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Stash Review: Is It the Right Investment App for You?

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Welcome to our comprehensive review of Stash, the investment app that's been making waves in the world of personal finance. In this article, we'll dive deep into the features, advantages, and potential drawbacks of Stash to help you make an informed decision about whether it's the right choice for your investment needs. Whether you're a seasoned investor or just starting your journey, Stash promises a user-friendly approach to building wealth, and we're here to explore if it lives up to the hype. Let's get started!

Stash Review: Is It the Right Investment App for You?

What is Stash?

Stash is a user-friendly investment app designed to simplify the world of investing, making it accessible to everyone, including beginners and millennials. At its core, Stash aims to help users grow their wealth by providing an easy-to-use platform for buying, selling, and managing investments in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and more. Unlike traditional investment platforms, Stash is known for its approachable and educational interface, making it an attractive option for those who may be new to investing or looking for a more straightforward way to build a diversified portfolio. In this review, we'll delve into the key features and functionalities that set Stash apart in the crowded field of investment apps.

Getting Started with Stash

Getting started with Stash is a straightforward process that makes it easy for users to begin their investment journey. To create an account, you can download the Stash app from the App Store or Google Play Store and follow these steps:

  1. Sign Up: After downloading the app, open it and tap on "Get Started" to begin the sign-up process.

  2. Personal Information: You'll be asked to provide some basic personal information, including your name, email address, and phone number.

  3. Create a Password: Choose a secure password for your Stash account.

  4. Link Bank Account: To fund your Stash investments, you'll need to link your bank account. Stash supports a wide range of banks, and linking is typically done securely through a bank login or by manually entering your account details.

  5. Choose Your Plan: Stash offers different subscription plans, each with its own set of features and benefits. Select the plan that best suits your investment goals and budget.

  6. Complete Identity Verification: Stash will ask for your Social Security number to verify your identity, as this is a requirement for all investment platforms.

  7. Set Your Investment Goals: Once your account is set up, you can set your investment goals and risk tolerance. Stash will use this information to recommend suitable investments.

  8. Start Investing: With your bank account linked and your goals in place, you're ready to start investing. Stash will recommend a variety of investment options based on your preferences.

The onboarding process is designed to be user-friendly and educational, guiding you through the steps necessary to start investing with Stash. Whether you're a seasoned investor or new to the world of finance, Stash aims to make the experience as accessible as possible.

Stash Investment Options Review

Stash offers a range of investment options designed to cater to various financial goals, risk tolerances, and preferences. Here are some of the key investment choices available on the Stash platform:

Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs):

Stash primarily focuses on ETFs, which are diversified investment funds that track specific market indices or themes. ETFs provide instant diversification by holding a mix of stocks, bonds, or other assets. Stash offers a curated selection of ETFs that align with different investment strategies and risk profiles.

Individual Stocks:

For investors who want more control and prefer to handpick their investments, Stash also allows you to invest in individual stocks. You can purchase shares of well-known companies or those that match your interests and beliefs.

Stash Portfolios:

Stash offers pre-built investment portfolios, known as "Stash Portfolios," that are organized around specific themes or strategies. These portfolios are designed to simplify the investment process and provide diversification. Examples include "Clean & Green" (focused on sustainable companies) and "American Innovators" (emphasizing tech and innovation).

Retirement Accounts:

Stash provides options to open retirement accounts, including Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs. These accounts offer tax advantages for retirement savings.

Custodial Accounts:

Parents and guardians can also set up custodial accounts on Stash to invest on behalf of minors. This can be a valuable tool for saving for a child's future education or other financial goals.

Fractional Shares:

Stash allows investors to purchase fractional shares of ETFs and stocks. This means you can invest with as little as $5, making it accessible to investors with varying budgets.

Auto-Stash:

Stash offers an Auto-Stash feature that enables users to automate their investments. You can set up recurring transfers from your linked bank account to your Stash investments, helping you stay consistent with your saving and investing goals.

It's important to note that while Stash offers a wide range of investment options, it's essential for users to consider their individual financial situation, goals, and risk tolerance when choosing investments. Stash provides educational content and guidance to help users make informed investment decisions.

Thematic Investment Choices

One of the standout features of Stash is its thematic investment approach, which allows users to align their investments with their personal interests, values, and beliefs. Stash offers a variety of themed investment options, making it easy for users to invest in areas they are passionate about. Here's how Stash's thematic investment choices work:

Themes and Categories:

Stash categorizes its investment options into various themes or categories. These themes represent specific sectors, industries, or social causes. For example, you might find themes like "Clean & Green," "Tech Titans," "Healthcare Innovators," or "Women Who Lead." Each theme focuses on a particular area of the market.

Customization:

Users can choose themes that resonate with them personally or align with their investment goals. Whether you're interested in environmental sustainability, technology, healthcare, or other sectors, Stash likely has a theme that matches your preferences.

Diversification:

Within each theme, Stash offers a curated selection of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and individual stocks. This approach ensures diversification within the chosen theme. Diversification is a key strategy for managing risk in your investment portfolio.

Educational Content:

Stash provides educational content related to each theme. This includes information about the companies and assets included in the theme, as well as broader insights into the sector or industry. This educational component helps users make informed investment decisions.

Stash Learn:

Stash offers a feature called "Stash Learn," where users can access articles, guides, and tutorials about various investment themes. This educational resource is valuable for users who want to deepen their understanding of their chosen investments.

Regular Updates:

Stash keeps users informed about their investments by providing updates and news related to the themes they've invested in. This helps users stay engaged with their portfolios and the underlying assets.

By offering thematic investment choices, Stash makes investing more relatable and engaging. Users can invest in areas they are passionate about, whether it's supporting companies with sustainable practices, investing in innovative technology, or contributing to social causes. This unique approach sets Stash apart and appeals to investors who want their investments to reflect their values and interests.

Stash : Fees and Pricing Review

Understanding the fee structure of any investment platform is crucial for making informed decisions. Stash employs a unique fee structure that aims to be transparent and accessible for investors of all levels. Here's a breakdown of Stash's fees and how they compare to other investment platforms:

Monthly Subscription Fees:

Stash offers three different subscription plans, each with its own monthly fee:

Stash Beginner:

This is the basic plan and comes with a fee of $1 per month. It includes access to a personal investment account, a Stash debit card, and financial education resources.

Stash Growth:

Priced at $3 per month, this plan includes everything in the Beginner plan, plus a retirement account (IRA) and a taxable brokerage account.

Stash+:

The premium plan, priced at $9 per month, offers all the features of the Growth plan along with a custodial investment account for minors and additional benefits like a monthly market insights report.

No Hidden Trading Fees:

One of the advantages of Stash is its fee transparency. The platform does not charge trading commissions on individual stock or ETF purchases and sales. This is particularly attractive for investors who want to avoid per-trade fees.

Comparative Affordability:

When compared to traditional brokerage platforms, Stash's monthly subscription fees are generally affordable for most investors, especially those with smaller portfolios. Traditional brokers often charge per-trade fees, which can add up significantly.

Expense Ratios:

It's important to note that, like all investment funds, the ETFs within Stash's portfolios have their own expense ratios. These ratios represent the annual fees associated with managing the ETFs. Stash aims to select ETFs with competitive expense ratios to keep overall costs for investors as low as possible.

Competitive Landscape:

When comparing Stash's fees to other robo-advisors and investment platforms, it's essential to consider factors like account minimums, trading fees, and account types. Some robo-advisors charge higher management fees based on a percentage of assets under management (AUM), making them less cost-effective for smaller portfolios.

In summary, Stash's fee structure is designed to be approachable and budget-friendly, particularly for millennials and beginner investors. Its no-commission trading model and low monthly subscription fees make it an attractive option for those who want to start investing without significant upfront costs. However, investors should assess their own needs and preferences to determine if Stash's fee structure aligns with their financial goals.

Stash Features

Stash is known for its user-friendly approach to investing and offers several distinctive features that set it apart from traditional brokerage platforms. Here are some of the notable features that Stash provides:

Round-Ups:

Stash's "Round-Ups" feature is designed to make investing effortless. Users can link their debit or credit cards to their Stash account, and the app will automatically round up everyday purchases to the nearest dollar. The spare change is then invested in the user's chosen portfolios. This feature allows for painless, automated investing and helps users grow their investments over time.

Personalized Investment Themes:

Stash simplifies the investment process by categorizing investments into themes based on users' interests, values, and financial goals. These themes cover a wide range of topics, from technology and healthcare to sustainability and dividend stocks. Users can select themes that resonate with them, making investing more relatable and engaging.

Educational Content:

Stash is committed to financial literacy and provides users with educational articles, videos, and tips to help them understand investing better. The platform's "Learn" section covers various investment topics, making it an excellent resource for both beginners and experienced investors looking to expand their knowledge.

Retirement Planning:

Stash offers retirement accounts, including Roth IRAs and traditional IRAs, allowing users to save for their long-term financial goals. This feature is particularly valuable for millennials looking to secure their financial future.

Stash Debit Card:

Stash provides users with a debit card that integrates seamlessly with their investment account. This debit card includes features like cashback rewards on everyday purchases at select retailers and no hidden fees for foreign transactions, making it a versatile financial tool.

Automatic Portfolio Rebalancing:

Stash's platform automatically rebalances users' portfolios to maintain their desired asset allocation. This ensures that investments stay aligned with users' risk tolerance and long-term goals, even as market conditions fluctuate.

Fractional Shares:

Stash allows users to purchase fractional shares of stocks and ETFs, making it easier to diversify their portfolios with smaller investment amounts.

Tax Benefits:

Stash offers tax-efficient investing features, such as tax-loss harvesting, which can help users minimize tax liabilities and optimize after-tax returns.

In summary, Stash combines automated investing, personalized themes, and educational resources to create an accessible and engaging platform for investors, particularly millennials. Its unique features, like Round-Ups and thematic investing, make it an attractive option for those looking to start their investment journey or save for specific financial goals. Additionally, its emphasis on financial education helps users make more informed investment decisions.

Pros of Using Stash

When it comes to using Stash as your investment platform, there are several advantages that users can benefit from

Accessibility for Beginners:

Stash is incredibly user-friendly, making it an ideal choice for novice investors who may be new to the world of investing. Its straightforward interface, educational resources, and thematic investment options simplify the process of building an investment portfolio.

Fractional Share Investing:

Stash allows users to purchase fractional shares of stocks and ETFs. This means that even with a limited amount of capital, investors can diversify their portfolio across a wide range of assets, potentially reducing risk.

Thematic Portfolios:

Stash's thematic investment approach is unique and appealing. Users can choose from a variety of themes that align with their personal interests and values. This not only makes investing more relatable but also allows users to invest in areas they believe in, such as clean energy or technology.

Automated Round-Ups:

The "Round-Ups" feature is a standout benefit of Stash. It automates the process of saving and investing by rounding up everyday purchases to the nearest dollar and investing the spare change. This effortless method of investing can help users grow their portfolio gradually without even thinking about it.

Stash Learn:

Stash provides a financial education section called "Stash Learn," which includes articles, quizzes, and tips to help users improve their financial literacy.

Variety of Account Types:

Stash offers a range of account types, including individual brokerage accounts, retirement accounts like Roth IRAs and traditional IRAs, and custodial accounts for minors. This variety allows users to choose the type of account that best suits their financial goals.

Stash Debit Card:

The Stash debit card provides added convenience and financial flexibility. Users can earn cashback rewards on eligible purchases, and the card's fee structure is transparent and user-friendly.

Automatic Portfolio Rebalancing:

Stash takes care of portfolio maintenance by automatically rebalancing investments. This ensures that your portfolio remains in line with your risk tolerance and long-term objectives, even as market conditions change.

Tax-Efficient Investing:

Stash incorporates tax-efficient features, including tax-loss harvesting, which can help users reduce their tax liabilities and optimize returns.

Positive User Experiences:

Many Stash users have reported positive experiences with the platform, emphasizing its ease of use, educational resources, and the ability to start investing with small amounts of money.

In summary, Stash offers a range of advantages, making it an attractive choice for millennials and investors looking for an accessible, educational, and thematic investment platform. Its features cater to both beginners and experienced investors, and its emphasis on financial literacy sets it apart in the world of robo-advisors and investment apps.

Cons of Using Stash

While Stash offers a range of benefits, it's important to consider some potential drawbacks before deciding to use the platform:

Monthly Subscription Fee:

Stash operates on a subscription-based model, which means users must pay a monthly fee for access to the platform's services. While the fee is relatively low, it can add up over time, especially for users with smaller portfolios. Some investors may prefer fee-free alternatives, particularly if they have a limited budget for investing.

Limited Tax Efficiency Features:

Unlike some other investment platforms, Stash does not currently offer tax-loss harvesting. Tax-loss harvesting is a tax optimization strategy that can help investors minimize their tax liabilities by offsetting gains with losses. This omission may be a disadvantage for investors seeking to maximize tax efficiency in their portfolios.

Fractional Share Limitations:

While fractional shares are a valuable feature, there are some limitations to consider. Not all stocks or ETFs may be available as fractional shares on Stash. This means that users may not have the same level of diversification across all asset classes, which could impact portfolio performance.

Educational Focus May Not Suit All Investors:

Stash places a strong emphasis on financial education, which is a positive feature for many users. However, some investors may prefer a more hands-off approach or already have a good understanding of investing principles. For these individuals, the educational content may be less relevant.

Limited Investment Account Types:

While Stash offers a variety of account types, including individual brokerage accounts and retirement accounts, it may not cater to all specialized investment needs. Users with specific requirements, such as complex estate planning or business-related investments, might need to seek other platforms that offer more specialized account options.

Platform Outages and Technical Issues:

Like many online platforms, Stash has experienced occasional outages and technical issues. While these are usually temporary and resolved quickly, they can be frustrating for users trying to access their accounts or execute trades during such times.

Relatively Limited Investment Selection:

Stash's selection of investment options, while thematic and diversified, may not be as extensive as what's offered by some traditional brokerage firms. Users seeking a broader range of asset classes or alternative investments might find other platforms more suitable.

It's essential to weigh these potential drawbacks against Stash's advantages and your individual investing goals. While Stash offers a unique and user-friendly approach to investing, it may not be the ideal choice for every investor, particularly those with specific preferences or advanced investing needs.

Stash Review: Security and Trustworthiness

Security is a critical consideration when choosing an investment platform, and Stash takes several measures to protect user data and investments. Here are some aspects to consider:

Encryption:

Stash uses bank-grade 256-bit encryption to secure user data. This level of encryption is the same standard used by major financial institutions. It ensures that any information transmitted between the user's device and Stash's servers remains confidential and secure.

Authentication:

Stash employs multi-factor authentication (MFA) to add an extra layer of security during login. Users typically need to provide a combination of something they know (password), something they have (e.g., a mobile device for authentication codes), and sometimes even something they are (biometrics) to access their accounts.

Regulatory Compliance:

Stash operates as a registered investment advisor with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This regulatory oversight provides a level of accountability and transparency. It means that Stash must adhere to specific regulations and standards designed to protect investors.

SIPC Protection:

Stash accounts are SIPC (Securities Investor Protection Corporation) insured up to $500,000. SIPC coverage protects against the loss of cash and securities held by a customer at a financially troubled SIPC-member brokerage firm.

Stash Learn:

Stash provides educational content through its "Stash Learn" section. While this isn't a security feature per se, it helps users become more informed investors, which can be beneficial for making sound financial decisions and avoiding common pitfalls.

Continuous Monitoring:

Stash continuously monitors accounts for suspicious activity and unauthorized access. If any unusual activity is detected, the platform can take immediate action to secure the account.

Privacy Policy:

Stash has a clearly defined privacy policy that outlines how user data is collected, used, and protected. Users can review this policy to understand how their information is handled.

It's important to note that no investment platform, including Stash, is completely immune to security risks. However, Stash has implemented robust security measures to mitigate these risks and protect user accounts and data. As with any financial platform, users should also take their own precautions, such as using strong, unique passwords and enabling MFA to further enhance security. Overall, Stash is considered a trustworthy platform for individuals looking to start their investment journey while prioritizing security.

User Experience and Mobile App

The user experience and mobile app play a significant role in the appeal of investment platforms like Stash. Here's a look at what you can expect when using the Stash app:

User-Friendly Interface:

Stash is known for its user-friendly and intuitive interface. It's designed to be accessible to individuals who may be new to investing. The app's layout is clean and organized, making it easy to navigate.

Account Setup:

Setting up an account on Stash is a straightforward process. Users are guided through the onboarding with clear instructions. You'll need to provide some personal information and link your bank account for funding your investments.

Investment Selection:

Stash offers a wide range of investment options, including exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and individual stocks. What sets Stash apart is its thematic investment approach. Users can choose investments based on their personal interests, such as technology, sustainability, or healthcare. This feature can make investing feel more engaging and aligned with your values.

Round-Ups:

One of Stash's standout features is the "Round-Ups" tool. It allows users to link their debit or credit cards to the app. Stash will round up your everyday purchases to the nearest dollar and invest the spare change. This automated saving and investing feature can help users grow their portfolios effortlessly.

Educational Resources:

Stash provides educational content within the app through its "Stash Learn" section. Here, users can access articles, guides, and even quizzes to enhance their financial knowledge. This educational aspect can be particularly helpful for beginners looking to learn more about investing.

Performance Tracking:

The Stash app provides users with tools to track the performance of their investments. You can view your portfolio's value, monitor gains or losses, and access historical performance data. This transparency allows users to stay informed about how their investments are doing.

Mobile Accessibility:

Stash is primarily a mobile app, which means it's designed to be used on smartphones and tablets. The mobile-first approach ensures that users can manage their investments on the go, making it convenient for millennials who are often on their mobile devices.

Regular Updates:

Stash regularly updates its app to improve functionality and address user feedback. This commitment to enhancing the user experience means that the app continues to evolve and improve over time.

Overall, Stash offers a user-friendly and engaging mobile app that is well-suited for millennials and those new to investing. Its thematic approach, educational resources, and Round-Ups feature make it a unique choice for individuals looking to start their investment journey with a user-centric platform.

Customer Support

When it comes to managing your investments, having reliable customer support can be crucial. Here's what you need to know about the customer support options available with Stash:

Email Support:

Stash provides email support as one of its primary means of communication. Users can reach out to their support team by sending an email to the designated support address. This option is convenient for users who prefer written communication and may not need immediate assistance.

In-App Messaging:

Stash also offers an in-app messaging feature. This allows users to send direct messages within the Stash app itself. It can be a quick and efficient way to get answers to your questions or resolve any issues while using the platform.

Phone Support:

In addition to email and in-app messaging, Stash offers phone support. Users can call the provided customer support number during business hours to speak with a representative. Phone support can be particularly helpful for more complex inquiries or if you prefer talking to a live agent.

FAQs and Knowledge Base:

Stash has a comprehensive knowledge base and FAQ section on its website. Users can browse through these resources to find answers to common questions, troubleshoot issues, and learn more about how to use the platform effectively.

Now, when it comes to the responsiveness and helpfulness of Stash's customer support, experiences may vary. Stash has made efforts to improve its customer service in response to user feedback. However, like any service, some users may have had positive interactions with the support team, while others may have faced challenges. It's a good practice to check Stash's official website or app for the most up-to-date information on their customer support options, as these details can evolve over time. Additionally, reading user reviews and testimonials can provide valuable insights into the customer support experiences of others who have used the platform.

Stash vs. Competitors

To help you make an informed decision about using Stash as your investment platform, let's compare it to some of its competitors in the market. Here's how Stash stacks up against similar investment apps and robo-advisors:

Stash vs. Acorns:

  • Investment Approach: Stash allows you to choose individual investments in ETFs and stocks, giving you more control over your portfolio. Acorns, on the other hand, primarily focuses on automated round-up investing.

  • Fees: Stash charges a monthly subscription fee, while Acorns offers a tiered monthly fee based on the level of service you choose.

  • Account Types: Both platforms offer individual taxable accounts, but Stash provides retirement account options (IRAs), while Acorns does not.

Stash vs. Robinhood:

  • Investment Options: Stash offers fractional shares, making it accessible for investors with limited funds. Robinhood also offers fractional shares, but it's primarily known for commission-free trading of individual stocks and cryptocurrencies.

  • Fees: Stash has a subscription fee, whereas Robinhood is commission-free for stock and ETF trading.

  • Features: Robinhood offers a broader range of investment options, including cryptocurrency trading, options, and futures. Stash focuses more on long-term investing and financial education.

Stash vs. Betterment:

  • Investment Approach: Stash allows you to build a customized portfolio, while Betterment is a robo-advisor that automatically manages a diversified portfolio of ETFs based on your risk tolerance and goals.

  • Fees: Stash charges a monthly subscription fee based on your account type, while Betterment has an annual management fee based on your account balance.

  • Services: Betterment provides automatic portfolio rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting, while Stash offers educational content but lacks these automated features.

Stash vs. Wealthfront:

  • Investment Approach: Stash lets you choose your investments, while Wealthfront is a robo-advisor that builds and manages a portfolio for you based on your risk profile.

  • Fees: Stash has a subscription fee, while Wealthfront charges an annual advisory fee based on your account balance.

  • Automation: Wealthfront offers advanced features like direct indexing and tax-efficient investing, while Stash focuses more on customization and financial education.

Your choice between these platforms will depend on your investment goals, preferences, and the level of control you want over your portfolio. Stash's user-friendly approach and thematic investment options make it a suitable choice for beginners and those who want a hands-on investment experience. However, if you prefer automated portfolio management and advanced features, you may consider other platforms like Betterment or Wealthfront.


Stash fees comparaison Vs other robo  advisors

Conclusion

In conclusion, Stash is a user-friendly investment app that caters to a wide range of investors, especially beginners looking to start their investment journey. With its fractional share investing, thematic portfolios, and educational resources, Stash makes it easy for users to get started in the world of investing. However, like any investment platform, it has its pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Accessibility: Stash's fractional share investing allows individuals with limited funds to build diversified portfolios.

  • Thematic Portfolios: The option to invest in themes that align with your interests can make investing more engaging.

  • Educational Content: Stash provides valuable educational resources to help users make informed investment decisions.

Cons:

  • Monthly Subscription Fee: Stash charges a monthly fee, which may not be cost-effective for all investors, especially those with small balances.

  • Lack of Automation: Stash offers customization but lacks automated features like portfolio rebalancing or tax-loss harvesting found in some robo-advisors.

Suitable For Beginners!

If you're a beginner looking to dip your toes into the world of investing or you're interested in thematic investing, Stash could be a suitable platform for you. To get started, visit the Stash website, sign up for an account, and explore their offerings.

However, it's essential to assess your investment goals, risk tolerance, and the fees associated with Stash to ensure it aligns with your financial strategy. Remember that there are other investment platforms in the market, each with its own set of features and fees. Before making a decision, consider comparing Stash to its competitors to find the best fit for your needs.

Happy investing, and may your financial goals become a reality with the right investment platform!

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