Stash Review 2017

Stash Review 2017

Stash is a mobile-only investing app that I've heard whispers about but hadn't taken the time to dive into... until now! If you're looking for an investing app that takes complicated investment portfolio ideas and breaks them down into pre-made investments that you can put money into effortlessly, then Stash is your app.

Stash makes it easy to invest by offering you a selection of pre-made ETF portfolios that fit into different moral, ethical, and personal value categories.

Of course, there are some pros and cons to using an automated robo-adviser service like Stash but, for the right person, I think Stash is an awesome mobile-based investing app for 2017 and beyond. Be sure to read all the way to the end because there's one big drawback to Stash that we want you to know about. Let's take a closer look as we review the Stash investing app!

Fees and Commissions

Stash is commission free which means it allows you to buy and sell ETFs without a charge. Currently, Stash primarily offers ETFs. Their platform revolves around users buying and selling pre-made "portfolios" of ETFs that fit into different categories.

Monthly Fee

So, what's it cost to use the Stash app? You'll pay $1 / month to use the app if you have less than $5,000 in your account. That's $12 annually. Of course, if you only maintain $100 in your account, then you'll effectively be charged 12% annually. If you're not aware, even the most expensive advisers only charge about 2% annually.

If you want to avoid being charged huge fees (compared to other services) you'll need to maintain at least $600 in your account to get that $12 annual fee under control. With a $600 account, you'll only be charged 2% of your portfolio per year.

Fees for Large Accounts

Once you manage to break above $5,000 in your account, the fee structure changes. At this point, instead of a monthly charge, Stash will charge you 0.25% of your assets per year. That means depending on your account size you will be charged a varying rate. Let me break it down for you in this chart.

Stash Fees For Accounts Over $5,000

X Axis = Account Size | Y Axis = Annual Cost

If you want to see the fees for Stash compared to other popular investing apps such as Acorns, M1 Finance, or the Robinhood app simply let us know in the comments. You can also check out our in-depth fee guide where we compare the costs of using many common investing apps.

Make sure you check out the "Unique Features" section below where we talk a little more about what the 0.25% fee could really cost you over the lifetime of your investments.

Don't just take it from us! If you want to find out more about the Stash app fees, you can see their official pricing page right here.

Stash Promo Code & Free Cash

We always make an effort to find Stash promo codes that you can get free cash to start investing. It's not easy to find those first few dollars to "stash" away. Use our link to get $5 free when you sign up. We'll get $5 also which helps us keep this site running so we can help you learn! We're not aware of any other promotion codes or sign-up bonuses for Stash at the moment.

Of course, remember that your $5 will be charged $1 per month so be sure to add some more money to it!

Account Minimums & Maximums

Stash does not have an account maximum and, as they charge a percentage of assets on accounts over $5,000 it's in their best interest to have large accounts under management. They do, however, have an account minimum but it's just $5 and you can get that $5 free with our signup link.

Of course, SIPC coverage extends up to $500,000 per brokerage so keep that in mind if you're worried about liquidity issues with Stash as a company. What SIPC coverage does is "insure" your investments against the risk of Stash going out of business. SIPC does not protect your money from you making bad investment decisions.

Fractional Shares

Stash does allow fractional trading, which is great! Not only does each ETF break your money up into fractions of underlying stocks, Stash will break your money up as well. That means you can invest with as little as $5 and buy a basket of ETFs that will diversify your money down to the individual penny!

If you're not aware, fractional share ownership is a new and unique feature that only a few apps are using. Basically, it means that instead of having to buy all of a stock that might cost $100 or more, you can buy a fraction of it. That's what makes it possible to start with as little as $5!

 Taken from Stash.com

Taken from Stash.com

With Stash, you're buying fractions of ETFs which stand for Exchange Traded Funds. These low-cost funds usually track a common index such as the S&P 500 and are made up of many individual stocks.So, when you buy an ETF you're essentially also buying fractions of many stocks inside that ETF.

Essentially your money is being split twice - once when you buy a basket of ETFs from Stash, and again when each ETF buys a pile of underlying stocks. Ultimately this is a good thing because it allows investors with just a little money to own a diverse array of stocks, thus helping to protect themselves.

Unique Features

Stash operates on a pretty basic principle - make investing as simple and easy as possible for new investors. Stash is not trying to revolutionize the investing world, they're just hoping to attract investors who are looking to keep their investing simple. By far their most defining feature is the simple baskets of ETFs they offer which are each focused on a personality, moral, or ethical ideal.

Baskets of ETFs: Good or Bad?

Stash chooses ETFs from popular fund families such as Vanguard and piles them together into baskets that achieve a common goal. For instance, "The Techie" (pictured above) combines several tech-focused investments. All you have to do is click on it, choose to invest in it, and Stash does the rest.

This is an awesome feature for investors who are brand new, unsure, or not confident in their ability to find and purchase these ETFs themselves. However, with very little effort investors can skip the middleman (Stash) and invest directly in the ETFs themselves while avoiding the fees Stash charges.

It's up to you to decide whether you want to do the legwork yourself, or if you want to pay Stash to put the ETFs together for you. Keep in mind, however, that the 0.25% fee that stash charges on accounts over $5,000 could cost you up to $19,686.36 by the time you retire compared to doing it yourself.*

*Calculated on an account of $5,000 over 40 years assuming 10% average annual return.

Dollar Cost Averaging

While it's certainly not a unique feature, we wanted to mention it here. Stash makes it easy to select a monthly investment amount, prompting you at signup to choose between $5, $10, $50, etc. You can skip this automated investment option but we suggest you consider it for one reason.

Dollar cost averaging is the concept that investing a set amount of money every week or month can yield superior returns to simply investing a lump sum once per year or so. Why? Because sometimes you'll buy when the market is up (expensive) and sometimes you'll buy when the market is down (discounted).

 Auto-stash feature is the equivalent of dollar cost averaging.

Auto-stash feature is the equivalent of dollar cost averaging.

Purchasing at these "discounted" times, even when the market is in a panic, is the secret to dollar cost averaging. Setting up automated monthly investments with Stash is a good way to do this. However, most investing apps today offer this feature.

Best For:

New investors with only a little money who are looking for a hands-off investing app that does 90% of the work for you.

Stash does all the legwork for you. They have premade baskets of ETFs already setup and all you have to do is choose from the handful of options. Set up an automated deposit and call it good. Many beginner investors will fall into this category.

Avoid stash if you're an active investor or if you're looking to invest in things other than ETFs in premade portfolios. There is very little flexibility with the investing in Stash and more demanding investors will quickly find it restrictive.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Automated investing & bank transfers
  • Super-simplified ETF portfolios
  • Very simple setup
  • Quick learning curve
  • Hands-off investing

Cons

  • Most investors can avoid the fee by doing it themselves
  • Very limited power for advanced investors
  • ETFs only - no single stocks or other investments

Conclusion

Stash is an app that's targeted at very beginner investors or investors that lack the confidence to find and invest in the ETFs themselves. They take the work out of finding, researching, and buying each ETF yourself. Their $5 minimum also makes ETF investing accessible to a wider range of people on a mobile-only platform.

If this sounds like you, then please consider using our signup link where you can get started with a free $5.

The value of using Stash is in the simplicity and speed at which you can begin easily investing in premade portfolios. For advanced investors seeking full control of their portfolio, however, Stash lacks the power I'd like to see.

While automated monthly deposits and low account minimums are nice, I fail to see Stash offering much value to most active investors. Active investors will quickly outgrow the limited educational offerings of the app and restrictive pre-made ETF portfolios.

 

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