It is fairly common to see individuals that are afraid of investing and instead prefer to keep their money in a bank account, and not even a credit deposit! While there is risk associated with any type of investing, it is important for any individual to be aware that not investing their money brings to the table a completely new range of risks.
Parked money is extremely dangerous, mostly because inflation can act as a silent killer and can lead to considerably big losses to the buying power of your money.
With the right tools and the correct approach, investing can become the best option to generate and keep wealth for any individual. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of asset classes and investment vehicles that you can choose from. Just take your time to research and find the one that will fit your goals and your risk profile the most.
In this list, we are covering the overall best-investing apps available in 2019. Keep in mind that there isn’t a perfect investment vehicle or investing app, for this reason, it is extremely important to understand what you are looking for as an investor.
What are the Best Investing Apps of 2019?
1. M1 Finance – Best Investment App for Building a Passive Portfolio
The brokerage sector has seen many important changes in the past couple of decades, from the advancement of electronic investing to modern systems like robo-advisors making traditional asset and portfolio managers more and more obsolete.
It is important to understand that M1 Finance is not a broker and neither a fully operational robo-advisor provider and asset manager. Instead, the firm operates as a so-called “Hybrid” investing platform, providing investors with access to securities and to a fully managed portfolio experienced.
One of the key differentiators of the firm is that that unlike other robo-advisors, M1 Finance provide access to fully customizable portfolios (hence the hybrid notation). ”’Besides offering its brokerage like services, the firm also offers other services like access to borrowing and payment mechanisms via checking accounts and plastic cards.
Keep in mind that M1 Finance is not a platform for anyone trying to pursue an active approach to the markets. The firm instead aims for a guided model so individuals won’t be so overwhelmed with the overall investing experience. If you still don’t feel comfortable with investing, you might want to go for a fully managed experience which is also offered by the firm.
From an App perspective, there isn’t much you can complain about, like most modern investment apps M1 Finance follow a very minimalistic approach with a gorgeous looking platform. Keep in mind that this app is designed to work as a bridge between traditional banking and investing services, it might not offer high complexity or a powerful platform but in this case, that is actually a very good thing.
If you are interested in investing but you dont know how to start, you might want to take a look and try M1 Finance. The platform will offer most of what you need to get started and you will also be guided through the entire process.
- Minimum Requirements: $100
- Best Feature: The entire company was built around their tailor-made portfolio service, in an effort to differentiate themselves from the rest of the market the company designed a new approach utilizing pie-charts that are easy to use and to manage. Overall M1 Finance is a pretty straight forward platform for anyone interested in starting a career in investing
- Recommended for: One of the first concerns beginner investors usually have is due to not knowing how to pick stocks or ETFs for their portfolio, and as a result, they begin to be afraid of losing money because of their actions. M1 Finance works as your partner and mentor during the building and design of your own portfolio. Keep in mind that even though you will be dealing with AI technology, the overall service is excellent! If you feel that it would be better to have someone guiding your investing career then you should consider an account with them
2. Fidelity Investments – Best for Long Term Investing
Not many investment apps can say that they manage more than $2.46 trillion between pension funds and other brokerage and banking services. When you analyze Fidelity as a company, it won’t take you long till you realize how big and important the firm is for the US financial system.
It is noteworthy to mention that the firm is a multinational company with many different subsidiaries offering all types of services and products, this makes fidelity a great option for anyone interested in consolidating their funds under one single umbrella.
While the cost of operating with Fidelity is a little bit higher than their close competitors, it is worth paying the extra cost in exchange of the peace of mind of knowing that your funds are in the hands of worldly known professionals. Please note that even though Fidelity’s platform is powerful enough to utilize most investing strategies, their app works best for the long term and passive investment. If you are planning on actively trading securities, you might want to go for a different option like TradeStation.
- Minimum Requirements: Even though fidelity allows for considerably low investments, their core business model has changed as the company aims to offer its services to clients with a bigger net-worth
- Best Feature: When it comes to fidelity their best asset besides their execution and their experience in this game is there portfolio management capabilities. It will be difficult for any other company to even try to come close to the level of technicality and the experience Fidelity offers.
- Recommended for: Fidelity is the best option for anyone interested to have all their accounts under one single brand, from banking to investing and also for retirement plans
3. Robinhood – Free Stock Trading with No Commission
Most traditional brokers and financial institutions from this list have been around for at least a couple of decades. Even though there has been an increment in the demand for their services, growing their customer base has always been a challenge. And then its Robinhood, six years of existence and has already surpassed most tier2 brokers in terms of assets under management and also in a number of active clients.
The company blames its platform and business model for its success. Instead of following a traditional brokerage service with a modern platform, the firm decided to go beyond that and proposed a revolutionary model on which trading will essentially be free of charge and commissions, they could have not disrupted the markets more than that!
Ever since its inception, the firm has always focused on growing its retail clients base, allowing individuals to open accounts with little capital and for them to have access to their entire platform. From an app perspective, Robinhood currently offers what probably is the best looking mobile app of all brokers!
Please keep in mind that for a brokers app to work not only it should have a nice layout but most importantly it should be reliable and get the job done as fast as possible. Even though Robinhood managed to deliver both the layout and the execution, it still lacks in the later. Their platform is not as powerful or as complete for complex strategies or even simply active investing.
If you are planning on utilizing technical analysis as part of your investment methodology I would suggest you aim for a different platform, you won’t receive the benefits of free trading but at least you will have access to operate freely and with fewer headaches.
- Minimum Requirements: $200
- Best Feature: Robinhood offers a very competitive service when it comes to buying and selling securities with a passive approach, but besides their access to commission-free trading they don’t offer any other differentiator. The firm made investing more accessible to the overall market, but the advancement of other brokers and apps they are far from being the best.
- Recommended for: If you are looking for a cheap option for execution in order to buy and sell stocks and ETFs discretionally then Robinhood is a perfect app for you. Keep in mind that if you are planning on being active in the markets, chances are you will be frustrated due to the poor execution the firm offers in comparison to other discount brokers in the US
4. Acorns – Automatic Investing / Simplicity
Every year hundreds of new FinTech companies start offering their services in the US, while the biggest portion of them will disappear after just a couple of years, the ones that get to managed over this period of time and become profitable usually expand pretty rapidly. Acorns is just another example of how a simple idea very well executed can transform into a billion dollars idea pretty quick.
The principal over which the firm was founded was to modernize how individuals save and invest their money, especially millennials. Since its early inception, the company offered individuals to connect their current plastic card to acorns in order for them to round up their payments to the next dollar and invest the differences.
This might not sound like much but when you take into consideration how many times you use your card on a monthly basis and you add up the average round up you can see that over time it adds up to a considerable amount.
Acorns do not offer access to typical brokerage services even though it has a full license to do so, instead, the firm offers its clients with a range of portfolios for them to choose from. From low-risk portfolios with an almost fix yield to high-risk ones with high exposure to US equities and ETFs. The reason for this is to simplify investing as much as possible and to deliver a very straightforward service.
Please keep in mind that all the portfolios of this firm have been built by the Vanguard Group and also Blackrock, while they could have used cheaper options for their portfolio design and management, the firm decided to simply offer the very best in terms of portfolio rebalancing and creation.
- Minimum Requirements: One of the fundamentals of acorns is that big things can grow out of small packages, like an Oak and an Acorn. For this reason, the company welcomes deposits and roundups with no actual limit or minimum
- Best Feature: Even if you are into trading and investing, chances are that you won’t be as active as your credit card is. Being able to invest a little every time to buy or pay for something is a great way to save and make sure that you will comply with your investing goals
- Recommended for: Acorn has target young individuals and especially college student. The main reason behind this is the great synergy between millennials and these types of venturing tech. On the other hand, investing such small amounts of money will take time to build up and become something else, starting as young as possible is your best chance to take the best out of this investment method
5. Nutmeg – Best UK Investing App / Robo Advisor
Another Robo-Advisor platform that you should be aware of is Nutmeg. Even though their name might not be as famous as some of the other options from this list, the company has grown the become a force in the UK market. With more than £1.5 billion in assets under management, it is safe to say that this is a company that is here to stay and that will most likely continue expanding over time.
From a platform and app perspective you need to take into consideration that Nutmeg uses a very passive approach to investing, the best possible way to describe it is as a “set it – and forget it” platform. Under their robo-advisor model, the company creates different portfolios based on the risk profile and appetite of the user. In order to take full advantage of their services, it is key to have a clear self-view, including the goals from investing and the risk tolerance. Keep in mind that any return will be based on the amount of risk and the type of portfolio chosen.
The company offers access to a dedicated desktop platform and also to a mobile app, while both are great assets to have, it is clear that the mobile version is not at the level of its parent. Even though it will get you through with more common and simple tasks like overseeing your portfolio and modifying basics of the portfolio, you will need to get access to the full desktop experience in order to truly be able to use their services. This is a major improvement point for the company considering how good their services are.
- Minimum Deposit : £500
- Best Feature: Nutmeg is a Plain Vanilla robo advisor and it does not offer any type of specific features or simply proprietary models, having said so keep in mind that the firm delivers a great platform at an unbeatable price
- Recommended for: Nutmeg is the go-to option for anyone interest in starting a passive investment portfolio at the lowest cost possible. If you are a cost-conscious investor I recommend you try Nutmeg as your investing app
6. TD Ameritrade – Most Powerful Platform
If you are planning on starting an investing career with a hands-on and very active approach, you should take a closer look at how TD Ameritrade and its App Thinkorswim can make your investing life easier. While many brokers offer access to technical analysis and so-called “advanced trading tools”, nor many of them truly deliver, either because their platforms are just overcomplicated or because their pricing is too high for most retail investors.
Besides brokerage services, it is important to remember that TD Ameritrade started as a fully operational bank in Toronto and that to this date they still offer a full banking suite with products and services that connect both traditional and modern banking as a whole.
Form an app perspective the firm offers what is probably the overall best platform available in 2019, not only it is extremely powerful and reliable but it has an easy to use layout. While at first, it might look like a lot (it is a lot), it will only take you a while to get used to how things are spread between their windows to start using it at its full capacity.
A key element of Thinkorswim is how their platform has been integrated between interfaces. Offering a mobile platform has become a standard for brokers in today’s world, but TD Ameritrade took it one step forward with their integration of the desktop and mobile versions of TOS.
One of the things that can result in an unnecessary hassle for active traders and especially those with strong ties to technical analysis is that once they leave their desktop platform they lose access to their studies and even their charts. In order to make both platforms fully integrated TD Ameritrade spend a considerably high sum of money to get both platforms into a cloud network, this allows individuals to have live access to the information and details of their desktop platform on the go.
Keep in mind that this might not sound like a lot, but the level of interaction between both apps is incredible, imagine taking a walk to the park and being able to open or close a trade solely from your smartwatch! That’s the level of sophistication we are talking about.
- Minimum Requirements: Please note that even though TD Ameritrade does not have a minimum amount for deposits, certain types of investing and trading will require a minimum balance of $2,000
- Best Feature: Overall the Thinkorswim platform is one if not the very best platform available in the market. It might be a little bit complicated for new traders but if you are willing to take your time to understand how to use you will truly get the best out of your money with it
- Recommended for: Overall the Thinkorswim app is one if not the very best platform available in the market. It is important to keep in mind that the platform is not suitable for beginner investors since it requires some knowledge trading. If you are interested in a more technical approach to investing then TOS will become your favorite app in no time
7. Stash – Best For Passive Investments from $5
Stash has become one of the overall most outstanding platforms that have emerged in the past few years, not only the company offers access to invest in the financial markets (ETFs and Stocks), but it also acts as a guidance force for any new beginner with little or no experience at all.
The company developed its own model which is intended to help any new investor to learn from the markets and how to make savvy decisions with their investments. One of the challenges that most investors face in the early stages of their career is where to invest their money, specifically in which stock or asset class. Stock picking has its own science, while many can say it is not complicated, it does require new knowledge and skills to be acquired.
Even though many consider Stash as a Robo-Advisor, in reality, it acts as a portfolio manager advisor, guiding their clients for them to execute changes and in the end to manage the portfolio on their own.
After spending some time using the app with my own capital, I found Stash to be a great option for new investors and truly anyone interested in learning from the markets. Be aware that if you successfully grow as an investor and as a trader, you will eventually have to look for another platform in order to reach the next stage of your career.
Please note that the company also offers access to retirement plans like IRAs as part of their account selection, making the firm even more desirable as you will also be benefiting from tax incentives from the government.
- Minimum Deposit :$5 (Stash basically allow anyone with a couple of bucks to start investing)
- Best Feature: Stash allows individuals to start their own portfolios and to invest in the asset or sector of their choice. One of the most difficult parts of investing is to actually feel motivated to doing so while buying shares of companies you don’t really care just because the robo-advisor told you to do so. With their approach Stash allow individuals to follow the investments of their choice in an effort to make the overall experience more personal
- Recommended for: This platform should be the go-to option for any hands of investor that wants to follow their own model of investing with the guidance of the platform
8. Interactive Brokers – Best For International Clients
It was not until some years ago when Interactive Brokers decided to change their business model to offer their services to retail investors worldwide. The company was previously known for its powerful platform and the fact that it was available to institutional players and sophisticated traders only.
In an effort to remain relevant in the market, the firm decided to change their approach and to upgrade their platform so it could also be used by retail investors as well. A key point to mention about IB is that they are focused on a very specific niche of the market, retail investors outside of the US. The firm is worldly known for offering their services in almost every country of the world which until not so long ago was only a dream for most brokers.
As mentioned before the Interactive Brokers app was built from the ground with the sole intention of being powerful and reliable. Keep in mind that even though they’ve modified their business model and also tweaked their platform, it might still be a little bit too complicated to use for beginner investors and traders.
If you are currently in the US, there is no real reason for you to choose IB over Thinkorswim or Tradestation, otherwise, if you are an international investor then you might want to take a closer look at Interactive Brokers. The platform is really reliable and straightforward, but you have to keep in mind that you will be engaging with a platform that has little to zero nannies to prevent you from committing mistakes.
- Minimum Deposit :$10,000
- Best Feature: The platform of IB is a powerful machine, even though I believe it might be too complicated for investors it is still yet available for anyone interested in it. The feature of the platform and broker is easy to access to global markets and its overall service.
- Recommended for: Following a similar the story to TradeStation, Interactive Brokers is another broker that decided to open their platform to retail individuals. The main reason why anyone would pay their high minimum deposit is to gain access to the US market Internationally. If you are an international investor then IB might be one of the overall cheapest options to operate with a powerful platform.
9. eToro – Best Crypto/Stocks/Social Trading/ETFs Investing App
Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen how social media has changed the way we interact as human beings and how our society has been shaped by it. The financial markets have also been affected by this trend, not only because of all the new tech companies listed on the exchanges but also by firms like etoro, names that decided to take a different approach to the whole social media thing and build their own version for investing and trading.
eToro is known around the world as the king of social trading, this mainly because the firm was the first true social trading platform available in Europe back in the year 2006. The firm started operating as a network were traders could socialize and share information related to their trades and investments, over the years this principle diverge into a more complex environment where traders could even copy their trades in exchange for a commission over profits.
The firm has been so successful that after a couple of years of operating they decided to venture into building their own brokerage service dedicated for social trading.
Please note that etoro offers a platform that is suitable for beginner investors as they provide access to different asset classes, and don’t forget about the ability to follow more experienced and professional investors as well. The overall layout of the app is very intuitive and simple. It is important to mention that the company has just announced a change in their business, making stock and ETF trading free of commissions and fees (this is a pilot plan available only in the UK).
If you are interested in building your own portfolio or simply to follow someone else’s, you should consider Etoro as a well-rounded broker and platform for European and International clients.
- Minimum Deposit :$200
- Best Feature : If you are interested in getting the best possible platform for social trading then look no more, you won’t find anything better than Etoro when it comes to copy trading
- Recommended for : eToro is a great option for any beginner investor interested in a more hands-on an active approach to the markets. The platform is incredibly easy and intuitive to use and the company also offers a vast library of educational content. You are getting a platform that will allow you to make money while learning from the markets
10. TradeStation – Paradise for Chartists
TradeStation is at the bottom of this list not because they are not good enough, but because they are the best in their own category. The firm focuses on delivering a high-performance platform for heavy users, like most institutional players.
Disregarding the size of your account, chances are you might never need the level of performance and accuracy that a name like TradeStation can offer, having said so the company has drifted to a more approachable business model in which retail investors and traders can also use their services.
The TradeStation Appa is a professional terminal for traders, while their layout is stylish and good looking, their goal has been to provide the best execution possible with every single trade.
If you still feel that your current broker is not providing you with the right tools or you are simply looking to try a more powerful platform, you should be aware that TS does not offer any portfolio management services. This means that you will have to rely solely on your trading and your personal execution, while this is not a concern for more experienced investors, beginners should be aware of it.
Please note that TS is the best option for power users if you are in need of a similar approach but with a more friendly platform I would recommend you to take a look at TD Ameritrade and Thinkorswim. It might not be as powerful in terms of charting and technical analysis tools, but keep in mind that just like a racecar might not be the best option for a daily driver, the same can happen with such a powerful platform. Depending on your needs a lower tier might be even better and it will also reduce the risk of committing unnecessary mistakes.
- Minimum Requirements: $500 minimum
- Best Feature: Best in class platform for active trading, access to all major financial markets and asset classes of the world
- Recommended for: I’ve been a TS user for almost five years now, I can actively recommend them for anyone looking to get a higher level of analysis over think or swim and also for individuals that will be trading move volume as it will result in an overall cheaper experience
With such a broad range of brokers and service providers to choose from, the reasons and excuses for an individual to stay away from the financial markets and investing are disappearing faster than ever.
I personally advise individuals to start investing as early as possible and to make of it a habit as important as doing exercise and having a healthy lifestyle. Even though there is always the chance of hitting a jackpot and making a lot of money with an early investment, it is key for individuals to visualize their investing career in the long run. Rome was not built in a day, and chances are your dream portfolio won’t either.
Take your time to plan your trades and investments accordingly, never forget investing is a marathon and not sprint. If you are having a hard time trying to decide which approach will be better for you then take your time to understand what are your personal expectations out of investing. By understanding your own self, it will be easier to make decisions that will ultimately drive you to fulfill your goals as an individual and as an investor.
With such a broad range of apps and brokers to choose from, it is difficult to explicitly name one as the very best of them.
After reviewing so many different names and trying their services I found that overall the best platform is Fidelity, this is mainly because of how their platform works perfectly for both experienced and beginner investors.
The firm offers a very competitive model that will work for both active and passive investors, allowing them to trade and operate under a single platform.
One common mistake committed by beginner investors is to choose between the two approaches based on what they believe will generate the most profits and money over their investments.
If there is something that the markets have proved and repeated time after time is that a money making mentality is the best way to reach failure and destruction in the markets.
Instead of following the money my advise is to choose based on their personality and also their time available. Unless you are going to focus on solely trading, a passive approach would be better as it won’t take that much time out of your regular schedule.
Please note that modern systems like robo advisors and even algorithms have made active investment even more approachable, but it is still important to keep in mind that there is a high risk associated with some of them due to their high market exposure.
Keep in mind that if you only have exposure on one sector and you only own a small number of stocks or assets, then it will only take a relatively small amount of time to actively manage it and rebalance it.
Otherwise, if the numbers of any of the elements increase, so will the time required to successfully and profitably run it.
One of the key elements of passive investment is that at least a majority of positions are bough with the idea of holding the assets for a long period of time (trades can be exited if conditions change), this allows for the overall experience of managing a passive investment portfolio to be considered straightforward.
Unless market conditions are extreme and hard decisions need to be taken actively, then I would venture to say that a privately owned portfolio with a small-medium size can take around 30 to 40 minutes a day to be managed. Please note that this might be time consumed during the day and not a full sitdown of 40 minutes.
There are many different types of asset classes that one individual can invest their capital. It is crucial for them to be aware of their goals and also their risk appetite before deciding which one to use and how much of their portfolio to allocate per asset class.
Due to their own nature, different asset classes will respond differently to the market environment and to stress. Please note that even though equities offered the highest average reward of the major asset classes, it also offers a higher risk. Don’t forget that a company can easily go bankrupt and that shareholders are the last ones to get paid in case of a complete default situation.
Take your time to truly understand how each asset class works and also how they would add to your portfolio, in reality, your major goal will always be to deliver a higher alpha at a lower beta of risk.
Over the years of my trading and investing career, I’ve seen many individuals that ended up losing large sums of money because of their approach to managing risk.
The Cowboys took unnecessary risks without truly analyzing the consequences, and the risk-averse ones let go of many golden ticket investments in an effort to simply minimize risk.
Becoming a successful investor is a synonym of being excellent at managing risk!
There are many different strategies and theories behind risk management and how it should be applied to different types of portfolios and asset classes.
One of the most common approaches for multi-asset portfolios is to reduce the correlation between sectors, asset classes, and even regions. Imagine owning a portfolio focused solely on stocks of car manufactures in Europe and realizing that the US government will increment taxes over al cars produced outside of the US, I can assure you don’t want to be “that” person.
Information and research is bliss for investors, take your time analyzing properly an asset before buying into it. Warren Buffett used to say that no one should buy a stock they wouldn’t feel comfortable owning for ten years. Take your time, it is better to make a small group of decisions and purchases than simply buying a little of everything in a portfolio.
Even though we crowned Fidelity as the overall best app for any investor, it is important to mention that there are other options that are more suitable for individuals beginning their careers as investors.
Depending on your approach to the market and your expectations, brands like Robinhood or M1 Finance may result in a better experience than regular discount brokers. Keep in mind that most brokerage houses offer a very complex approach to the markets as they are intended to be used for active trading as well as investing.