Started in October 2015, over 2 million people now use Stash to invest.
Stash took top honors at the Webby Awards in the financial services and banking categories in 2017 and 2018 and was rated as a “Tech Company To Watch” by The Wall Street Journal.
So, is Stash legit? Absolutely. But, like every other company–and every other person, for that matter–they’re not perfect. We’ll get to the downsides of Stash later in this Stash review, but for now, let’s look at the big upsides.
Stash Review: The Upsides
1. Stash gives you a lot of options and choices. Like, a whole lot.
There are over 251,479 unique Stash portfolio combinations.
Unlike most robo-advisors, Stash lets you do a great deal of learning and customizing. They also have a robust learning library and walk you through virtually everything there is to know about investing via their platform.
This is a huge plus and definitely goes in the positive column for this Stash review. There are countless investing options with Stash, and each option has a unique risk level. You can view the entire list of companies per setup, plus ticker symbols and loads more. They really shine here, and the educational resources are great.
Stash users are 25% more financially literate than the general U.S. population.
This availability of information is a welcome addition. This is especially valuable for new investors because it gives them a “look under the hood” and helps with learning. You can also sort the options based on risk level, which ones pay dividends, which are socially responsible, support human rights, etc.
2. The design and UX are intuitive, user-friendly, and smooth.
There’s something to be said about how gorgeous the Stash app is.
It’s a powerful first impression and this definitely goes into the positive column of this Stash review, that’s for sure. There’s something to be said about folks who can make the complicated, easy.
And that’s exactly what Stash accomplished with their setup. The only drawback here is that there isn’t a desktop interface, and as someone who loves to do research on the go, then spend set things up at home on a desktop, it’s a bummer.
But, nevertheless, signing up is fast, easy, and painless. Just enter your information, make your first deposit and you’re portfolio will get set up for you based on your risk level. Again, quick and easy.
Stash Review: The Downsides
1. ”Investing” and “passion” don’t belong together.
The whole premise of Stash is to invest in your passions, but encouraging one to invest based on their passions is actually terrible advice. Why? Because human behavior, and investing based on emotion, is one of the first things researchers and regulators caution against.
In fact, all of the best investing books caution against this. Putting money into something based on emotion is what separates investing from speculation (or gambling). However, this does make for great marketing. But, regardless, this one has to go into the downside column of our Stash review. Because it’s at odds with such fundamental, sound investing wisdom.
2. Investing in your passions can be costly, too.
To Stash’s credit, again, being able to invest in one’s passions makes for great marketing.
I remember when I first heard about it I gave it a look because it piqued my curiosity. As an entrepreneur and a marketer, I dig it. But it’s expensive, too. Let’s take their Social Media Mania fund as an example.
If you were to invest $5000 into this fund, your total fees would be 0.90, which is pretty costly. Other funds with Stash range from 0.35% to 0.65%. To their credit, some are lower, but that’s just not good enough.
Why? Because Wealthfront (the best robo advisor, by the way) charges only 0.25%. Betterment, another truly exceptional robo-advisor, charges 0.15% to 0.25%. That’s a good deal, especially given the robust features these have.
So, this too goes in the Stash review downside column, because cheaper options with more features exist.
Stash Review: The Unknown?
At a deeper level, compromises and contradictions seem inevitable.
While working our way through this Stash review, we discovered another, likely unintended, side-effect.
Many companies in the curated Stash funds are revered for reasons that contradict others.
Here’s what I mean:
Let’s say investing in companies that do good for the environment is important to you. But so is making money. So let’s say you put money into the Delicious Dividends fund. Who doesn’t want some juicy dividends? I know I do!
Well, Exxon Mobil is responsible for 3.22% of the world’s total fossil fuel emissions and they’re going to be a big part of what makes that fund profitable. It’s complicated, and it’s not Stash’s fault. But it’s a contradiction nonetheless, and one you should be aware of, so you can make the decision for yourself.
Stash Review Wrap-Up
Stash is an excellent app for both new investors and seasoned investors alike. Its interface is fast, easy and intuitive, and makes doing research enjoyable. However, that convenience comes at a price. Other apps offer similar, albeit not as attractive, features for less. That $5 minimum deposit shouldn’t hurt your pockets.
In the meantime, order yourself the best investing books, fatten up your brain and get some skin the game with Stash today.