How to Get the Most Out of the Acorns Investment App

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If you’ve been thinking about opening an Acorns account, then it’s safe to assume that you want to begin saving and investing for the future, which is great. After all, there is no surer way of accumulating wealth than by investing consistently and regularly over time.

But whether you’re a complete novice investor who is just starting out or you’ve been around the block a handful of times, your goal in using Acorns is going to be the same: You want to maximize your investment growth and make the most money using the app.

Below, I outline the quick steps that you can take upon opening an account to ensure you are getting the most value out of your Acorns account. This is by no means a comprehensive investing guide or anything like that; it’s simply meant to be a hit list that you can use while setting up your account to make sure you’re growing your oak as quickly and consistently as possible.

But first…

What is Acorns?

Acorns is an investment app that was designed to make it easy for beginners to start investing, regardless of how much or how little money they have. It was originally designed around the concept of micro-investing: Investing small sums of money over time by purchasing shares or fractions of shares in ETFs. Because investors didn’t need to save up to buy full shares of stocks or ETFs, this means that they could begin growing their money faster and easier than ever before. Since it was founded in 2012, the app has grown way beyond what it initially was, offering many ways for investors to grow their wealth.

The guide below assumes that you already know what Acorns is and how it works, so if you’d like to do some more digging into exactly how Acorns works, you should check out this Acorns review that I wrote and which I regularly update.

Without further ado, here are the steps that you should take to get the most out of your Acorns app.

How to get the most out of an Acorns account

Step 1: Open an account.

Your first step in maximizing the value of your Acorns account will, of course, be to open an account. It takes less than 5 minutes to do and honestly can’t be easier. Using this link to open your account will earn you $5 deposited directly into your account, helping you start growing your portfolio right from the start.

Step 2: Choose the right Acorns Core portfolio.

As you go through the process of opening your Acorns account, the app will ask you a number of questions. These questions are designed to help Acorns understand your investment timeline and goals so that they can recommend one of five investment portfolios to you. But, ultimately, you are free to choose whichever portfolio you’d like, regardless of what the app recommends.

I can’t tell you which portfolio is best for you, because everyone’s financial situation is different. The portfolio that is best for you will be one that matches your risk tolerance and investment timeline, while also helping your money grow as much as possible.

What I can tell you is this: Over the long run, portfolios consisting mostly of stocks offer the best opportunity for growth, but they can carry a lot of risk in the short term. If you’re investing for the long term, you can probably get by in the Aggressive or Moderately Aggressive portfolio.

Step 3: Sign up for Round-ups.

If you want to make investing something that you mindlessly do all the time, then you should definitely be using the Round-ups feature, which works by turning every purchase you make into an opportunity to invest.

 

Use more than one card? Link up all of your debit and credit cards to the app to get the most out of the feature.

If you want to get even more out of the Round-ups feature, you can choose to boost your savings by using the “Multiplier” feature. Using this feature allows you to multiply how much you save with each purchase.

For example, if you bought a $0.80 pack of gum and had Round-ups turned on, you would invest $0.20. If you have a 2X multiplier, this would become $0.40. If you had a 5X multiplier, it would be $1. And if you did the maximum, a 10X multiplier, it would be $2.

Step 4: Set up a recurring investment.

Want to really turbocharge your Acorns portfolio? The best way to do this will be to set up a recurring investment.

To set up a recurring investment, you choose how much money you want to invest and how frequently you want to invest it. You can choose daily, weekly, or monthly recurring investments.

Investing regularly and consistently over time like this will allow you to ride the market, buying more when shares are cheap and less when they are expensive, helping you reduce some risk compared to making a massive investment all at once. And like with Round-ups, making it automatic removes some of the mental barriers that might prevent you from otherwise carrying through with it.

Step 5: Invite your friends.

For each friend that you invite to use Acorns, and who ends up signing up, you will earn $5. That’s a nice little boost for you for simply being a good friend!

Also, depending on the month, you may be eligible for referral bonuses if you refer a certain number of friends. In the past, these bonuses have been:

  • $1,000 after referring 10 friends during the month
  • $1,000 after referring 12 friends during the month
  • $500 after referring 5 friends during the month
  • $100,000 split amongst all users who refer 10 friends during the month

The exact rules for the referral bonus change from month to month, and could always go away, but while it is being offered you should definitely take advantage of it! It’s a nice, simple way to add free money to your account.

Step 6: Earn Found Money.

If you’re planning on buying something—anything—you should first check the deals in the Acorns Found Money portal before heading to the store. Doing so can net you some big bucks deposited into your account, helping it grow even faster.

You can learn more about Found Money here.

Step 7: Open an IRA with Acorns Later.

Want to save and invest for retirement? Opening an IRA with Acorns Later will let you do just that, and only costs an additional $1/month. In addition to putting away money for your future, you’ll get some helpful tax benefits that will add up to big savings over time. Really, everyone should be opening—and maxing out—an IRA every year.

Don’t forget: Once you open your IRA, set up a recurring investment so that it is growing over time!

Step 8: Consider signing up for Acorns Spend.

If you are all about earning that cashback and Found Money, then you may want to look at opening an Acorns Spend debit card. Though details are still a little slim (the function officially launches later this year) Acorns Spend is a debit card that promises to help users get even more out of the Found Money functionality. Plus, it’s free banking, which is a win-win.

Step 9: Don’t check your account too often.

Once your Acorns account is open and growing, you shouldn’t log in too often to check your balance. Doing so might get you excited when the market is up, leading you to pull out money and use it, or cause you to panic when the market is down. In the long run, it is best to set it and forget it, checking your account on a quarterly or yearly basis to determine if you need to make any changes.

The Bottom Line

Like all investing, the more time your money has in the market, the more it will ultimately grow; following the nine steps above will allow you to get your Acorns account off to a proper start.

Want to learn more about investing and personal finance? You might enjoy these articles:

Why Students Should Start Investing While in College
3 Ways College Students Can Start Investing Now
The College Student’s Guide to Investment Terms
10 Personal Finance Apps Perfect for Busy College Students
12 Best Personal Finance Websites for College Students

About Tim Stobierski

Tim Stobierski is the founding editor of Student Debt Warriors. A freelance writer and editor with a passion for teaching people about all things personal finance, his goal is to help parents and students tackle their student loan problems so that they can live happier, healthier lives. Tim's writing has appeared in a number of publications, including The Huffington Post, The Hartford Courant, Grow Magazine, and others. His first book of poetry, "Chronicles of a Bee Whisperer," was published in 2012 by River Otter Press.

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