Ten years ago, no one would have imagined that it would be possible to manage you stocks from nearly anywhere with the help of your phone. Today, mobile trading is a very convenient way to constantly keep an eye on market prices, and even buy and trade. Although there are a lot of great apps out there, I’ve yet to encounter one app the encompasses everything it takes to be a successful mobile trader. However there are several apps that when combined together make for a mobile trading force of Megazord proportions. And all of them are 100% free.
Robinhood removes the barriers of entry that would make young traders like myself unable to participate. It’s the Venmo of the trading world. It charges absolutely no commission on trades and the owners of the app have come out and said that they never plan on charging commissions. On top of that, there’s no minimum-balance and the sign-up process is super easy. In fact, the whole entire interface of the app is so easy to use that it netted Robinhood an Apple Design award back in 2015 (the first financial app to do so!). Unlike some exchanges that delay quotes and charge data fees, Robinhood uses real-time market data to give you the most accurate information possible. Whenever you’re ready to buy or sell, you can do so with just a few clicks of a button.
And you know you can trust Robinhood to handle your money as they use super-secret encryption methods AND are members of FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) and the SIPC (Securities Investment Protection Corporation), which will protect claims up to $500,000. Ya know, just in case you happen to make a casual hundred-thousand profit or whatever. The biggest downside to Robinhood is that the data is a bit light for day trading, but that’s why we have other apps at our disposal.
If you’re going to invest, you’re going to have all the information you can get on trends and developments. That’s where StockTwits comes in. Billed as Twitter for stocks, StockTwits is so much more. Yes, the crux of the app is user-generated content. Users can post short tweets (or twits?) on stocks or the S&P 500 index and they can note if the feels are bullish or bearish. Feeling good about gold prices in light of the most recent interest hike? Let other investors know. Just want to chat about buying bonds? You can do that to.
You might be thinking, “Wouldn’t people lie about what’s going on in order to manipulate markets?” The answer is “no”. What’s great about StockTwits is that it’s a community. Anyone who’s making funny-looking call will be called out with extreme prejudice. Beyond user-generated activity, StockTwits does a great job of automatically compiling data from across the internet to keep users as informed as possible. Think Twitter Moments or Facebook news. In summary, StockTwits keeps you in tabs with the stock community so you know that your next investment isn’t a stab in the dark. But the social element is just one side of the equation. The other is the data.
There are bigger, badder, more reputable stocks trackers out there, but I like this one. It’s an independent app made by one man and it costs absolutely nothing more than space on your phone’s hardrive, whereas other apps will charge you an arm, a leg, and $9.99 to $6.99. Yes, you can pay more money for services, but the default suite is pretty formidable on its own and way more comprehensive than anything else out there that’s free. Whether you’re playing the long-game or are just trying to make some trade throughout the day, I can’t recommend this app enough.
Fees will eat large donut-sized holes into your investments if left unchecked. FeeX helps you figure out if you’re spending too much money on fees and, if your are, recommends ways to reduce those pesky fees. Just link your trading and retirement accounts to the app and FeeX will compare your numbers to its ultra sophisticated database. As an added bonus, FeeX can also help you figure out if you should let your 401(k) rollover into an IRA, or let it stay as is.
So you’re interest in trading but you don’t really want to go all in, yet? Heck, maybe you don’t want to really do any hands on trading whatsoever? That’s where Acorns comes in. Link Acorns to your debit card and it will add your spare change rounded up to the nearest to an investing piggy bank. Once that piggy bank hits 5$, Acorns will automatically invest that money for you. Easy-peasy.
*Out of all of the above apps, Acorns isn’t free. It costs a buck a month until you hit $5,000 and then it switches to a .25% fee.