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
You Can Appeal a Medicare Premium Surcharge
Medicare

You Can Appeal a Medicare Premium Surcharge

If you meet one of the seven qualifying life events, you have a good chance of getting a higher premium for Medicare Part B and Part D reduced.
June 16, 2021
12 Housing Stocks to Ride the Red-Hot Market
investing

12 Housing Stocks to Ride the Red-Hot Market

The U.S. has a housing shortage and a love affair with home improvement, both of which could create tailwinds for this group of housing stocks.
June 8, 2021

Recommended

Bonds: 10 Things You Need to Know
Investing for Income

Bonds: 10 Things You Need to Know

Bonds can be more complex than stocks, but it's not hard to become a knowledgeable fixed-income investor.
July 22, 2020
Stock Market Today 6/21/21: Stocks Sizzle to Start Off the New Week
Stock Market Today

Stock Market Today 6/21/21: Stocks Sizzle to Start Off the New Week

The market rebounded violently from last week's selloff, led by a roaring energy sector in the face of climbing oil-price estimates.
June 21, 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.
June 20, 2021
Stock Market Today 6/18/21: Dow Suffers Worst Week in 8 Months
Stock Market Today

Stock Market Today 6/18/21: Dow Suffers Worst Week in 8 Months

St. Louis Fed President Jim Bullard's hawkish views on interest rates sent the major blue-chip indexes to solid losses to close out the week.
June 18, 2021