4 Killer Apps for Managing Your Investments On the Fly
No matter how fiscally responsible you are, there’s one factor that can consistently stand in the way of your financial wellbeing. That factor is time – or lack thereof, to be more specific.
The whole “time is money” concept is particularly ironic when you’re in your 20s and 30s. You may be spending most of your time doing all the right things to secure your financial future – things like getting an advanced degree and building your career. Unfortunately, that usually means you don’t have a lot of time left over to manage the saving and investing side of things.
Luckily, there are a lot of innovative new apps and platforms available these days that can help you make the most of the limited time you do have. Whether your goal is to automate savings, simplify the investment selection process or simply be able to quickly view your whole financial picture in one place, these tools make it fast and easy to work toward your financial goals.
1. Make the most of loose change with Acorns
Acorns is a micro-investment app that puts a fresh spin on the spend-to-savings programs offered by some big banks (think Keep the Change or Way2Save). Users link a credit or debit card to the app, and purchases on that card are then rounded up to the nearest dollar. Acorns then invests the difference – commission-free – in a diversified portfolio of low-cost ETFs.
Not only does Acorns automate the savings side of things, it takes the guesswork out of investment selection, too. Users define their risk tolerance and are given a resulting portfolio designed to target that level of risk. Based on the tenets of modern portfolio theory, the portfolios are all diversified across asset classes and rebalanced on a regular basis in order to maintain your risk target – which you can change at any time.
You can opt to manually or automatically deposit change from each purchase into your portfolio, and because it’s linked directly to your bank account, Acorns also searches for “found money” in the form of rebates and rewards programs, which you can then invest, as well.
2. Fine-tune your total investment portfolio with SigFig
As you advance in your career, you may feel like you’re leaving a trail of retirement accounts in your wake – making it tough to make informed decisions about your total investment picture. Designed to help pull it all together, SigFig is a free app that syncs all of your existing investment accounts, allowing you to look at them all on one dashboard.
Once all of your investments are linked, you can see your entire investment picture broken down by asset class and risk level, allowing you to identify unintentional over- or underweights in various areas. You can even enlist SigFig’s analysts to run tests on your investments and provide data-driven advice designed to fine-tune your portfolio for your specific risk tolerance and return objectives.
As a bonus, a pillar of Sig Fig’s mission is to help investors avoid unnecessary or hidden costs, so they continuously search your portfolio for fees or overcharges and make suggestions about how to avoid them.
3. Manage the bigger picture with Personal Capital
Personal Capital is an all-in-one tool for managing everything – including personal finances and investments. It links to all your bank and credit card accounts, investments and other holdings, combining everything under one technologically-advanced, user-friendly roof.
Rather than keeping your budgeting and savings separate from your investments, a big perk of Personal Capital is that it allows you to see your total financial picture in one place with one single login – saving you time and making it convenient to tend to your finances on a regular basis. You can use the app to make payments and transfers, while also getting real-time information about investment performance and allocations.
The app itself is free, but Personal Capital also offers fee-based investment management if you have $100,000 or more to invest. You can even start with a free investment checkup to see if your current assets are positioned to meet your goals.
4. Express your views with Motif Investing
Despite being time-strapped, you may still prefer to take a more hands-on approach to investment selection – particularly if you believe that certain investment sectors or themes should do well in today’s market environment. Rather than spending a lot of time researching and picking individual stocks that express your views, you can keep it simple by using Motif Investing to invest in “real-world ideas.”
Motif’s financial experts look for trends, global events and themes that might create investment opportunities, then create portfolios of up to 30 “intelligently-weighted” stocks – called “motifs” – associated with each theme. Their catalog currently includes nearly 100 motifs designed to capitalize on themes ranging from green technology to emerging market consumers to fighting Ebola.
Motifs can be purchased for a $9.95 commission fee, and users can customize them by shifting the weight of the companies and adding or deleting any stock/ETF they choose.
This article is intended to provide useful information about personal finance, but it is not intended to provide legal, investment or tax advice.
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