Knowing how to invest in the financial markets can be confusing, because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. To help, Money Girl reveals her favorite radically simple and innovative places to invest money right now - no matter if you have lots to spare, or can only afford to set aside a few dollars each month.
Place #2: Betterment
If you’ve been a long-time Money Girl reader or podcast listener, you know that Betterment is a frequent sponsor. But what you may not know is that I became a customer and a huge Betterment fan several years earlier.
Betterment's founder, Jon Stein, and his great team have built an easy and efficient way to invest for any goal. It’s a one-stop shop where you can open a regular investing account or an IRA, including a rollover from an old workplace retirement plan.
See also: 10 IRA Facts Everyone Should Know
It takes less than 5 minutes to set up a Betterment account, and you can get started for as little as $100. Their fees depend on your account balance, but as long as you have an automatic monthly deposit set up, it won’t be more than 0.35% per year.
To pick your portfolio, Betterment gives you simple slider to indicate how you feel about investment risk. Then your money is automatically allocated across a suitable portfolio of low-cost ETFs that are right for you, no matter if you're very conservative or aggressive.
What I really like about Betterment is that each investment objective starts with a goal where you identity what you’re saving for—such as retirement, a home, or a vacation—and when you want to achieve it. Then they make recommendations to help you get there.
You can set up automatic transfers so you get in the habit of investing on a regular basis. Betterment also has a great mobile app, so you can keep up with your investing progress on the go.
Aspiration launched in late 2014 with the goal of bringing middle class investors sophisticated products that were previously only available to investors with super-high net worth.
Place #3: Aspiration
One of the most unusual ways to invest is through a new company called Aspiration. They launched in late 2014 with the goal of bringing middle class investors sophisticated products that were previously only available to investors with super-high net worth.
Their first product, the Aspiration Flagship Fund, is a blend of mutual funds designed to grow your money over the long term, while also limiting volatility along the way. It uses a variety of advanced strategies to try to make money no matter if the stock market is moving up or heading down. It also watches global trends and corporate moves, in order to make profits.
You need $500 to get started with Aspiration, but unlike most firms, they also have a maximum investment of $100,000 - so they stay focused on everyday investors. They don't have any retirement account options right now - just a regular taxable account.
Something else that's different about Aspiration is that instead of charging a flat fee to mange your money, they charge a “pay what is fair” fee schedule. You actually get to decide what to pay them—even zero!
Aspiration believes that letting you decide what to pay helps build trust with customers. And if that weren’t generous enough, they also give away 10% of their revenue to charities in the U.S.