Stash Invest Review: Start Investing With Little Money

Stash Invest is a personal finance app that lets you start investing with $5. The app lets you save and invest what you can afford automatically. But is it the best beginner-friendly investing option?

SustainFi   Updated December 16th, 2021

Stash Invest Summary

  • Minimum balance: $5
  • Monthly fee: $1-9/month
  • Socially responsible investing: yes
  • Account types: taxable investment accounts, traditional and Roth IRAs, custodial accounts

Pros

  • Easy to use for beginners
  • Several socially responsible options 
  • Invest in 4,000 exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and stocks
  • Fractional investing lets you buy portions of stocks
  • Auto-Stash feature lets you invest automatically
  • You need only $5 to open an account
  • One-stop-shop including banking, a Stock Back card, a robo-advisor, life insurance, and retirement accounts

Cons

  • No human advisor option
  • No tax-loss harvesting (a way to reduce taxes)
  • No sustainable robo-advisor option
  • Most online brokerages like Public let you invest without monthly fees
  • Stock Back rewards are low compared to many Cash Back cards offering over 1% cash back
  • No crypto

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What is Stash Invest?

Stash is a personal finance app that makes investing easy for beginners. Wall Street veterans Brandon Krieg and Ed Robinson started Stash in 2015 with the mission of making investing inclusive and accessible to ordinary Americans. As of 2020, Stash grew to over five million customers and $2.5 billion in assets under management.

In addition to making investing easy, Stash offers a bank account with a Stock Back Card (which gives you cash back in stocks) and a robo-advisor, Smart Portfolios. (If you are looking for a beginner-friendly robo-advisor with sustainable options, also check out Acorns.)

How does Stash work?

Sign-up process 

The sign-up process is simple:

  • Download the Stash app on your phone or visit the Stash Invest website on your desktop
  • Provide basic information about yourself
  • Pick one of the three subscription plans. All plans offer investing with a brokerage account
  • Add money to Stash automatically or manually. You can start investing with $5
  • Invest. The platform offers more than 4,000 stocks and ETFs. Stash groups stocks and ETFs by sector and by theme, which makes it easy to find options

Stash Membership Plans

Stash offers three membership plans, costing from $1 to $9 a month.

Stash Beginner ($1/month) includes a personal investment account, a Stock Back Card, and $1,000 worth of life insurance coverage through Avibra.

Stash Growth ($3/month) adds a Roth or Traditional IRA and robo-advisor access to the Beginner features.

Stash+ ($9/month) comes with all the Beginner and Growth features, plus a Stock Back Card that earns double stock, investment accounts for kids, a monthly market insights report, and $10,000 of life insurance coverage through Avibra.

$1-$9/month may be quite expensive as a percentage if you have very little invested. Robo-advisors like Betterment, Marcus Invest, and Ally Invest charge 0.25%-0.35% of assets for managing your money.

If you only put $1,000 in your Stash account and sign up for Stash Growth, you are paying 3.6% of your assets annually. Further, if you are not using Smart Portfolios, Stash doesn’t actually manage your investments as a robo-advisor would. It’s more like a brokerage. However, if you invest $10,000, you are paying 0.36%, which is more reasonable, and you get perks like the Stock Back card and life insurance.

Account types

Stash supports several account types, including:

  • Taxable personal investment accounts
  • Retirement accounts for traditional and Roth IRAs (Stash Growth and Stash+ members only)
  • Custodial accounts (Stash+ members only) – these are accounts for those who want to help their children get started investing

Make an impact with your money

Best robo-advisor for green investing

Fees

0.25%

Minimum

$10


Get a green credit card

Fees

$60/year

Minimum

$0

Build custom portfolios for free

Fees

$0

$125 for M1 Plus

Minimum

$100

Save and invest spare change

Fees

$3-$5 / month

Minimum

$5

Work with human advisors

Fees

0.49%-0.89%

Minimum

$100,000

Stash Checking Accounts

Stash offers checking accounts with a debit card through a partnership with Green Dot Bank. There are no overdraft fees, no minimum balances, and no extra monthly fees. You also get access to 19,000+ in-network ATMs.

Stock Back Rewards. Stash accounts come with a Stock Back rewards card. When you spend money at places like Amazon (AMZN) that have stocks listed on the platform, you get 0.125% back in stock in the companies where you make purchases. Stash+ members get 0.25% back. If the place where you spend money doesn’t have a publicly listed stock, you can choose what stock or ETF to get. ATM withdrawals, gift and prepaid cards are excluded.

However, Stash checking accounts don’t pay interest, and cash back rate is low. If you are looking for a great socially responsible banking option, check out Aspiration.

Human advisors

Stash doesn’t offer human advisor access, though there is plenty of educational information on the site. If you are looking for a human advisor, we suggest a robo-advisor with human options like Personal Capital. Alternatively, you can find a financial planner.

Fractional shares

This feature lets you buy pieces of stocks or funds. Individual shares can be quite expensive. For example, at the time of this writing, a share of Tesla (TSLA) costs over $1,000. Stash lets you buy a fraction of that share for a much smaller amount (e.g., 1/10 for $100.)

Diversification score

Stash Invest provides you with a diversification score to help you create an efficient and balanced portfolio. You also get recommendations from the app to help you invest. 

Automatic investing tools (Auto-Stash)

Stash has multiple features to help you automate your investments, including rounding up your purchases to the nearest dollar and investing that money.

Dividend Reinvestment Program (DRIP) 

The DRIP lets you automatically reinvest any dividends you receive back into the shares of the company that paid them.

Make an impact with your money

Best robo-advisor for green investing

Fees

0.25%

Minimum

$10


Get a green credit card

Fees

$60/year

Minimum

$0

Build custom portfolios for free

Fees

$0

$125 for M1 Plus

Minimum

$100

Save and invest spare change

Fees

$3-$5 / month

Minimum

$5

Work with human advisors

Fees

0.49%-0.89%

Minimum

$100,000

Socially Responsible Investing with Stash

Stash groups ETFs into themes, which makes ETF investing accessible for beginners. We were particularly interested in the Missions and Causes selection, which offers six thematic funds. The funds cover water, low-carbon, women leadership, cannabis, clean energy, and high environmental, social, and governance (ESG) score funds. Here is the list and the dashboard:

  • Women Who Lead
  • Water the World
  • Combat Carbon
  • Clean & Green
  • Corporate Cannabis
  • Do the Right Thing

For each fund, Stash shows a convenient Dashboard that looks like this:

Smart Portfolios

Stash also offers a robo-advisor called Smart Portfolios. However, it only serves taxable investment accounts and doesn’t have any sustainable options. If you are looking for a sustainable, beginner-friendly robo-advisor, check out Acorns.

Is Stash safe?

Stash is a registered investment advisor with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The cash in your account is FDIC-insured for up to $250,000 through Stash’s partnership with Green Dot bank.

However, the Better Business Bureau gives stash an F Rating, listing over 120 reviews and many more complaints.

💰 Takeaway

  • Stash is an OK option for beginners who want to get into investing, though it can be very expensive if your account balance is small
  • If you want help saving and more holistic portfolio management, check out Acorns
  • If you know what you are doing and just need a broker, check out this list of the top investing apps

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NOT INVESTMENT ADVICE. The content is for informational purposes only; you should not construe any such information as investment advice.

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