Stash and Your Budget

At first glance, Stash looks like any other investment app. Hidden within the app, though, are budgeting tools and features to help investors manage funds and build savings.

All Stash accounts come with a bank account serviced by Green Dot Bank. The bank account has no minimum balance requirements, no overdraft fees and no monthly services fees. It also includes other features like early direct deposit access (up to two days early) and recurring automatic transfers. Stash users also have access to 19,000+ fee-free ATMS across the U.S. and cash deposits at retail locations at participating CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens stores.

Stash doesn’t offer the robust budgeting features found with many other budgeting apps. Within the banking portion of Stash, you can set savings goals and automate savings to fund those goals. Users can track spending with Stash, too, which will help you understand your expenses better and provide guidance when planning your monthly budget.

Security

When using any financial app, you want to know that your money and personal information are safe. Stash uses the latest security measures to protect its customers, including 256-bit encryption, biometric authentication and other cutting-edge technologies.

You also need to think about security whenever you bank or invest. Deposits to Stash bank accounts are FDIC insured up to the legal limits through a partnership with Green Dot Bank. Investments with Stash are protected up to $500,000 through partner company Apex Clearing Corporation.

Pricing

Stash offers three account levels for various investing, budgeting and banking needs. Stash Beginner is an entry-level account with basic banking, budgeting and investing features. Stash Growth adds access to Stash Smart Portfolios and retirement IRA accounts. Stash’s premium account option is Stash+, which comes with all of the features from the Growth account plus access to custodial accounts for children and Stock-Back Card rewards and exclusive bonuses.

Stash Plan Price

Stash Beginner

$1/month

Stash Growth

$3/month

Stash+

$9/month

Stash doesn’t charge commissions on stock trades within the app. You may be charged account maintenance fees outside of monthly fees from time to time by Apex Clearing, Stash’s custodian.

Other App Tools

Much of Stash’s functionality is tied up in its investing features. Through Stash, you can invest in individual stocks and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), including themed ETFs like Public Works and Clean & Green. Investments start at just $5. Stash also lets you buy fractional shares of stocks, a feature becoming more popular among investing apps. If you want to invest in Amazon or Apple, for example, you can buy a portion of a share at a lower cost.

Another way that Stash helps you invest money is through its automatic investing tools. You can choose to have your Stock-Back Card purchases rounded up, with that amount set aside for investing. When you reach $5 in round-ups, it’s automatically moved to your investment portfolio. You also can set your Stash bank account to transfer funds automatically each month into your Stash investment account.

Stash offers unlimited trading with no add-on commission fees. The app even analyzes your portfolio and makes investment recommendations.

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Stashs competitors

Stash
Acorns
Cost
$1-$9/month³
$3-$5/month
Investment options
ETFs and Stocks
ETFs
Minimum investment
$0.01¹
$5
Other features
Stock-Back®, more options to pick your own investments
Acorns Later (retirement investment account)

Acorns

Acorns is another investing app that will allow you to get started with as little as $5.

Like Stash, it will take your personal investing goals and investment comfort levels into account. You can have Acorns round up any spare change from your purchases and add that to your investment portfolio. Or simply invest lump sum amounts when you have them.

Cons: Where Stash could improve

Pricing

Like a few rivals (including Acorns and Ellevest), Stash offers managed portfolios for a monthly fee. While Stash’s monthly fee ($1, $3, $9) is not high in an absolute sense, it may be quite pricey when judged by the standards of the rest of the industry. The industry generally prices on how much you have invested with the company, that is, your assets under management. 

For example, with just $1,000 in your account and using Stash’s entry-level tier at $1 per month, you’re paying $12 per year or 1.2 percent. That compares to an industry standard of 0.25 percent, or about $2.50 for every $1,000 invested. That’s not a lot of money in the aggregate, certainly, but if you’re working with a smaller portfolio, every dollar counts. 

That said, the fixed-cost model can prove remarkably attractive if you’re bringing significant money to the robo-advisor, since your assets go up but your fees don’t. 

However, if cost is your key objective, you might have a look at SoFi Automated Investing, which charges no management fees or Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, which also lets you duck the management fees, though you’ll have to cough up $5,000 to meet their account minimum.

Basic managed portfolio and lack of clarity on investments

The Stash managed portfolio is the most basic portfolio in this space, with just three preset investment options – a conservative, a medium and an aggressive portfolio. As mentioned above, these portfolios are constructed using just a handful of ETFs, the details of which are a bit difficult to determine unless you actually sign up for an account. 

While this portfolio approach is vanilla in its sophistication, it should work acceptably. So much in investing is unnecessarily complex, though sometimes complexity does provide extra juice. 

Stash does not offer any kind of tax strategy, though it does automatically rebalance your portfolio at the end of each quarter if you move more than 5 percent from your target allocations. 

A more well-developed portfolio process would likely generate high returns here. 

No automated ESG portfolio choices

With just three portfolio options ranging from conservative to aggressive, Stash lacks the choices offered by other robo-advisors. Its rival Acorns now offers 22 ETFs within their automated portfolio choices, including some focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, which can be popular with younger investors. 

Stash chose to include cryptocurrency funds in its portfolios before offering investors fund options beyond the basics. Crypto is an innovation that may benefit investors, but Stash could improve its portfolios by adding funds in more traditional asset classes first.

Limited account types

Stash has a relatively limited selection, with a bit of a strange twist. It allows individual taxable accounts, but not joint. It also offers the typical traditional IRA and Roth IRA, for those in the middle and upper service tiers. The twist: It also offers custodial accounts in its upper tier. 

Custodial accounts are a little bit unusual in robo-advisor accounts, with close rival Acorns also offering them. But Acorns allows you to access them at a lower price point than Stash does. That said, Stash’s upper tier also brings some other perks to the table, as discussed above.

Challenges of Stash Invest App

Depending on your personal financial and investment goals, depositing a small amount of money on your Stash Invest might not be enough to help you achieve your goals long-term, taking into account your annual fees.

Stash Invest App offers specific investment options. The App allows you to invest in stocks and Exchange Transfer Funds (ETF’s) only. The available options might be limiting for someone who has ambitious investment goals.

In Stash Invest App, the higher your account balance, the higher the subscription fees, which might prove expensive in the long run for retirement investments.

Unlike Acorn Invest, with Stash Invest, you make your own investment decisions. What the App offers is recommendations on suitable investment options depending on your need. However, only you get to decide which option is best for you.

What is the Revenue of Stash?

Stash is not obliged to disclose its sales or profit figures to the public. The corporation is almost certainly going to continue to lose money as it tries to expand.

Access and Ratings

Stash is available for iOS and Android users. The mobile app earns 4.7 stars out of 5 on the App Store and 4.1 stars out of 5 on Google Play.

Success Story of Stash

Stash was launched in 2015 in New York by Brandon Krieg (CEO), Ed Robinson, and David Ronick.

All three founders of Stash had extensive experience in entrepreneurship and finance before founding the company.

An electronic trading company called EdgeTrade hired a young Krieg as its second employee in 1998. 

He aided the business’s growth throughout the next decade, culminating in a successful exit. EdgeTrade was acquired by Knight Capital for a total of $59.5 million in 2007.

Krieg remained with Knight for the next five years, assisting with the integration of EdgeTrade. 

A few years later, he joined Macquarie, where he helped set up their computerized trading desk.

He met Robinson at Macquarie, where he began his career as a trader in 2005. 

Robinson lived for a time in Sydney and London until he relocated to New York in 2013, where he met (and made friends with) Krieg.

They decided to form a partnership and start their firm after two years of working together. 

David Ronick, who had years of experience starting and exiting his firms, joined them as the third co-founder.

The crew spent the first few months simply talking to strangers on the street, inquiring about money management, investing, and saving. 

The prevailing impression was that the average person was interested in investing their money but was intimidated by the perceived complexity.

The trio began developing an iOS application in February 2015 (Android was released in early 2016). Stash attracted more than 50,000 users before its debut.

The team skillfully generated buzz by doing interviews with numerous business and finance magazines, resulting in early exposure.

The team raised $1.5 million in angel funding from friends, family, personal savings, and a few investors.

Ronick was the CEO of Stash, but he left the company within a year (and moved into an advisory role). 

Today, he manages Minded, a stress-relief medicine delivery service.

Stash still enjoys high interest despite the setback. The business raised $37.3 million in three rounds of funding in 2016. 

There were then more than 300,000 subscribers (and 10,000 more signed up every week).

The startup’s growth was fueled by a few major strategic changes. To begin, Stash was fully aware of their customer demography. 

These were frequently millennials (on average, 29 years old) with a yearly income of around $50,000.

Stash enabled consumers to invest as little as $5 (through fractional shares), in contrast to the hundreds or thousands required by established internet brokers such as E*Trade or Charles Schwab.

Stash also prioritized teaching its consumers (through videos, an onboarding guide, and individualized recommendations) and personalizing their investment products (in this case, ETFs). 

For example, ETFs could be named The Techie (for a portfolio focusing on technology) or Clean & Green (stocks focused on renewable energy).

Stash added new features aimed at meeting the needs of its customers to its product offering. 

One such tool is the firm’s savings feature, which automatically sets aside money each month and invests it in equities or exchange-traded funds. Even weight loss regimens served as motivation for the team.

This in-depth information of their clients enabled them to continue onboarding new customers while also raising money.

Stash (along with other investment applications such as Acorns or Robinhood) developed its business due to the coronavirus outbreak massively. 

Customers began investing an excessive amount of money from their government checks inequities, which supported the firm’s expansion.

Today, Stash manages close to $2 billion in assets (AUM). The firm’s platform today has over 5 million registered users in the United States.

Additionally, the company employs approximately 300 workers across three offices in the United States and the United Kingdom.

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How to Start Making Money on Stash

Getting started with Stash is as simple as making a $1 subscription account. Download the Stash app and make an account. Sign up for the $1 subscription and let Stash guide you step-by-step through penny stocks and how to tackle the stock market with increasingly larger investments. You will likely also need to connect your bank account in order to steadily manage Stash and your investment funds.

What Can Stash Do for You?

As a micro-investing app, Stash allows you to buy fractional shares. These are parts of a whole stock, as its name suggests. This is one of the creative ways you can start investing your money with little capital. Many stocks are too expensive for an average person to be able to afford a full share, so fractional shares are gaining ground today.

Fractional shares can enable you to invest in multiple funds, depending on what you can afford. This flexibility can be leveraged for people who wish to buy a stock that has a higher price per share and don’t want to spend much on a trade.

With Stash, you can additionally invest in a curated selection of exchange-traded funds (ETF’s) Stash can provide personalized recommendations based on your risk tolerance, allowing for a unique and tailor-fit investing experience for everyone.

Stash Company History

Stash, headquartered in New York, was founded in 2015 by Brandon Krieg (CEO), Ed Robinson, and David Ronick.

All 3 founders brought with them extensive experience in the areas of entrepreneurship and finance before launching Stash.

In 1998, a young Krieg joined an electronic trading company called EdgeTrade as their second hire. Over the next decade, he helped the business to grow, which ultimately led to a successful exit. In 2007, EdgeTrade was acquired by Knight Capital for a combined $59.5 million.

Krieg spent the next 5 years at Knight to help with the integration of EdgeTrade. Afterwards, he joined Macquarie where he was tasked with building up the firm’s electronic trading desk function.

At Macquarie, he met Robinson, who joined the company back in 2005 as a trader. After stints in Sidney and London, Robinson moved to New York in 2013 where he became acquainted (and ultimately friends) with Krieg.

Two years into their working relationship, the pair decided to team up and launch a business of their own. David Ronick, who possessed years of experience in launching his own businesses (and even exited a few) joined them as the third co-founder.

The team spent the first few months just talking to people on the streets, asking them about anything related to money management, investing, or saving. The general sentiment was that the average person had an interest in investing their money but was simply overwhelmed with the supposed complexity that it entailed.

In February 2015, the trio started working on an iOS app that launched just 8 months later (a version on Android was released in early 2016). Over 50,000 people signed up for Stash prior to the launch.

The team cleverly built up hype by conducting interviews in various business- and finance-related publications which allowed them to gain early exposure.

To get a head start, the team raised a $1.5 million angel round from friends, family, their own savings, and a few investors.

At the time, Ronick was acting as the CEO of Stash but would end up leaving the firm within one year of the launch (and move to an advisory role). Today, he runs Minded, a delivery service for stress-relieving medications.

Despite the hiccup, interest in Stash remained unfazed. In 2016 alone, the startup was able to raise 3 different rounds of funding, netting them another $37.3 million. By that time, more than 300,000 had already subscribed to the service (with 10,000 more people joining every week).

Growth was based on a few key strategic twists the startup employed. First and foremost, Stash knew exactly how their customer demographic looked like. These were often millennials (with an average age of 29) that had an annual income of about $50,000.

Stash allowed its users to invest with as little as $5 (i.e. via fractional shares), a stark contrast to the hundreds or thousands that were needed when investing with traditional online brokers such as E*Trade or Charles Schwab.

Furthermore, Stash put an emphasis on educating its users (via tutorials, a guided onboarding process, as well as personalized advice) and making its investment products (here: ETFs) sound personal. For instance, ETFs would be called The Techie (for a tech-focused portfolio) or Clean & Green (stocks focused on renewable energy).

Lastly, Stash continued to expand its product offering by launching features tailored to its customer’s needs. One example is the firm’s savings feature which automatically puts money aside every month and invests that into stocks or ETFs. The team even drew inspiration from weight loss programs, as Krieg recalled in an interview with Forbes:

That deep-level customer understanding allowed them to continue onboarding customers as well as raising money.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Stash (along with other investment apps like Acorns or Robinhood) was able to exponentially grow its business. Customers would start using their government checks to invest excessive money into stocks, which fueled the firm’s growth.

Today, Stash has close to $2 billion in assets under management (AUM). Over 5 million Americans are now registered on the firm’s platform.

The company, furthermore, employs over 300 people in 3 offices across the United States and United Kingdom.

Other features:

Acorns: “Found money” feature where when you shop at certain retailers, those retailers will give you a discount and the difference gets invested in your Acorns account.

Stash: Same deal as above, just with a different name and different partners.

Robinhood: Some perks available to premium members. Also, Robinhood allows investment in Crypto, which is pretty cool. (Now is either the best time in a while to buy, or a terrible time depending on your perspective.)

Robinhood is the best for those who want to learn, risk more, and hope for a larger return. It is my personal favorite, and I think it would be my favorite even if I didn’t do so well on it. I just really enjoy learning and trading single stocks.

Acorns is best for people who just want to set something up to save money and not think too hard about it.

Stash lies somewhere in between. All of these are great apps and great tools for saving money. If I had to delete one of them today, I’d delete Stash, but I’d be sad because I love to vote with my dollar, and they make that very easy. But at the end of the day, it’s the worst performer, and these are tools for saving money, not giving it away!

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