6 best investment apps in December 2020

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Looking for the best investing apps to get your financial life back on track? A solid finance app can handle routine financial tasks, shuffle money into investing accounts, track spending and more. That leaves you free to do more of the things you really love to do.

Here are some of the top apps for getting your finances organized and invested. These apps aren’t from traditional stock brokers. Rather, this list includes non-traditional apps that help you manage your finances and invest. So you won’t find the same old list of brokers here.

All of these apps are great for beginners, and they make it easy for those just starting to invest or someone looking to play a stock-picking game for fun.

Here are the best investment apps in December:

Overview: Top investment apps in 2020

Acorns: Best for worry-free savings

Acorns is one of the older of the new breed of finance apps, but it remains one of the most popular, because of how easy it is to use. You really don’t have to pay much attention once you’ve set up the app. Link a debit or credit card to your account, and Acorns will round up the total on purchases to the next dollar and invest that difference into one of a few ETF portfolios.

The cost is a modest $1 per month for Acorns Invest, though the company offers other features. If you want to take a step up, you can move to Acorns Later, which is bundled with Acorns Invest, for an additional $1 per month. Acorns Later is the company’s version of an individual retirement account (IRA), and you’ll be able to open one of three versions: the traditional, Roth or a SEP.

You can even roll over an existing 401(k) or IRA to Acorns Later. Acorns chooses your portfolio based on the targeted time until your retirement (calculated as age 59 ½), becoming more conservative as your near that age.

And for an additional $1 per month, you can add Acorns Spend, which provides a FDIC-protected checking account with a debit card, among other things.

Why you want this app: You like getting automatic savings while you’re spending without worrying about it. You like retirement investing without the hassle.

Robinhood: Best for fee-free trading

Robinhood is the app to have if you like avoiding trading commissions. The app allows you to trade stocks, ETFs, options and cryptocurrency all for free, and you’ll be able to do it in a slick mobile interface that makes smooth work of it all. The stripped-down app is simple to navigate, and after a while you’ll move from screen-to-screen intuitively as you trade the market.

You can access a stock’s page from a search bar at the top of the screen, and pull up charts and vital statistics. Also useful is a feed that aggregates stories from news and investing sites, so that you keep on top of what’s going on. After you’ve decided what you want to trade and enter the number of shares to buy or sell, swipe up and the order is on its way. Another great feature of the app is instant delivery of the first $1,000 of any funds you deposit to the account, so you can start trading immediately. (Here’s Bankrate’s full review of the broker.)

Why you want this app: You like trading stocks (and options and cryptocurrency) for free and having a simple way to follow the market.

Wealthbase: Best for social experience

Wealthbase is a newer entrant into the world of stock market games, and it may be the most user-friendly investing app out there for having fun and picking stocks. You can set up games with friends to last however long you want – a few weeks, days, even just until the end of the day.

Two things set Wealthbase apart in the stock simulator world: first, the app marries social media with stock picking. You’ll see a feed of stocks your friends are picking, with daily updates of who’s winning, and even a little friendly “trash talk.” Second, the app runs very smoothly – no delays to load, no hiccups. Even if you’re not a huge stock-picker, you’ll have fun here. And you can trade crypto in the simulation as well.

You can access Wealthbase on the web or via mobile app.

Why you want this app: You like picking stocks and playing games in a social environment with friends and colleagues.

Betterment: Best for low cost

Betterment is one of the (relatively) new wave of robo-advisers, and it’s one of the largest and most popular. The app provides professionally managed portfolios using a selection of ETFs and is calibrated against your own risk tolerance. If you’re willing to stomach a little more risk, the app can find you a higher return. If you need a safer portfolio, Betterment can do that, too. You can set up Betterment and then kick back while the pros do the rest of the work.

Betterment also charges a much smaller price than you’d pay for a traditional financial adviser. That management fee for the basic account amounts to 0.25 percent – a competitive rate in the robo-adviser world. So it costs $25 annually for every $10,000 you have invested, but you will have to pay extra for the ETFs that Betterment invests in, as you would at any robo-adviser. The app lets you set goals to invest for, such as a safety net or retirement, and there’s no account minimum.

Why you want this app: You like having a professionally managed portfolio for a low cost.

Stockpile: Best for gifting stocks

Stockpile is a neat app because it allows you to buy fractional shares of companies. So if you don’t have $300 to buy that one expensive tech stock, you can buy a half or a third of it, instead. Stockpile charges 99 cents a trade, and does not charge a monthly fee.

The other neat thing about Stockpile is that it allows you to give a gift card that’s redeemable for stock, so it may be a way to get a younger relative into investing in a fun way. You don’t even need an account to send a gift. Stockpile allows kids to track their investments at any time, and you can set a list of approved stocks for them to trade. The app lets kids share a wishlist of stocks with family and friends.

Why you want this app: You like investing but don’t have enough to buy high-priced stock and you like the idea of gifting stock to younger relatives.

Invstr: Best for learning about investing

Invstr is what you get when you mix learning, real-life investing and community into an app that’s designed to give beginning investors a way to get into stocks, especially if you like games. The app combines a fantasy stock game, where you can assist in managing a $200 billion virtual portfolio, with access to investors’ thoughts on stocks and other investments.

The fantasy game gives you $1 million in virtual money, and you can use the app’s social network and news feed to source ideas. The month’s top performers win real cash, too. And if you want to turn some of those fantasy picks into real-life stakes, you can buy fractional shares from $0.99 per trade and whole shares from $2.99 per trade in the app.

Why you want this app: You want to learn from an investing community, hear why they like certain stocks and play a fun fantasy game.

Learn more:

Editorial Disclaimer: All investors are advised to conduct their own independent research into investment strategies before making an investment decision. In addition, investors are advised that past investment product performance is no guarantee of future price appreciation.