stocks

How $5 and the Stash App Turned Me Into an Investor

Super-low minimums and smartphone accessibility make it easy for young investors to learn the ropes.

Five bucks, a smartphone, and boom: I'm an instant investor. With the Stash app, the investing world suddenly became more accessible and less intimidating to me.

I’ve only been a Stash user for a few weeks, but I’m impressed so far. The minimum investment—you only need $5 to get started—initially attracted me. Because I’m a first-time investor, the larger amounts required to open a traditional brokerage account put investing somewhat out of reach. But with Stash, I’m learning about markets and trading, along with learning about my tolerance for risk, without putting too much money on the line. I’m hoping these lessons will pay off down the road when I have a bigger nest egg to invest. In the meantime, there’s no excuse not to try the Stash app because my phone is always a few inches from me.

The key to Stash's success is that it narrows your investment choices to just a few suitable options, rather than leaving it up to you to pick from the many thousands of stocks, bonds and funds available to individual investors. How does it work? When I signed up for the app, I answered questions about my age, employment status, investment goals, risk tolerance, time horizon and so on. Based on that information, Stash assigned me a risk level, which helps determine the investment choices I have. Stash says I have a "moderate" risk level, when it comes to investing; other risk levels are "conservative" and "aggressive."

The Stash app scores points for creativity by serving up investment choices in three relatable categories: I Believe, I Like and I Want. As the name suggests, the I Believe category lets you invest in your convictions, from clean energy to workplace equality. The I Like category offers investments in the things you, well, might like, from social media to shopping. The I Want category emphasizes choices that align with your investing goals, in particular your risk tolerance and time horizon, to make sure you will actually be able to get what you want.

Despite the monthly fee, I'm willing to stick with Stash once the free trial expires. I see the app as a way to build my investing chops and figure out who I am as an investor. I'm learning how to ride the market at the expense of a few soy lattes at Starbucks – calories I can do without anyway.

Most Popular

Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021
How to Calculate the Break-Even Age for Taking Social Security
social security

How to Calculate the Break-Even Age for Taking Social Security

When it comes to maximizing your Social Security benefits, there are many elements to consider. One factor that can be especially enlightening is your…
August 30, 2021
Spend Without Worry in Retirement
Financial Planning

Spend Without Worry in Retirement

Fears of running out of money prevent many retirees from tapping the nest egg they’ve worked a lifetime to save. With these strategies, you can genera…
August 30, 2021

Recommended

Stock Market Today (9/17/21): Stocks End Choppy Week With a Loss
Stock Market Today

Stock Market Today (9/17/21): Stocks End Choppy Week With a Loss

A lower-than-expected reading on consumer sentiment had the major indexes erasing weekly gains.
September 17, 2021
Kiplinger's Weekly Earnings Calendar
stocks

Kiplinger's Weekly Earnings Calendar

Check out our earnings calendar for the upcoming week, as well as our previews of the more noteworthy reports.
September 17, 2021
Stock Market Today (9/16/21): Stocks Weeble, Wobble, But Finish Mostly Flat
Stock Market Today

Stock Market Today (9/16/21): Stocks Weeble, Wobble, But Finish Mostly Flat

An up-and-down session Thursday finished with muted results despite a volley of encouraging economic signals.
September 16, 2021
Stock Market Today (9/15/21): Energy Leads Broad Market Snap-Back
Stock Market Today

Stock Market Today (9/15/21): Energy Leads Broad Market Snap-Back

Upbeat economic data helped provide a tailwind for most stocks, but energy really shone as tight inventories sent oil prices soaring.
September 15, 2021