Since Stash doesn’t hold your funds, you don’t have to worry about losing everything. Apex Clearing holds your funds and has SIPC insurance, which means your investments are protected for up to $500,000 in assets and $250,000 in cash.
What stocks will I earn with Stock-Back?
Normally, you earn stock back from the company you bought from, such as Walmart or Amazon. If you buy from a company that Stash doesn’t have investments available, they provide you with a diversified ETF instead.
What is Auto-Stash?
Stash has a few ways to automatically save. ‘Set Schedule’ lets you set up automatic deposits at predetermined intervals; Round-Ups rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the spare change, and Smart-Stash evaluates your bank account looking for ‘free cash’ that they can sweep into your investment account. Stash won’t sweep more than $5 at a time into your investment account, but every dollar counts.
Can you withdraw money whenever you want?
Yes, you can withdraw from your Stash account whenever you want. However, if Stash has to liquidate an investment, it could take a few days to receive your cash. Only cash in the cash account is immediately transferred.
How does Stash Invest make money?
Stash Invest makes money on the monthly subscription fees. No one can use Stash Invest without subscribing.
Stash Invest vs M1 Finance
M1 Finance is a broker that offers commission-free trades. M1 helps investors create ‘pies’ rather than portfolios. The pies have pieces made of different investments to help diversify the funds.
M1 doesn’t charge management fees or commissions but is best for experienced investors that know what they’re doing but want a little hand-holding.
Stash Invest vs Acorns
Acorns is another great robo-advisor for beginning investors, but also those with little to no money to start. Acorns links to your most used credit card and rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar.
They sweep the change into your investment account, investing the funds once you accumulate $5. Acorns invests in 5 different asset classes and doesn’t have human advisors available.
Stash Invest vs Robinhood
Robinhood is the pioneer in commission-free trades. It only offers taxable accounts – no retirement accounts, but they offer fractional shares, which not many brokers offer.
Robinhood is good for investors that want to handle their own investments but don’t want the hefty fees. It’s like having an advisor in your back pocket so you don’t make huge mistakes, but you don’t have to pay the hefty fees for a human advisor. You use the expertise of the robo-advisor’s technology.
Currently there are no promotions.
Worth It or a Scam?
Stash is worth it if you don’t trust yourself to make investing decisions, but don’t want the passive nature of a traditional robo-advisor. You’ll pay heftier fees unless you have a lot invested. Even though $1 a month doesn’t sound like a lot, if you only have a few dollars invested, the percentage of assets under management is high.
Is Stash Invest worth it, though? Yes, it’s especially great for beginners looking to start somewhere. You may not stay there forever, but for the time being while you learn the ropes, it can be a great choice.
The education Stash offers is incredible for beginners. If you’re looking for a way to avoid expensive mistakes and yet try your hand at investing, Stash Invest is a great way to start.
You can always cancel your subscription once you get the hang of it, but many people find that they love the handholding and end up sticking around.
Use the following Quiz and find out which robo advisor is best for you.
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Michael is a senior writer at The Robo Investor. He earned his master’s at the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY, and is currently taking CFP courses at the University of Scranton. He has been an avid finance enthusiast ever since he started investing at the age of 23. Meet the Team