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Stash App Review
The Stash investing app was created to help novice traders learn about investing and let you access 60 different exchange-traded funds.
Meet Shane. Shane first starting working with The Tokenist in September of 2018 — and has happily stuck around ever since. Originally from Maine, ...
Updated October 08, 2021
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A recent study found that a large majority of US households, in fact 71% of them, are not being served fully by the investment community. There are almost 100 million Americans who do not even use financial services.
This is something that Stash CEO Brandon Krieg wants to change about investing. Even before he created Stash, Krieg states that he spent time talking to everyone about their money. He spoke to teachers, nurses, and other individuals who had issues climbing aboard the investment train, and he spoke to savvy investors about what they would change, too.
He found that there were considerable barriers for most people who had never invested before. One common issue was that they were not familiar with investing as a way to save and grow, particularly because no one in their families had ever tried. For these reasons, Krieg wanted to build a simple investment app.
Stash doesn’t invest for you — the platform aims to teach you how to invest. Many prefer the flat fee structure, though the access to socially responsible investing is making waves.
Account Minimum: $0
Fees: $1, $3, or $9 per month
Best for: New investors seeking education
Highlight: Unparalleled access to Socially Responsible Investing portfolios
Investor Warning: All investments involve risk, including loss of principal. The historical performance data for individual securities quoted on the Stash platform represents past performance, does not guarantee future results, is provided as is and solely for information purposes, is not advice or for trading purposes, may be subject to pricing delays, should not be used for tax reporting, may not reflect actual future performance, and is gross of Stash fees.
Stash App Pros and Cons
The mystery around brokerages and investing is changing now due to mobile trading apps and robo-advisors that allow you to just “set it and forget it.” However, Krieg wants people to understand how to use ETFs to save and invest, because he believes it’s easy to do.
For those currently without a savings or investing strategy, Stash may offer some new ideas towards investing, but to be clear, the app is not a robo-advisor and cannot manage your accounts for you. However, Stash tries to give you more options and can align with your goals in a simple way to help people who don’t know how to invest.
Incredible automated guidance and educational system that offers a robo-advisor feel
Low account minimum and commission-free trades
Access to fractional shares, round-up investing, and automated “Auto-Stash” feature for effortless saving
Themed and value-based investment offerings for socially conscious and selective investors
Incredibly simple and fun-to-invest-with mobile app that offers tools, stock snapshot pages, and all-in-one account views with financial project tools
Acts like a robo-advisor, but it does not provide any account management
No tax-loss harvesting or any tax services
No human brokers or advisors available
Manual rebalancing based on alerts
Must invest more to save on high fees, but beginner investors may not realize how much they pay for their accounts through Stash versus a traditional brokerage
How Does Stash App Work and Why It’s Not a Robo-Advisor
The Stash investing app was created to help novices learn about investing. There are over 60 different exchange traded funds to choose from, and Stash makes recommendations based on a risk assessment questionnaire that you fill out when signing up for your account.
Based on this assessment, investors learn their investment personality type according to Stash:
Once your investment profile type is known, Stash offers you value-based investment options. You can select a custom portfolio that is based on your interests and companies with causes you support, which is perfect if you want to be a socially conscious investor. For some investors, this aspect alone makes Stash better than Robinhood.
However, Stash is a bit different in how it groups investments, labeling ETFs under themes like Park My Cash or All That Glitters. Here are a few examples:
Aggressive Mix: This theme includes all-in-one aggressive stocks to satisfy investors who want to make money quickly. These can be risky.
BLOK: This theme allows you to invest in companies who are actively involved in the development and utilization of blockchain technologies.
Long Haul Bonds: This is a mix of long-term, investment-grade US government and corporate bonds.
Match the Market: These are low-cost foundation funds that are found on the S&P 500. This is a group of America’s largest companies.
You can search through all of the ETF themes or filter them by categories, such as retail, strategies and experts, missions and causes, and so forth. These themes are designed on a buy and hold status.
Stash can make suggestions and provide guidance based on your risk level, but it can’t pick your investments or manage them for you.
Once you pick your portfolio and choose what you’ll invest,
Quick Summary of Stash App Features
$5 to open account and invest
$1 a month for taxable investment accounts, $3 a month for retirement accounts, and $9/month to add a custodial brokerage account and more services
No commissions or investment fees for stocks and ETFs
New investors get first month free of any fees, then charged $1 per month if your account balance is under $5,000
If your account balance is over $5,000 you are charged 0.25% per year
No annual or inactivity fee, but there is a $75 outgoing transfer fee
Stash IRAs require a minimum of $1.00 to be opened. In addition, there are no investing minimums applied to an IRA1
Score: 8.5/10 These fees are pretty low and on-par with robo-advisor tools like Acorns, but should you pay fees for an app that does not have a robo-advisor tool? You do not receive any account management and yet still pay the same fees as Betterment if you have an account over $5,000.
Stash has a slightly higher expense ratio at 0.25% for ETFs, but there is no investment fee for stocks
Score: 7/10 This hurts Stash a bit because it presents itself as very low-cost, but with fees and higher expense ratios than Betterment, Wealthfront, and Acorns, it’s already more costly than what most investors have come to expect.
Individual brokerage accounts
Traditional and Roth IRA accounts
Online debit accounts
Score: 7/10 You would think that an investment app would have access to more account types, but Stash plays it pretty simple and offers just the basics. This works better for their target audience who may not realize the benefits of other tax advantage accounts.
Over 400 different ETFs
Over 3000 individual stocks to select from
Score: 9/10 In comparison to robo-advisors, Stash app offers you way more opportunities to invest and diversify than the limited selections available at Acorns, Betterment, and Wealthfront.
Score: 0/10 You are on your own when it comes to optimizing for capital gains tax, although Stash provides some tax education materials.
Score: 0/10 You won’t get any help aligning with your goals. If investments stray away from your targets, Stash will make recommendations, and you can update your investments. While this offers more flexibility and control, it’s different than what people expect with a robo-advisor, which is easy hands-off management.
Score: 0/10 All advising is automated through the app.
Socially Responsible Investing
Select from causes and socially responsible investments that appeal to you by searching themes
Score: 8/10 During your initial assessment, you can list what causes and factors are important to you for investing. Stash will make suggestions based on your interests.
Accounts & Fees
$1, $3, or $9/month
0.49% - 0.89%
Individual brokerage accounts
Online debit accounts
Traditional and Roth IRAs
Traditional, Roth, SEP, & rollover IRAs
Advice on other account types (401(k) and 529 allocation)
Socially responsible investing
High net-worth investors
Yes - all clients have access to a team of financial advisors
Stash was created to point investors in the right direction and show them the best allocations for their interests and goals. The terminology used in the ETF themes and guidance is all for beginner investors.
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