These Top Investment Apps and Services Will Make You a Regular Trader in No Time
Investing might sound like the last step of your personal finance journey, but it doesn’t have to be: The truth is that anyone can start investing at any time. (You don’t even need a large amount of money to begin.) Still, just because anyone can invest doesn’t mean they feel comfortable doing so, and even seasoned investors might be looking for better ways to help their hard-earned money grow.
Enter investment apps: Relatively new to the investing scene, smart apps (and digital programs and services) help make every step of investing easier, whether it’s setting up an account, getting started with a small amount of money, or handling the tax implications of buying and selling. Whether you’re wondering when to start investing or you already have money in the market, the best investment apps and related services can lend a digital hand.
As part of the Real Simple Smart Money Awards, we’re highlighting the best investment apps and related services of 2020. For veteran investors and newbies alike, these investment apps and services have smart features and genius innovations to make investing simpler. Read on for the best investment apps and services of 2020, or click here to see the other 2020 Real Simple Smart Money Award winners.
1 Fidelity’s Stocks by the Slice
Best for: investors who want in on pricier stocks
What it is: This brokerage account lets you invest every dollar exactly how you choose in any stock or exchange-traded fund. If you want a piece of, say, Apple, you don’t have to pony up hundreds of dollars for an individual share—you can simply buy the sliver of stock you can afford, without paying commissions.
Why we love it: The low investment fee gives you access you otherwise wouldn’t have. “Successful investing is about developing positive habits, and Fidelity allows you to do that regardless of share price, reinforcing the idea that no amount is too small to get started,” Smart Money Awards judge Gideon Drucker, CFP, author of How to Avoid H.E.N.R.Y. Syndrome: Financial Strategies to Own Your Future, says.
2 Charles Schwab’s Intelligent Portfolios Premium
Best for: beginner investors looking for a value
What it is: Click through some questions about your financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment timeline, and a robo adviser will whip up a portfolio for you in minutes. (You can also receive 24/7 support from a real, live certified financial professional.)
Why we love it: “Accessible and affordable are two qualities not often found in the financial world,” says Smart Money Awards judge Kevin L. Matthews II, CFP, founder of BuildingBread, a financial education platform. This investing option from Charles Schwab offers both—and puts an adviser at your fingertips.
3 TurboTax Premier
Best for: day traders who dread tax time
What it is: TurboTax Premier’s software is designed to take the headache out of taxes for investors: You can import and upload multiple transactions directly from your financial institutions, including stocks, bonds, robo-investing, cryptocurrency, rental property income, and more. That way, you don’t have to go digging come April.
Why we love it: “A lot of day traders and investors say the downside of their activity is having to figure out taxes,” says Smart Money Awards judge Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, money coach and author of Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom. “TurboTax reduces that hassle.”
4 Ally Invest
Best for: budget-conscious investors who still like premium trading tools
What it is: Ally Invest’s online investing platform tells you the tax implications of your buying and trading decisions. For example, buying that bond at a deep discount on the secondary market might sound great, but not if you’ll wind up being taxed on it as ordinary income. Last year, Ally launched portfolios with tax advantages in mind.
Why we love it: Not only does the platform track your gains and losses, but it can be set up to make the most tax-favorable trade decisions for you. “Investing in a tax-efficient way can make a huge difference to your bottom line,” Drucker says. The free trading and no-minimum-balance accounts make it appealing for both newbie and seasoned investors.