How I do it series · Investing · Personal Finance

How I: invest

I began investing about two years ago now.  Quite frankly, I got started because I found out a friend had been investing for a few years and I wanted to keep up with the Joneses. Along my journey I’ve experimented with lots of different platforms as I’m the kind of person who starts building and looks at the instructions later.

Below I outline the ones I like the most. While some of them do offer retirement accounts, my focus is on personal, non retirement investment accounts. The purpose of my personal accounts is to build wealth. I am a long term investor with a time horizon of more than 5 years. Additionally, my priority is to keep investing simple and low cost. Here’s how I invest.

  1. The Starter Account (Acorns)
    1. Why Acorns? I choose Acorns as my entryway into investing. Its super easy to get started as there are no account minimums. However Acorns’ best feature is its simplicity–it helps you get started investing and build the habit of saving at the same time. 
    2. Here’s how it works: you link your credit card accounts and Acorns rounds up each of your purchases and deposits it into an investment account aligned with your risk level. For example, you buy a coffee for $4.85, Acorns puts .15 cents into your investing account. The excuse that you don’t have the money to invest is eliminated, as Acorns helps you invest with your spare change. You also have the option to make additional lump sum deposits. 
      Sign up here: 
      Deposit at least $5 in 30 days and you’ll receive a bonus of $5*. The monthly fee is $1 and free for students.
  2. The Free Trader (Robinhood)
    1. Why Robinhood? If low cost is important to you, Robinhood is for you. All trades are free and which means you keep more of your investment. 
    2. Here’s how it works: It is a mobile only trading platform. You buy and sell individual stocks and all trades are FREE. From within the app you can read current news in addition to articles and more information about each stock. You’ll need to do more of your own research when choosing investments but you won’t lose money in trading fees.  
      Sign up here:
  3. Themes Give Me Life (Motif)
    1. Why Motif? The best thing about Motif is its approach to investing. In addition to traditional investment options, Motif offers a selection of theme based investing options. For example, Rising Interest Rates, Millenials, or Commercial Real Estate are a few that I invest in. Within in each theme is up to 30 stocks and/or bonds related to the overall theme. This means instead of you having to choose individual stocks you can choose by general topic.
    2. The other thing I like about Motif is the flexiblity. Motif offers both a robo-investment option (they invest and re-balance for you) and a do it yourself option.
    3. Here’s how it works: A Motif can include up to 30 stocks/bonds relating to a theme like Home Improvement, Banking and Finance, Millennials and so on. You can invest in a Motif or make individual stock trades. There are tons of pre made motifs to choose from or you can create your own. I love Motif because it’s hard for me to make choices so investing in up to 30 stocks in one trade speaks to me. I also like being able to search by theme and that you can invest in a fraction of a share, meaning I can hold .5 shares of Pepsi for example. This helps my money go further and provides greater access regardless of income level. Motif now offers a subscription service for automatic investing and and rebalancing. Trades are $9.95 per motif and $4.95 for individual trades.
    4. Sign up here: You’ll receive 3 months free of their subscription service. 
  4. My Everything Account (Wisebanyan)
    1. Why Wisebanyan? I call Wisebanyan my everything because its meets all of my important criteria; it offers FREE investing, it’s managed by a robo-advisor AND was founded by a woman.
    2. Here’s how it works: The process of opening an account is a quick 5-10 minute process. Set up your investment portfolio and auto transfers then kick back and relax. I also rolled over multiple retirement accounts and customer service was extremely helpful in walking me through the process. I recommend this for the investor who is serious about growing their income or saving for retirement but doesn’t want to spend the time or the money to manage their account. *There is a fee for more advanced financial services.
    3. Sign up here: You’ll then receive $20 for signing up*. You need to maintain your account for 6 months to keep the bonus. Wisebanyan will essentially pay you to try their platform. If you’re not ready to commit, sign up, and set up a $1/month auto deposit to receive your bonus.  

This is how I do it.

Read more about investing here. More questions? Ask here:

*Disclaimer: If you choose to sign up using this referral link, you and I receive a bonus.  


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