Many or all of the products here are from our partners that pay us a commission. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.
Acorns is a robo-advisor that takes the concept of easy investing a step further, automatically investing users' spare change. The platform has more than 8 million members and offers an easy-to-use app, along with straightforward pricing and a feature-packed linked checking account. If you're looking to simplify your investing, our Acorns review will help you decide if it's right for you.
This robo-advisor is a good fit for: Acorns is best for investors who want to automate their investing strategies to the greatest extent possible.
All robo-advisors are designed to make investing easy, but Acorns takes it a step further and makes investing automatic. Users link their other financial accounts (debit cards, checking, credit cards) to the Acorns app, and all purchases are rounded up to the nearest dollar. For example, if you spend $4.79 on a coffee, Acorns rounds that up and puts the $0.21 into your investment account. It's worth noting that even though you can connect credit cards, Acorns takes investment funds from a single linked checking account.
Acorns is an app-based investment platform. It has a user-friendly app with high ratings. On the Google Play store, the Acorns app has a 4.4 out of 5 star rating, based on more than 133,000 user Acorns app review entries. On the App Store, you'll find an even better 4.7 out of 5 Acorns app rating, based on 674,000 reviews.
Most robo-advisors rebalance clients' portfolios over time, and Acorns is no exception. In other words, once you choose one of Acorns' ready-made portfolio options, it automatically maintains your desired allocation.
Acorns offers individual (taxable) investment accounts, and IRAs (traditional, Roth, and SEP). It also offers custodial accounts for kids. It does not offer trusts, 529 accounts, SIMPLE IRAs, Solo 401(k)s, or joint investment accounts. But the account types offered should meet the needs of most investors.
Most robo-advisor platforms charge a percentage of client assets, such as 0.25%, as their management fee. This can be difficult for many investors to fully understand. Acorns pricing consists of a straightforward monthly management fee of $1, $3, or $5, depending on the level of account features. The all-in-one Acorns app monthly fee is a big differentiator.
Acorns customers in the two upgraded membership tiers get access to the Acorns Spend checking account. The account offers an Acorns debit card with no-fee withdrawals at more than 55,000 ATMS, mobile check deposits, and no overdraft fees. This is a big differentiator. Most robo-advisors don't offer checking accounts, so this can be very useful for investors who like to keep all their financial accounts in the same place.
Our general acorns investing review is that the process is very easy, and that's true with portfolio selection as well. Acorns has five investment portfolio options customers can choose from, taking the guesswork out of the investment process. Unlike many competitors' portfolios, they all have simple, easy-to-understand titles, like "aggressive" and "moderately conservative." If you want more selection, check out our best brokers for beginners. But for investors who want to keep it simple, Acorns certainly does.
Acorns offers members a program called Found Money, a promotional platform like those offered by most credit card companies. Only, instead of giving cash back for a purchase through one of Acorns' partners, Acorns deposits the cash into the user's investment account. For example, you might see an offer for $20 of investment cash if you make a $100 purchase at one of Acorns' partners.
Once you’ve chosen one of our top-rated brokers, you need to make sure you’re buying the right stocks. We think there’s no better place to start than with Stock Advisor, the flagship stock-picking service of our company, The Motley Fool. You’ll get two new stock picks every month, plus 10 starter stocks and best buys now. Over the past 17 years, Stock Advisor’s average stock pick has seen a 686% return — more than 4.5x that of the S&P 500! (as of 11/18/2021). Learn more and get started today with a special new member discount.
Several other robo-advisors offer tax-loss harvesting strategies. These can be a major source of tax savings for investors with large balances in taxable investment accounts. Acorns doesn't offer this.
Some robo-advisors offer clients some level of access to human financial advisors, but Acorns does not. If you want financial planning help from a real person, you'll need to look elsewhere.
While Acorns' fee structure is very straightforward, it's also quite expensive for investors with smaller account balances. Even with the Lite plan, the $12 in annual management fees translates to 1.2% of a $1,000 balance. Most robo-advisors with percentage-based fees don't charge anything close to that. However, the effective management cost goes down as the account grows and that annual amount becomes a smaller percentage. Acorns' fee structure is therefore favorable for investors with large balances. Acorns doesn't charge other kinds of fees for accounts with less than $1 million.
If you want tax-loss harvesting and more account types: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios offers automatic tax-loss harvesting, which can be a big perk for investors with large taxable accounts. The robocalls-advisor also includes more account types, such as custodial and trusts, among others.
If you want a full-featured broker and a robocalls-advisor in one: TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios is better suited for investors wanting to manage some of their own investments with a TD Ameritrade brokerage account, along with setting aside money into automated strategies. TD Ameritrade's robo-advisor offering has competitively low costs but don't offer the round-up features that Acorns has become known for.
Acorns started as a way for users to invest their spare change by rounding up purchases made with credit and debit cards to the nearest dollar and investing those small amounts. It still has this functionality, but in our Acorns review we find that it has evolved quite a bit since its early days.
Acorns emphasizes automated investing. Its core feature is the "roundup" investment style. In a nutshell, customers link their financial accounts such as credit and debit cards to the Acorns app. When purchases are made, Acorns rounds up the amount to the nearest dollar and invests the difference. Customers can link as many accounts as they want, and can choose to round up every purchase or only certain ones, and Acorns takes these roundups out of the linked account and places them into the customer's investment account.
There's also an Acorns Spend checking account. It is available to customers in all but the lowest membership tier, and comes with a debit card that rounds up purchases without the need for another account.
It's important to know that this isn't the only way to put money into your Acorns account. You can set up a recurring deposit -- say, having $50 transferred every time you get paid. Or you can invest a lump sum (as little as $5 at a time) whenever you want.
Acorns has no minimum requirement to open an account, but it does require at least $5 in an account to start investing.
Acorns offers individual (taxable) investment accounts, as well as traditional and Roth IRAs, SEP IRAs, and UGMA/UTMA accounts for minors. To invest in anything other than an individual investment account, you need to pay for one of the two higher membership tiers.
This is a good mix of account types, as some robo-advisors just offer individual accounts. The addition of accounts for minors is a particularly nice feature that many competitors don't offer. But it isn't the largest variety of account types -- for example, you can't open a joint investment account with your spouse.
Unlike many other robo-advisors, Acorns doesn't offer tax strategies such as automated tax-loss harvesting to investors. For people with relatively large account balances in taxable investment accounts, this can be a valuable feature, and it might justify looking elsewhere.
In our Acorns review, we discovered that pricing is a big differentiator. Instead of charging a fee based on client assets like most robo-advisors do, Acorns charges a flat fee of $1, $3, or $5 per month.
For $1 per month, users get the Lite membership plan that offers a standard (taxable) investment account and access to the Found Money partnership program. For $3 per month, Acorns' Personal membership users can add a retirement account and a checking account product to their membership. And for $5 per month, users can join the Acorns Family plan, which also allows parents to open investment accounts for their children.
|Membership Plan||Acorns Lite||Acorns Personal||Acorns Family|
|Offerings included||Taxable investment accounts||Taxable investment, retirement, and checking accounts||Taxable investment, retirement, checking, and children's investment accounts|
It's worth noting that while this flat-fee structure is somewhat unusual, Acorns invests clients' money in exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, just like most other robo-advisors do. And these funds have their own fees, or expense ratios, which range from 0.03% to 0.18% per year. To be clear, you never see these fees deducted from your account, but they're reflected in the performance of your investments.
When it comes to customer support, Acorns has good availability. There are no branch locations for in-person help, but Acorn's customer service is available through phone and email support seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST.
Otherwise, if you want to have a hand in selecting your investments, one of our best stock brokers picks may be best for you, rather than a robo-advisor like Acorns.
We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team. The Motley Fool has a Disclosure Policy. The Author and/or The Motley Fool may have an interest in companies mentioned.
The Ascent is a Motley Fool service that rates and reviews essential products for your everyday money matters.
Copyright © 2018 - 2021 The Ascent. All rights reserved.