What is Micro-Investing & How Can You Get Started?

Myth: You require great deals of cash to begin investing.

Micro-investing apps are providing daily individuals access to the stock exchange for just $5.

Micro-investing permits you to begin little — actually little. Apps like Acorns and Stash work by moving little amounts of cash from your savings account to a varied portfolio.

Research reveals that these small cash relocations can actually accumulate.

According to a current customer research study by Cornerstone Advisors, conserving and investing apps like Acorns, Digit and Qapital assisted customers conserve approximately $600 a year above their basic level of cost savings — and one in 5 users conserved more than $1,000.

Is a micro-investment app right for you? The response depends upon your monetary objectives and earnings.

What Is Micro-Investing?

Micro-investing permits you to instantly designate little quantities of cash into a portfolio of stocks and bonds — even if you understand absolutely nothing about investing.

This fintech term uses to a handful of mobile-based platforms that make investing simple and pain-free.

Here are a couple of typical functions these micro-investing apps share:

  • The capability to establish repeating transfers from your savings account to your financial investment account.
  • The choice to assemble purchases and sweep the extra modification into your financial investment account.
  • Robo-consultants that pick a portfolio of varied financial investments customized to your objectives and run the risk of tolerance.
  • Fractional shares of stocks, which permits you to begin investing with $5 or less.
  • A flat month-to-month charge for services or a cost equivalent to a portion of your account balance.
  • Educational resources that teach you about individual financing.

Micro-investing can be a great choice if you’re tight on additional money or you’re brand-new to investing and not exactly sure where to begin.

You can tailor just how much cash you invest and how frequently — putting you in the motorist’s seat. These apps likewise eliminate a few of the barriers of conventional brokerage accounts, such as account minimums and trading costs.

“Micro-investing apps lower the cost of entry, which opens up investment opportunities to a wider audience,” stated Summer Red, a monetary consultant and education supervisor at the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education. “Investing is complex, and the best way to learn about it is to actually invest.”

You can utilize a micro-investing app like training wheels to support you as you start your investing journey.

Or you can utilize it as a 2nd emergency situation fund or as an auxiliary account to conserve for a mid-term objective, like purchasing a house.

Still, the majority of monetary consultants concur these apps need to be simply one little (some may even state micro) piece of your long-lasting monetary photo. They aren’t meant to change your emergency situation fund or make you a millionaire.

You’re going to require to do more than round-up your Uber Eats orders to conserve sufficient cash for retirement.

How Micro-Investing Platforms Work

Here’s what to anticipate once you dive into micro-investing.

Where Is My Money Invested?

After you download a micro-investing app and produce an account, you’ll require to connect a debit card or savings account.

You’ll likewise be triggered to finish a study created to identify your danger tolerance and monetary objectives.

From there, numerous apps pick a pre-made portfolio where your cash gets invested. You can typically pick a various portfolio if you disagree with the algorithm however you might not have the ability to pick specific stocks or other properties.

In in this manner, micro-investing apps likewise work like robo-advisors or online brokers that utilize innovative software application to invest cash and handle your portfolio.

Portfolios are usually consisted of exchange-traded funds, or ETFs. ETFs bundle various financial investments into one fund, providing you direct exposure to numerous stocks (and/or bonds) with a single purchase.

Exchange-traded funds supply instantaneous diversity, and are thought about less dangerous than purchasing specific stocks. They’re similar to shared funds in that regard, however at a much lower expense.

From there, you can tailor just how much cash you wish to invest and how frequently.

How Does Rounding Up Work in a Micro-Investing App?

Several micro-investing apps work by rounding your purchases to the closest dollar prior to tucking the distinction into your financial investment account.

So, if you invest $10.35 on Amazon, you’ll in fact get charged $11 and the app will reserve 65 cents.

Once your round-ups amount to a specific quantity (typically $5 or more), the app moves the extra modification to your individual financial investment account.

Round-ups are an appealing choice for brand-new financiers since they’re basic, simple and automated.

According to Acorns, users invest about $30 a month, or $360 a year, with the app’s Round-Up function. If you’re brand-new to investing, $360 in the stock exchange is an action in the ideal instructions.

Recurring Transfers, Retirement Accounts and Other Features

Every app likewise lets you establish repeating transfers from your monitoring or cost savings account on an everyday, weekly or month-to-month basis. You can allow this automatic investing function in addition to extra modification round-ups so your cash grows even much faster.

For example, you can set your account to instantly withdraw $20 a week from your bank.

Investing a repaired quantity of cash weekly or month plays into a crucial investing technique referred to as dollar expense averaging.

By making routine, fixed-amount financial investments, you balance out the roller rollercoaster low and high of the stock exchange. You wind up purchasing more when the cost is low and less when the cost is high.

Some financial investment apps likewise offer users the choice to put cash into sustainable portfolios that line up with your social or ecological views. You can make some green while supporting green business, a great plus for numerous Millennial and Gen Z financiers.

Finally, these apps provide other services, such as access to a monetary consultant or a tax-advantaged pension — however you’ll pay more for these functions.

Most apps instantly invest you in a taxable brokerage account, however for a couple bucks more a month, you can choose a Roth or conventional specific retirement account (INDIVIDUAL RETIREMENT ACCOUNT).

Retirement accounts featured unique advantages from the federal government, like a reduction on your annual tax expense. But it’s important to find out about internal revenue service early withdrawal charges and other limitations prior to opening an individual retirement account.


  • Easy to utilize
  • Safe
  • Diversification
  • Low minimum deposits
  • Educational tools


  • Miss out on retirement strategy tax advantages
  • Account costs
  • Limited financial investment options
  • Not enough to reach retirement objectives

Pros and Cons of Micro-Investing

If you’re not investing currently, the initial step is constantly the hardest. Micro-investing apps make the procedure less challenging and difficult for newbies.

“They’ve changed the format and experience so it’s much easier to get started than it was with old-fashioned investment companies,” stated Justin Chidester, a licensed monetary coordinator and owner of the fee-only company Wealth Mode Financial Planning in Logan, Utah.

Realistically, these apps can assist you reserve a couple of hundred dollars a year — no little accomplishment if you’ve been living income to income.

But gradually, Chidester and other specialists state you need to embrace a more robust investing technique by stepping up your 401(k) contributions at work and talking with a monetary consultant about retirement preparation.

Pros of Micro-Investing

Easy to Use

You do whatever else on your phone — why not begin investing? Micro-investing apps include user friendly user interfaces that make it extremely basic to assemble your purchases and handle your account.


Apps like Acorns utilize several security functions, consisting of file encryption, safe and secure servers and signals about uncommon activity to keep your cash safe. Stick with widely known apps from business signed up with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) or the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.


Buying specific stocks as a beginner can be dangerous. Diversification and possession allotment are the simplest methods to alleviate danger, and micro-investors do a terrific task at this by spreading your cash throughout broad-based ETFs.

Low Minimum Deposits

ETFs can cost numerous dollars per share. But these apps get you begun with a preliminary financial investment of $5 or less. How? By acquiring fractional shares of ETFs, which isn’t possible at numerous conventional brokerage companies. This gets you invested rapidly — even if you can’t manage to acquire a whole share in the beginning.

Educational Tools

These apps supply great deals of instructional resources and monetary and financial investment guidance for starting financiers, from meanings of monetary terminology to day-to-day market commentary. They hammer house the value of investing for the long run. If you’re attempting to enhance your monetary literacy knowledge, certainly read and benefit from these complimentary resources.

Micro-investing apps are a terrific location to begin, however the majority of monetary consultants concur that you shouldn’t stop there.

“Something that invests a few dollars a month for you isn’t going to make you rich,” Chidester informed The Penny Hoarder. “You’re never going to be able to save for retirement unless you intentionally invest a higher and consistent amount of money.”

Cons of Micro-Investing Apps

Miss Out on Retirement Plan Tax Perks — or Pay More

Since most micro-investing apps provide taxable financial investment accounts, you won’t get the sweet tax advantages of retirement cost savings strategies like a 401(k). While apps like Acorns and Stash provide the option to open an individual retirement account, you’ll pay more, typically $3 a month.

Paying $36 a year to access an individual retirement account is a quite poor offer. More robust robo-advisors like Betterment provide individual retirement account gain access to for an annual charge of 0.25%, or simply $2.50 per every $1,000 invested.

Account Fees

Account costs for these apps differ commonly. Some charge a flat quantity for fundamental service, like $3 a month, while others charge a little portion of your portfolio balance.

A micro-investing app might include open markets up until your account reaches a specific quantity, such as $5,000. Most will provide extra services, like access to a bank account, for a greater month-to-month charge of $5 or $9.

This might not appear like much, however it builds up. For example, a month-to-month $3 charge equates to 36% in costs each year if you just have $100 in your account. Meanwhile, the majority of brokerage services, like Robinhood, provide open markets and no month-to-month costs.

Limited Investment Choices

As you find out more about investing, you may wish to do it yourself your portfolio or include particular properties. Unfortunately, micro-apps don’t supply much wiggle space as your financial investment technique progresses.

Some apps won’t let you buy cryptocurrency, and you might not have the ability to select specific stocks. Many apps likewise do not have access to expert financial investment advisory services.

Not Enough to Reach Retirement Goals

Micro-financial investments frequently cause micro outcomes. Meanwhile, retirement is actually pricey: According to Fidelity Investments, you need to intend to retire with about 10 times your existing earnings banked.

So, if you make $50,000 a year, you’ll require a minimum of $500,000 in retirement cost savings by the time you quit working. You can assemble your Starbucks purchases for thirty years — and still fall badly except your retirement savings objective.

How to Start Micro-Investing

Thanks to innovation, getting in the investing world is as simple as doing some research study and downloading an app.

But here’s a fast rundown of a few of the very best micro-investing apps on the marketplace.


Acorns lets you invest your extra modification through a connected debit card and/or make repeating deposits to your account. This investing app works as a robo-advisor by producing a portfolio customized to your objectives and run the risk of tolerance. Accounts cost $3 to $5 a month.


Stash uses much of the very same advantages as Acorns, consisting of round-ups, fractional shares, repeating deposits and the choice to open an individual retirement account. However, this investing app likewise permits a user to modify their financial investment portfolio, with more than 3,000 ETFs and specific stocks readily available. Monthly costs vary from $3 to $9.


Public lets you purchase fractional shares of business, and deals “themes” of stocks, such as healthcare and tech business. This investing app likewise includes a social media-like feed, letting users monitor other users’ stock portfolios. Public is a complimentary app without any subscription or commission costs.

Frequently Asked Questions (Frequently Asked Questions)

Micro-investing works by conserving little quantities of cash and regularly investing it into a portfolio of ETFs or fractional shares of specific stocks.

Is Micro-Investing a Good Idea?

It depends. Micro-investing can be a suitable for brand-new financiers who desire a simple, reasonably hands-off method to growing their money. It’s not a terrific choice for more knowledgeable financiers looking for modification or crafting a long-lasting retirement technique. 

And financial investment guidance on an app isn’t the like financial investment guidance from a monetary specialist.

What Is a Micro-Investing Platform?

Micro-investing platforms are apps that let users contribute little amounts of cash — just a couple of dollars — to a brokerage account. By linking a debit card, a micro-investing platform can assemble your purchases or make automated transfers in your place.

Rachel Christian is a senior author for The Penny Hoarder.


A news media journalist always on the go, I've been published in major publications including VICE, The Atlantic, and TIME.

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