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Stash Invest Review

A D-I-Y mobile-only platform that helps you to learn while you are investing, Stash also does some handholding by giving you choices, tools and tips needed to build a portfolio.

securely through Stash's website

1 Minute Review

Stash, which is available only for U.S. citizens, operates on the mantra ‘investing should be made simple and accessible, It is a robo-advisor or an automated investment app. Simplifying investing, the firm promises an easy start up procedure, which requires only two minutes, $5 and a phone. Since the firm gives you a curated listed compiled based on your preferences gleaned out of the answers given by you for a set of questions, and also recommendations and guidance, you have help all the way.

Best For

  • Off hand Investors, who require advice and assistance
  • Beginners
  • Investors who would want to invest in specific industry groups/sectors

Pros

  • Simplified investment procedure
  • Choice of investments (ETFs) with easy-to-understand nomenclature
  • Availability of all information pertaining to an account in an easy-to-read snapshot
  • Very low opening balance made possible by fractional ownership of assets

Cons

  • Income made through Stash, be it capital gains, dividends and income interest, are taxable just like any other investment.
  • It works out costly for smaller accounts

Who’s it For?

The target population for Stash comprises mainly inexperienced investors and those investors who prefer outsourcing their investment decisions and are happy with giving just minimal input.

Beginners & Passive Investors

Stash’s simple investment philosophy of investing based on value and themes is simplified to a layman by giving a widely understandable name to the portfolio/ETFs. This makes Stash a preferred choice for beginners, who shun complexities.

Investors With Limited Funds

The $5 opening account helps you claim fractional share of an asset such as ETFs, which otherwise is beyond the reach of an average investor who has limited funds to take a plunge into the financial markets.

Commission & Fees

The firm promises no trading fees or add-on commissions. A Stash account can be started with a minimum initial deposit of $5. And what more, you are not charged for the first month.

Accounts with an average daily balance of over $1 and up to $5,000 are charged  $1/month from the second month. Those having an average daily balance of less than $1 are not charged.

For accounts over $5,000, a fee of 0.25 percent of the account balance is charged per year.

The firm operates through a broker/dealer called Apex Clearing registered with the FINRA/SIPC. It acts as a custodian firm handling services for all accounts, including custody of assets, reporting, trade confirmation, settlement, and securities delivery in Stash.

Incoming and outgoing bank transfers are free, while for returned cheques due to insufficient funds and recall/stop payment, a $30 fee is charged. For Automated Customer Account Transfer, a $75 fee is charged and $5 is charged for notice of change.

Account maintenance fee is zero for electronic statements and trade confirms. However, paper confirms are charged with $2 and paper statements are charged with $5.

Platforms and Tools

The platform used is any mobile device, which runs on Android or iOS. Stash’s risk assessment tool is a set of questionnaire, which helps assess the risk disposition and investment objective of customers. The assessment is done based on in-depth analysis of volatility, spread, liquidity, and diversity.

Research

Research on offer is very less. However, the app’s snapshot screen gives all details of investments, namely risk profile, investment’s holdings, underlying securities etc.

Customer Support

Stash provides customers with a search bar where you can key in your queries and get answers for the same. You can also leave a message on the firm’s customer portal webpage, giving your e-mail address.

Phone support is available between 8:30 am ET and 6:30 pm ET from Monday through Friday. And on Saturdays and Sundays, support is available between 11 am ET and 5 pm ET.

Ease of use

For getting started with Stash, an e-mail address needs to be keyed in, giving a password and the mobile device you intend to use for operating. After the signup procedure, you can choose your first investment from a list the firm offers. Subsequently, you can link your bank account to your Stash account.

The firm also allows closure of the Stash account anytime. However, by merely by deleting the app from your phone, you cannot close the account. A Stash account holder who intends to close the account should contact support@stashinvest.com through a mail, mentioning on the subject line ‘Close My Account.’ The process would get done in 72 hours.

Stash promises security of information through the use of a 256-bit bank-grade encryption. It also uses Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, to ensure the protection of any information send between the Stash app and its servers.

Asset Classes (tradable securities)

A selection of ETFs, conveniently named, explicitly gives an idea as to which type of securities you would be investing in.

For example,

  • For an activist investor, the firm recommends ‘Clean & Green’, which invests in companies that produce solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy
  • For the techies, the company has an ETF portfolio named ‘The American Innovators’, which could have among it companies such as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASAQ:GOOG), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) etc.

 

  • There is another one named GlobeTrotter, focusing on entertainment, media, airline and hotel companies.Another called The Trendsetter focuses on social media companies.

 

The firm also invests in stocks. The choice of asset is based on factors such as low fees, managed risk and historical performance.

The dividend received on the investment goes into the free cash balance, and one can view the dividend by going to the history screen on the app under processed transactions. The firm also notifies customers through e-mail when their investments earn dividends.

Final Thoughts

Commissions

$1 Per month accounts < $5000 balance 0.25% Annual fee accounts > $5000

Best For
  • Off hand Investors, who require advice and assistance
  • Beginners
  • Investors who would want to invest in specific industry groups/sectors

This mobile-only app is a Registered Investment Adviser and is therefore regulated by the Securities Exchange Commission. However, the firm provides the basic service of just assisting you with your investment choice and nothing more than that. Additionally, you cannot invest in a tax-advantaged investment option. The commission, though seeming less, is higher than that of comparable firms offering more value-added services.

That said, Stash is a better bet for the greenhorns, who can claim fractional ownership to an asset for as little as $5.

Use Stash if:

  • You are new to the world of investing
  • You are not crazy about high-tech platform and software tools that help you experiment on your own
  • Funds for investment at your disposal is less

Don’t Use Stash if:

  • You are an active investor preferring an active role in the investment process
  • You seek tax-advantaged assets
  • You are enamored with complex tools and research that help to take informed investment decisions