Stock trading is fun. It is! You don’t believe me, do you? Stocks are always going to be a risky avenue for someone to invest in, but the potential returns on a great choice of stock are something unparalleled in the investment industry.
You can always check out the latest info on Investopedia or The Motley Fool to help you gain more knowledge on particular stocks, but if you are a beginner, you may want to look into a low-cost trading platform to get things going.
One of the newer alternatives to the popular Robinhood app (lower on the list), Webull is a Free Stock Trading platform that will enable you to trade any sort of stock for free. With a robust and easy to navigate platform, it’s no wonder the growth of this option is becoming a respectable trading platform.
Although the professional tools on the app can be considered a tad more technical than Robinhood, it’s Free so it’s best for those with a decent amount of experience trading stocks.
Want to get into stocks but want to invest in high priced ones like Amazon, Apple, and Google (Alphabet)? Stockpile enables a user to buy a portion of stock so that you can still own a portion of the company but as a fractional stock. For example, you could indeed purchase Amazon stock for as little as $5! It will act as a portion of the stock, and not as a whole so you’ll have the same yield but only for what you get at $5.
Let’s say one stock is $1000 and you buy a $5 portion of it; you’d own .005 of just one stock. While it’s not much, you can build, or StockPile small portions of stocks and it’ll act as if you are still partial stock owners of highly respected and growing companies!
If you are a beginner, there are some cases where you should seek professional assistance when it comes to investing. Betterment can be that professional. A Certified Financial Planner will assist you, or CFP for short, when you start investing through this platform, and you can choose from stock portfolios hand-picked from these professionals.
Stock portfolios are a group of stocks based on growth potential and overall better yield for your dollar. With Betterment, you won’t be able to choose specific stocks, which is a bummer but still offers one of the best stock investment platforms bang for your buck. Charging only a .25% Annual Fee which let’s say is $1000, you’d be paying Betterment $2.50 each year.
3: Ally Invest
Formerly TradeKing, Ally Invest can link up with a current Ally Bank account for quick transfers of investments. For less than $5 per trade, Ally Invest acts more of a traditional stock trading platform with decent reporting and analysis of each potential stock you’d like to trade for.
Although it takes a decent amount of time to actually buy stocks, unlike some other trading platforms, Ally Invest is good for intermediate Stock Traders who know the industry well, but are looking for an affordable, newer, and robust trading platform!
If you’ve been living under a rock, or just heard about stock trading lately, then you’ve probably never heard of Robinhood. For everyone else, Robinhood is known for it’s totally free stock trading app. You can trade stocks for no additional fee, buy most stocks around and even get into cryptocurrency.
The biggest drawback here is that there is no platform available for web, PC, or Mac making this a smartphone app only. Recently, Robinhood is now opening up their Browser based platform, so now you can trade from your PC or Mac…and it’s pretty awesome!
Still, you can trade stocks through a beautiful platform, and get even more flexibility if you decide to get into Robinhood Gold, which will increase your account trading size from $100s to $1000s in stock trading, plus have quicker transfer access.
1: M1 Finance
Is there an app that does all of the above, cost nothing, and have a PC/Web/Mac interface as well?! Yes, the answer is undoubtedly M1 Finance. You can invest in portions of stock, like Stockpile, you can choose to invest in portfolios of stock, hand picked by professionals, it’s Free, it’s Easy, and Hello…Why Haven’t You Tried Them Yet! It’s the ideal stock investment platform out there, and it’s number 1 on our list.
OK, sure it’s not as pretty as Robinhood, yet, but it might be down the road. M1 Finance is a perfect app for beginners and advanced alike. For those who are intermediate, or looking to fine-tune their stock trading skills, we’re not sure. For the vast majority, we’ll point you towards M1 Finance today!
Noteworthy Mentions: Stash Invest, Acorns
Should You Invest or Put it into Savings?
Whenever I see someone pay a restaurant bill with a debit card, inside my Money Hacking mind, I cringe inside. Debit cards rarely reward you for paying bills, whereas typical cash back or travel credit card will. The same thing is true with most Savings Accounts versus Investing.
Though there are exceptions to hosting a savings account long-term, it’s not the most financially savvy way to earn more over time. Here is what I think you should be doing with excess money…and I’m not a financial advisor of any kind, but living a comfortable life!
When Savings Accounts Are Useful
Savings Accounts are around for a reason. Protection. Life has so many ups and downs and curveballs that you’ll almost undoubtedly have a life event where you’ll need to have extra cash on hand. Dipping into your Checking or Credit Card accounts are the last thing you should do in these cases. This is where a well-funded savings account comes in. However, in most cases, you’ll probably need around $10,000 in a savings account. If you’ve already got that in your Savings account, good for you! If not, continue to fund your high yield savings account to get to that number. There’s a money hack that comes in the form of a High Yield Savings Account from CITBank.
Savings accounts also provide an excellent place to keep Estimated Taxes if you are a freelancer or sole proprietor. The government expects a quarterly payment to the IRS. If you don’t pay it, you’ll likely incur a charge at the year-end Tax season. Hosting an Estimated Tax Savings account in which you fund about a quarter of your revenue will probably protect you from any substantial fees or taxes at year’s end. Plus, by funding the savings account, you can still earn interest!
You can pay off Estimated Taxes on Plastiq! Use your reward credit card to pay (2.5% fee) the estimated taxes, then pay off the CC with your Estimated Tax Savings Account!
Outside of those two reasons, hosting a savings account may become a bit cloudy regarding what you should do. If you have the $10,000 in the Savings account, but you may need more to cover a life event and have invested other money, you may need to find other options for a temporary loan. We’ve partnered up with EVEN to help you find the best loans. If you get a reasonable rate on a personal loan, you can still earn more money through investments. Pay attention to the interest rates, as those are the critical factors for incoming and outgoing cash!
Investing is Overall Better in the Long Run
Finding a good investment that will pay you better than a high yield savings account is relatively straightforward. You can choose to participate in Prosper’s Peer to Peer Marketplace where you invest in other people’s loans. Utilize Fundrise’s eREIT investing and get around 9% dividends. We’ve already seen some better returns on the trial Fundrise account:
With Real Estate, it’s a safer investment than let’s say Cryptocurrency, where it’s new and unpredictable. You can try to invest there, but the risk is higher of course. Put in $10,000 through investing like this, and you’ll see much better returns and dividends than a traditional savings account!
To answer the question: Which is better to do, Savings or Invest is up to the person. Life has many variables, but it’s always a good idea to start looking at safe investments over savings accounts due to the higher yield.
However, MOST people miss the High Yield Savings Accounts that Online Banking offers. CITBank is a terrific way to save and also get some return also. Some investments don’t even pay the 1.75% yield that CIT provides!