Investing in the stock market while traveling can be extremely tough. Plus the two don’t exactly go hand in hand. Some people like a hands on approach while other like the “set it and forget it” approach. I, myself favor the latter and like to do as little as possible. One of the difficulties of investing while on the road is a lack of options. This post will present 7 apps tailored to overcome your investing fears and make you money while traveling.

Why You Cant Afford to Miss Out on Interest From Investments

The US stock market has been on a tear this past year, besting the 7% industry average used by The Social Security Administration’s Office of the Actuary (OACT) and producing a 18.65% return. Heck, even the 3 year return of 10.24% and 5 year return of 13.46% are crushing the 7% average.

That means that an investment of $1000 at the beginning of 2017 could have netted you $185.6. That is free money! Of course after Uncle Sam reaches in your pocket the total goes down but still, that could be:

  • 1-3 domestic flights
  • A week of lodging
  • A week of meals

Wouldn’t you want to exploit investing to take advantage of this free money? Here is how you can do it. Todays technology is so advanced that all you need is a phone or computer, an app, and a secure internet connection.

 

Meet The Products

Below are available products inteneded to help soothe travelers subsequent investment fears, aimed at the group of proper always on the go. The products are broken down into 2 different approaches:

  1. Set it and forget it approach
  2. Hands on approach

Set It and Forget It Approach

1) Betterment

Betterment dashboard

Betterment is a low fee, easy to use investment platform that uses complex algorithms to invest your money into indexes tracking ETFs. There are no transfer, trade, or rebalancing fees. When a portfolio loss is realized, an algorithm kicks in tax loss harvesting which can add an estimated +0.77% in after tax rebates. This was the second investing app I used and over time I have seen my investments return 15.1%.

What Betterment is Good For

  1. Travelers –
    This app is perfect for the “set it and forget it” approach. You can even automate the deposits so there is literally nothing you have to do, except have the funds available.
  2. Not a lot of money to start out –
    You can start an account with as little as $1. Once the account is up to $10 dollars, Betterment will begin the investment journey. I would suggest auto deposit so you don’t even see the money in your bank account.
  3. A lack of investing knowledge –
    You do not need to know a thing about the stock market when investing with Betterment. All you need to set is your risk tolerance. I would recommend a high risk tolerance the younger the investor you are and a lower risk tolerance the older the investor you are.
  4. Risk averse –
    Anytime you’re dealing with the stock market there is always some sort of risk. The great thing about Betterment is that you can create a risk tolerance ranging from 1-10 based on how aggressive you want to be.
  5. Distrust with brokers and advisors –
    Betterment has no brokers or advisors, just good old technology to do the trick. Betterment relies on its complex algorithms to invest your money into ETFs.
  6. Low fees –
    Betterment offers tiered fees depending on how much money you have. Considering the average fee for an active fund is over 1%, this can be a bargain.
  • 0.25% annual fee on accounts less than $100,000
  • 0.40% annual fee on accounts with minimum balance of $100,000
  • 0.50% annual fee on accounts with minimum balance of $100,00 (Premium)

What Betterment is Bad For

  1. Picking individual stocks –
    Betterment only offers ETFs which are basically bundles of assets that track a certain index. You’re not able to purchase individual stocks.

Sign up with my link and we both win! You get 6 months free and I get 30 days free.

Wealthfront Mobile Interface

2) Wealthfront

Wealthfront is another robo advisor, similar to Betterment, that offers diversified, low-cost, tax-efficient portfolios comprised of index tracking ETFs. Contrary to Betterment, Wealthfront requires a minimum deposit and investment of $500. Still, it is a investment vehicle for the hands-off investor and even uses tax-loss harvesting when a loss is realized. I have been using Wealthfront for the last year and have seen returns of over 9.98%.

What Wealthfront is Good For

  1. Travelers –
    This app is perfect for the “set it and forget it” approach. While you’re traveling the world, your money is making money for you!
  2. A lack of investing knowledge –
    Similar to Betterment, you do not need to know a thing about the stock market to invest with Wealthfront. All you need to do is to set your risk tolerance, which can be adjusted to your liking. Great for setting it and forgetting it.
  3. Risk Averse –
    I find comfort in having an algorithm pick stocks for me, it takes out the human emotion aspect. As previously mentioned, there is always a risk when investing in the stock market.
  4. Distrust with brokers and advisors –
    Technically Wealthfront is the advisor. Outside of that it does not have any brokers or advisors, just good old technology to do the trick. Wealthfront relies on its complex algorithms to invest your money into ETFs.
  5. Low fees –
    These new robo-advisors have made their mark on the investment world by offering very low fees. Wealthfront gets 5 stars in the fees category. The easy to remember breakdown is below.

 

What Wealthfront is Bad For

  1. Not enough money –
    You can’t exactly get started with $1 or even $50 for that matter. Unfortunately the starting investment for Wealthfront is $500 dollars. After that you can make one-time or scheduled deposits of $100 and up.

*Sign up through my link and we each get an extra $5,000 managed for free. That means you will automatically start out with $15,000 managed for free!

3) Acorns

Acorns has a very cool concept aimed primarily towards millennials (*But anyone can use it). Basically, you connect your credit and debit cards to the app and when you make a purchase, the app will round up to the nearest dollar and invest that change. Once your “change” adds up to $5 dollars, Acorn will invest it into one of six ETFs. You can also make one-time or reoccurring deposits into your account as well. I was curious to see how this worked firsthand so I signed up for an account this year. I haven’t gotten the results I hope for, mostly because I only have between $15-20 of spare “change” a month. The $1 dollar fee means I’m paying anywhere from 3-8% to use this service. This is a good app for someone who uses a debit/credit card a lot, knows very little about investing and/or has little start up money to invest.

What Acorns is Good For

  1. Not enough money –
    Acorns is great for the person that does not have a lot of money. Acorns essentially acts as a piggy bank, except while a piggy bank loses money over time from inflation, Acorn’s piggy bank makes you money. An additional function Acorns has is a feature that can give your investments a boost if you shop with their Found Money Partners.
  2. Lack of investing knowledge –
    Acorns does all the investing for you so you don’t have to. They have 5 portfolios ranging from conservative to aggressive that replicate an asset class or index fund.
  3. Recent college grads –
    Acorn’s investment fee is waived for 4 years if you’re a college students with a valid .edu email address. After those 4 years are up, regular fees are assumed (Under “What Acorns is Bad for”)
  4. Travelers –
    This is perfect for travelers. You’re basically using your credit or debit card to make most of your purchases, why not invest the change and make a little interest on it?
  5. Risk Averse –
    All investments carry risk; however, Acorns invests in index funds which are known to be less risky.
  6. Distrust with brokers and advisors –
    Acorns does not have any brokers or advisors.

What Acorns is Bad For

  1. Low Fees –
    In looking at the fee for under $5,000 account balance, it can be quite high, especially the less you have invested. On the other hand, it can give you motivation to invest as much as you can to reach a $5,000 investment account. This does mean you may need to spend more, which is kind of a paradox when you’re trying to invest.

    • $1 per month if you have under $5,000 in your account
    • 0.25% fee per year if you have over $5,000 in your account

Sign up with my link and we both get $5 for free!

Hands On Approach

1) Stash


charges a flat fee of 0.25% per year. If you have less than $100 dollars in your account for 1 year, that fee can come out to 12%. One good thing is that the subscription fee comes out of your connected bank account, not your investments.

  1. Abundance of trade options –
    Stash does not offer the option to trade individual stocks, only mutual funds and ETFs. This limits some risk but also hinders your options.

2) Robinhood

Robinhood’s sleek interface

Robinhood is an easy to use stock trading app that is taking on the multi-million dollar world of commission fees. With a $0 trade fee and $0 account startup, this is a no-brainer to begin learning the ropes of the market. Robinhood was the first app I used to dip my toes into the stock market game and is perfect for any other beginner. Don’t try to play the short term game with this app as it is most useful to buy and hold stocks or ETFs.

What Robinhood is Good For

  1. Not enough money –
    You can literally start with $1 dollar or less. This is the perfect app for anyone who does not initially have a lot of money to invest.
  2. Distrust With Brokers and Advisors –
    Robinhood does not use brokers or advisors, the investor is the only one with the keys to the castle. Every good and bad decision hinges on the your actions.
  3. High Fees –
    Robinhood is FREE 99! The app lets you buy and sell individual stocks for $0 a trade. If an investor wants to upgrade to Robinhood Gold, they will have to pay a monthly, reoccurring fee. Robinhood Gold gives the investor extended trading hours, margin, and bigger instant deposits. The fees are tiered in the image to the right:

 

What Robinhood is Bad For

  1. Risk Averse –
    There is always risk in the stock market. Robinhood mitigates a lot of that risk with the basic plane because the investor trades with funds already available. Unless you upgrade to Robinhood Gold, you cannot trade on margin, which is essentially trading with borrowd money. If you don’t have a basic knowledge of investing, picking your own stocks is not right for you until you have some basic knowledge.
  2. Abundance of trade options –
    You can not trade options, puts or invest in foreign markets with Robinhood. there are also no retirement plans, which makes this app mostly for young investors learning the ins and outs of the market.
  3. Lack of investing knowledge –
    This really is a great way to dip your toes in investing as you can trade with no fees. It also limits your day trades so you don’t go over your pattern day trades allotment. You are not able to trade on margin or invest in options, puts, etc. but it is still a great way to learn your way around the stock market. With that being said, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could lose a lot of money. Robinhood does not have any tutorials or education sessions.

Sign up through my link and we each get 1 free stock to trade with! How can ya not?

3) Vanguard

Vanguard is an investment company that offers a large selection of low-cost mutual

Source Topratedfirms: Vanguard mobile interface

funds, ETFs, stocks, bonds, and options. Fun fact, they were the first investment company to launch the index fund. There’s no minimum for Index, ETF, or stock Vanguard  account beyond what you need to pay for the investments you buy. Retirement accounts start at $1,000. For ETFs (exchange-traded funds), the minimum initial investment is the price of 1 share. For individual stocks, the minimum initial investment is also the price of 1 share plus a commission fee. I do not currently use Vanguard but have heard great things about their services. As a matter of fact, I will open an IRA account with them within the next year.

 

What Vanguard is Good For

  1. Not enough money –
    You can buy either an index fund, ETF, or a stock for that asset’s market price. Commission fees do apply for stocks and ETFs bought outside of Vanguard.
  2. Risk averse –
    All investments come with risks. You’re on the safer side if you invest in an index fund or ETF as opposed to just a single stock.
  3. Distrust with brokers and advisors –
    Unlike any other investment company, Vanguard aims to create wealth only for their clients and not for brokers or advisors. Vanguard does not have any stockholders or outside owners to answer to, which allows them to run their funds at low costs to users.
  4. High fees –
    The good: Vanguard average expense ratio 0.12% and there are no commission fees for Vanguard ETFs, unless you buy an ETF from outside of Vanguard.

What Vanguard is Bad For

  1. Lack of investing knowledge –
    Fortunately Vanguard ETFs are designed to track the performance of an index like the Dow Jones or S&P 500 which means all you have to do is pick the ETF. This may be a problem for someone with a low investing education.
  2. High fees –
    The bad: unfortunately, when you buy stocks rom your brokerage account, you will have to pay a commission fee ranging from $2-$20 dollars. The below infographic has the breakdown:
  3. Not enough money –
    If you’re not buying an index fund or ETF you will need an minimum of $1,000 starting balance.

Bonus

 

1) Coinbase

Coinbase mobile interface

Many people may have heard the terms cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin before but may not know what they mean. Coinbase is one of the hottest platforms to buy and trade these aforementioned cryptocurrencys such as; Bitcoin, Ether, and Litecoin. Basically each “coin” is a digital currency that holds value. Below is what Coinbase is in their own words:

“Bitcoin is digital money used for secure and instant transfer of value anywhere in the world. It is not controlled or issued by any bank or government – instead it is an open network which is managed by its users.”

Some people are going as far as to say that cryptocurrencys are the new gold. I am one of those persons who believe cryptocurrencys will be a huge asset in the future. It is better to hop on the bandwagon now before it is too late.

What Coinbase is Good For

  1. Not enough money –
    The great thing about Coinbase;  you can get started with as little as $1 dollar. This makes it perfect for the average investor who may not have a lot of upfront cash to invest with. Just remember, the fees are a bit hefty so even though you can buy $1 worth of Bitcoin, it may not be worth it.
  2. Lack of investing knowledge –
    I cant decide if if this is good or bad but you are only limited to 3 options to invest in; BTC, ETH, or LTC. The less options the better in my opinion. Do a bit of research before going in guns-a-blazing.
  3. Distrust with brokers and advisors
    Coinbase does not have any brokers or advisors because of the fact that you are investing in a decentralized currency. No need to worry that you are getting taken for a ride by a financial advisor or broker.

What Coinbase is Bad For

  1. Risk Averse –
    Cryptocurrencys are incredibly volatile, after all they are fairly new to the average person. With extreme volatility can come extremel winnings or losses. invest with caution and make sure you read up on this subject BEFORE investing.
  2. High fees –
    The fees can be quite high and differ depending on where you live. Check out the fees here.

What Are You Waiting For?

Anyone can take advantage of the following products to start investing today! Make sure to supplement your money and make use of these 7 apps and overcome your investing fears and make yourself money while you travel.

**Remember to use a secure network when investing or logging on to any banking website! I would also recommend using a VPN!

*All product rankings express my own personal opinions. What I am not: licensed professional at giving financial advice.

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