Acorns is a financial services app that specializes in micro-investing and robo-investing.
Acorns has over 4.5 million users and over $1.2 billion in assets under management.
Acorns was founded in 2012 and originally only offered the spare change investing feature. Since then, it has expanded its features to include FDIC insured checking account services, retirement IRA products, and more.
Acorns has over 762,000 reviews on the App Store, and Google Play combined with a total rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. The app is highly praised for its intuitive features and remarkably easy interface.
Ease of use
Acorns is very easy to use. Start automatically saving in minutes.
The Acorns mobile app has an intuitive design and easy to use interface.
Cost and fees
Acorns plans range from only $1–$5 per month.
Acorns has a helpful blog where you can learn about investing, saving, and more.
Very limited portfolio mix. No custom portfolio options.
Although hard to find, Acorns does have both email and phone support.
How Acorns works
Micro-investing simply means investing small amounts of money. The term has gained popularity because of apps like Acorns.
Micro-investing allows you to start investing in major indexes like the S&P 500 with as little as $1 or even less. This type of investing used to only be reserved for people with fat wallets.
It’s very common to see the term micro-investing being used when describing spare change investing. In other words, rounding up your purchases to the nearest dollar and investing the difference. This was the original idea that popularized Acorns.
And the term robo-advisor, what does that mean? A robo-advisor is exactly what it sounds like. Investing done by robots. However, don’t think of actual robots sitting behind computers investing your money.
Instead, a robo-advisor is a complex computer algorithm that uses specific data to make investment decisions for you. These algorithms are highly intelligent and have gotten smarter over the years.
Now that you know the basics of how Acorns works, let’s discuss how you can actually use Acorns to improve your financial life.
How to use Acorns to improve your finances
Acorns has many unique features that have been developed over the years, such as checking account services and retirement accounts. However, those features are not the backbone of the app.
The real magic happens with the Round-Ups and Acorns Invest features.
Round-Ups is a fancy name for spare change investing. Whenever you make a purchase with the card linked to your Acorns account (or with your Acorns Visa debit card), Acorns will automatically round up your purchase to the nearest dollar and invest the difference.
The difference is being added into your Acorns Invest account, where it is being invested in one of five pre-built portfolios. These portfolios are designed to maximize your returns and limit your risk.
Each of these portfolios consists of several different ETFs, including popular ETFs like the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF.
This ETF is designed to track the S&P 500 index, which makes up the largest companies in the world, including Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and more.
Okay, enough of the fancy talk. How does this all benefit you? You benefit from it because you (quite literally) have to do no work and still get all the benefits.
Acorns will automatically invest your money behind the scenes into some of the world’s largest companies. That makes you a pretty intelligent investor.
What makes Acorns different?
Acorns believes that financial wellness should be accessible to everyone. Because of this, they’ve made it easy to start investing without making huge changes to your lifestyle.
In fact, you can start taking advantage of all of Acorns’ features for less than the cost of a cup of coffee each month.
For a tiny monthly fee, you get:
- Diversified portfolios that even Warren Buffett would approve of
- Automatic portfolio rebalancing to maximize your gains
- Access to the Found Money feature which allows you to earn while you shop
- Investment support
- Access to Acorns Later which is an automated retirement service
- Access to Acorns Spend, an FDIC insured checking account that comes with a metal debit card
- And a lot more
Acorns fees and pricing
Acorns has three different pricing plans—Lite, Personal, and Family.
There are no hidden fees or surprises. Each plan comes with a set of features and benefits designed to help you save and invest more of your money.
The higher the plan, the more benefits you’ll receive. Let’s go over each one.
Price: $1 per month
The Lite plan allows you to invest your spare change, earn bonus investments with Acorns Found Money, and increase your knowledge of investing with the Acorns Grow blog.
The Lite plan comes with these features:
- Acorns Invest account
- Put your spare change to work with Round-Ups
- Earn bonus investments from 350+ Found Money partners
- Grow your knowledge with hundreds of articles from financial experts
Price: $3 per month
The Personal plan includes an investment, retirement, and checking account. When you open your Acorns Spend checking account, you’ll also receive a metal debit card.
In addition to those features, like with the Lite plan, you’ll earn bonus investments, money advice, and more.
The Personal plan comes with these features:
- Everything from the Lite plan
- Acorns Later retirement account
- The easiest way to save for retirement
- Earn tax advantages
- Updated regularly to match your goals
- Acorns Spend checking account
- Save money with no account fees and reimbursed ATM fees
- Earn more than 10% bonus investments
- Invest automatically with built-in investment and retirement accounts
Price: $5 per month
The Acorns Family plan allows you to start investing for your kids and comes with all the features included in the Lite and Personal plans.
The Family plan comes with these features:
- Everything from the Lite plan
- Everything from the Personal plan
- Acorns Early account
- Invest in multiple kids at no added cost
- Automatic recurring investments
- Exclusive bonus investments
- Family financial advice
- Potential tax savings while they grow
- Flexibility with the funds
Acorns has a handful of features that makes it stand out from the crowd. Let’s go over each individually so that you can better understand what to expect.
Acorns Invest is the original Acorns service. Also known as micro-investing, Acorns Invest allows you to invest your spare change from daily purchases, without even thinking about it.
When you create your Acorns account, you’ll be asked some questions that will help Acorns determine what portfolio to recommend to you. Portfolios range from conservative to aggressive.
The more aggressive your portfolio, the higher your returns, but the greater the risk.
A portfolio is essentially a basket of investments, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, and ETFs that you own.
An aggressive portfolio will invest heavily in US and foreign stocks. A conservative portfolio will invest heavily in short-term government and corporate bonds.
Acorns Invest will invest your money for you with zero work on your part. Watch your money grow and build a richer future with Acorns.
Acorns Later allow you to make automatic contributions to an IRA for retirement.
IRA stands for individual retirement account. There are many types of IRA’s, a few of the most common include a Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, and SEP IRA.
When you open an Acorns Later account, Acorns will automatically select the best IRA for you based on your lifestyle and goals.
After that, all you need to do is set up recurring contributions that are automatically added to your Acorns Later IRA and invested on your behalf.
Acorns Spend is an FDIC insured checking account that comes with an Acorns Visa debit card.
When you swipe your Acorns Visa debit card in-store or use it to make a purchase online, your spare change will be invested instantly.
Additionally, you’ll earn cash back on Found Money purchases at participating retailers. That cash back is automatically invested for you/
Acorns Spend is the only checking account with a debit card that saves, invests, and earns for you.
Acorns Early allows you to start investing for your kids with easy investment accounts.
Your kids have the greatest asset in the world on their side—time. The earlier you can begin investing for them, the more their investments have time to earn and compound.
If you started investing $5 a day for your newborn child, they could be a millionaire by the time they reached 50. This takes into account an 8% average annual return, which is not unusual for the stock market.
Early investors are automatically set up with an aggressive portfolio that invests heavily in US and foreign stocks. This maximizes returns and will ensure the greatest long term gains.
Acorns Found Money®
Acorns Found Money® is a way for you to shop and earn cash back in the form of bonus investments.
When you shop at any of Acorns’ partners, including retailers like Walmart, Nike, and Walgreens, you’ll earn a bonus investment in your Invest account.
This is very similar to cash back services like Rakuten, where you can earn cash back for shopping at specific retailers.
The difference with Acorns Found Money® is that you don’t receive cash back in the form of actual cash back. Instead, your cash back is automatically invested for you into your Acorns Invest account.
Acorns Grow is essentially a blog by Acorns. You can find hundreds of articles to increase your knowledge and understanding of investing and money basics.
Explore categories like saving, investing, earning, spending, and borrowing.
The blog is updated frequently with insightful articles and helpful tips.
You’re considering using Acorns, but you still want to see what your other options are. I definitely understand that. Here’s a list of Acorns’ alternatives that you can look into.
How to sign up for Acorns
Acorns is available on both Apple iOS and Android devices and can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play. You can also use it on your computer’s browser.
Signing up for Acorns is easy. Here are the steps you need to take to get started.
Create your Acorns account
Creating your Acorns account is easy and shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes to complete.
Whether you are signing up for Acorns via a mobile app or on your computer, both processes are the same.
Here are the exact steps you need to take.
Step 1: Enter your email and a new password in the appropriate fields, then click on the Create account button.
If you’d like to change your subscription tier, click on the Compare subscription tiers link under the button.
Step 2: Next, you’ll be asked to link your bank to Acorns. This is required if you want to make investments, deposits, and withdrawals in your Acorns account.
Acorns uses bank-level security and 256-bit data encryption, so your information is stored securely.
Step 3: From the list of banks, select yours. The most popular banks are listed at the top. If you bank with a smaller credit union, you’ll have to search for it using the search bar.
It’s important to mention that if you bank with a very small credit union, Acorns may not work with it. If your bank or credit union does not appear on the list of available options, you’ll have to connect a different bank. Otherwise, you’ll be out of luck and won’t be able to use Acorns.
Alternatively, you can click on the Skip button at the top right to finish creating your account without linking a bank. However, you won’t be able to invest and save until you link your bank.
Step 4: Next, you’ll need to enter your personal information such as name, birthday, and social security number.
A social security number is required to open an investment account. These are rules created by the US government, not Acorns.
Hit the Next button to continue.
Step 5: Enter your contact information, including address, zip, and phone number. Again, all of your information is protected with 256-bit encryption. Hit the Next button to continue.
Step 6: Now, it’s time to set your security question. Select from the list of questions, and type in your answer.
That’s it for the account portion of the signup. Next, you’ll need to answer a few questions about your finances and goals.
Setting up your Acorns Invest account
Now that your Acorns account has been created, it’s time to set up your Invest account.
You’ll be asked a few questions about your current financial situation so that Acorns can recommend the best investment portfolio for you.
Step 1: Answer all the questions about your current finances and goals. Be sure to truthfully answer the questions so that Acorns can set you up with the right portfolio.
Once you have finished answering the questions, hit the Next button.
Step 2: You’ll be asked a series of questions that probably won’t apply to you. Read the questions and answer accordingly.
Step 3: Acorns will begin analyzing all your responses to the questions and give you a portfolio based on your answers. You can change this later if you want.
What’s great about Acorns is that regardless of which portfolio you get, your investments will be automatically diversified across multiple categories.
Step 4: If you haven’t already linked your bank account, Acorns will ask you to do it again. You will then receive a confirmation email. Open the link in the email to confirm your account.
That’s it! You are now officially an investor.
Who is Acorns best for?
Acorns is specifically designed for new investors who have little experience with investing.
Learning how to invest your money to get the best returns with the least amount of risk takes a lot of practice and experience.
Most people are either uninterested or don’t have enough time to learn how to properly invest. However, they still want to reap the benefits of investing. This is where Acorns comes in.
With Acorns, you only have to answer a few questions about your financial goals, and Acorns will automatically create a portfolio based on your answers.
Your portfolio is already diversified and ready to go. All you have to do is continue using Acorns actively and investing in your account whenever you have extra money.
Your money will grow, and you can officially call yourself an investor.
If you have a hard time-saving money, Acorns can solve that problem.
Acorns will automatically invest your spare change from purchases you make. For example, if you purchase a candy bar for $1.28, Acorns will automatically round that purchase up to $2 and invest the difference of $0.72.
You can also set up recurring investments. For example, you might have Acorns invest $10 for you each week and invest your spare change.
Who should not use Acorns?
If you are an experienced investor, you probably shouldn’t use Acorns.
As an experienced investor, you’ll likely already be managing and diversifying your own investment portfolio.
Acorns is designed to be an easy solution for new investors to invest in the markets. You do not have the option to choose the investments that go into your portfolio.
Instead, you select from pre-built portfolios with pre-selected investments. This is not ideal for experienced investors wanting to select their own investments.
If you are already good at saving your money, then Acorns may be an unnecessary expense. Unless you are using it to invest, in which case, it makes sense.
Acorns is designed to make saving and investing painless. In fact, most people don’t even realize they are investors in the stock market when using Acorns.
As an experienced saver, it wouldn’t make sense for you to pay a monthly subscription for Acorns. Would you pay for a cable subscription if you didn’t own a TV? Of course not. That would be a waste of money.
If you already know how to save and invest your money, Acorns will not be very beneficial for you.
Is Acorns worth it?
If you are new to investing, yes, Acorns is definitely worth it.
For a tiny monthly fee that costs less than a cup of coffee, you get a ton of benefits and features that can completely change your financial future, and potentially your kid’s futures forever.
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. If you’ve been on the fence about investing your money, now is your time.
Creating your Acorns account is easy. You have nothing to lose and a richer future to gain.