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Acorns Investing Review 2020: Is It Worth It?

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Written by Ryan Scribner
Updated on July 9, 2020
Acorns Review
  • Ease of Use
  • Investments
  • Fees
  • Account Types


Acorns is a beginner friendly investment platform that makes saving seamless. The Acorns platform will round up your debit card purchases to the next dollar, and invest the difference. This way you can begin investing small sums over time. Acorns caters to investors who would like to get started, but may struggle with saving or committing capital to investments.


Easy to use platform

Automatic deposits into your account via rounding up your purchases

Invest in pre-built portfolios based on your circumstance


Limited investments

High fees, especially for smaller accounts

Cannot purchase individual stocks

In the same way squirrels store acorns for the winter, now you can stash away money to fuel your life in the coming years – or even decades. The world of investing was once open only to the wealthy, but those times have changed, my friend, with the advent of Acorns, an online robo advisor that lets you squirrel away small change that will eventually add up to big bucks. In this Acorns review, we will be discussing the nuts and bolts of this investing platform - pun intended.

You can start your portfolio with pennies – literally – and you don’t even need to curtail your spending, keep an Excel spreadsheet, direct set-up withdrawal, or do any math for that matter. The platform will round up your purchases to the next dollar, then invest it into your Acorns portfolio. Can it be that simple? With Acorns, it can.

What Is Acorns?

 Acorns aim to gather momentum from beginner investors who don’t have a plan in their monthly budget for diversified investments.  Or those who don’t really know what diversification means. Or – God forbid – those who don’t even know what having a budget means.

Acorns Core, the first platform, comes with a monthly fee of just $1. This is the initial offering that facilitates micro-investing of as little as one cent. Buy something for 99 cents, and it is rounded up to $1 with that extra coin tossed into your investment account. Ok, so maybe you can’t buy much for 99 cents, but you get the idea.

You sign on with Acorns Core’s Invest the Change app and forget about it. Once your round-ups total $5, the money is withdrawn from your linked checking account and invested, where it will grow like a massive oak tree, allowing you to branch out and reinvest your dividends (Going too far with the acorn analogy? Ok) until you have a substantial portfolio. There are no minimums and zero commission fees.

How To Invest Your Spare Change

This loose change comes from any purchases made from a linked debit or credit card or even your PayPal wallet, making it the very essence of found money. More than 150 experts in Irvine, Portland, and New York take care of your investments (how they picked those locales, we don’t know, but that’s where they are).

Oh, and if you’re a starving college student - or even if you’re subsisting on Ramen – Acorns will waive the $1 a month fee. That’s right, you’re in for free.

Once you really get rolling and have invested more than $5,000, Acorns will charge an annual fee of 0.25% of your assets.

Acorns Core seamlessly transfers those extra coins into investments potentially diversified across more than 7,000 stocks and bonds (you read that right. 7,000). These are automatically rebalanced with market fluctuations up and down.

Investments can take up to 3 days because as smart as the folks at Acorns are, they can only buy shares during the open stock market, just like the regular Joes.

You can add to your wealth by making one-time investments from anywhere. Got an extra $10 from skipping your daily stop at Starbucks? Shuttle that right into your Acorns account and watch it take root. If you’re super organized, you can schedule weekly or monthly transfers from your bank account into your Acorns investments.

Acorns Investment Options

You’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to determining the flight path of your portfolio, which is a select combo of investments, often stocks and bonds, that you own. Stocks are shares of ownership in a business. Bonds are a debt investment where investors loan money to a business for a defined period and an agreed-on interest rate.

Are you a risk taker? Or do you prefer slow and steady? Whatever your personality dictates, Acorns will tailor a portfolio for you. Just answer some short, simple questions about your lifestyle and financial goals, and a mix of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) will become your fledgling portfolio. Easy peasy.

You may want to do some soul-searching about your financial future when you determine your investment objective because you’ll need to boil it down into one of 5 options:

  1. Long Term Investment
  2. Short Term Investment
  3. Major Purchase
  4. Children
  5. General

Your Acorns account is a Limited Trading Authority account. You will be directed (or can even choose yourself) into one of 5 Acorns investment portfolios, but you will need to go with the flow on which ETFs make up those portfolios. Necessarily, you cannot pick and choose your ETFs or investments with Acorns.

ETFs are made up of stocks and/or bonds that often replicate an asset class or indexes such as S&P 500 or Dow Jones Industrial Average. In other words, they are mainstream, not off the beaten path.

Here are breakdowns of how your money will be invested, based on your risk tolerance:


  • 12 percent of Large Company stocks
  • 2 percent Small Company stocks
  • 2 percent Real Estate Stocks
  • 40 percent Government Bonds
  • 40 percent Corporate Bonds
  • 4 percent International Large Company stocks


  • 40 percent of Large Company stocks
  • 20 percent of Small Company stocks
  • 10 percent of Emerging Market Stocks
  • 10 percent of Real Estate Stocks
  • 20 percent International Large Company stocks

If this list is interesting but not totally understandable, no worries. Those 150 experts previously referenced? They’re guided by the genius of Nobel Prize-winning economist Dr. Harry Markowitz, who led the development of all the portfolios and leads the advisory board.

In other words, they’ve got your back.

Acorns investment performance

Earn, Spend, Grow And Later! But wait…there’s more. Acorns Earn is a cache of retail partners that will earmark an extra 5 to 10 percent of your transaction in cash back to your Acorns brokerage account. Who might these partners be? They include Nike, Apple, Airbnb, Macy's, DirectTV, Walmart, and others on a list far too long to dictate here.

Then there’s a cool offering called Acorns Spend, a debit card for a checking account with Acorns built-in. The account has no minimum balance requirement, no overdraft fees, and unlimited free or fee-reimbursed ATMs nationwide.

You can also partake of Acorns Grow, that’s online access to a vast variety of tutorials and other educational content to help you untangle the complicated concept of smart investing. Just as an acorn seed grows, so will your knowledge of what it takes to win at the game of stocks, bonds, and securities.

Last but not least is Acorns Later, that are Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) both traditional and Roth. Acorns experts will recommend an IRA for you based on your goals, employment, and income, then keep you posted on how it’s doing. IRAs allow you to save money without all the tax implications of other investments.

You will be in good company: more than 250,000 have already signed on as Acorns Later investors. And if you already have an IRA or 401k, astute reps will help you roll it over into Acorns Later. As you approach retirement, your investments will begin to shift to line up with your goals.

Acorns Core plus Acorns Later comes with a monthly price tag of just $2.

If you want to throw caution to the wind and sign up for Acorns Core, Acorns Later and Acorns Spend, it will cost you $3 per month.

Pros Of Investing With Acorns

  • Passive investing strategy of automatically rounding up spare change.
  • Fees are waived for college students.
  • Retirement accounts are available through Acorns Later.
  • Acorns Spend debit card connects directly with your Acorns account.
  • Passive ETF investing with a variety of portfolio options.

Cons Of Investing With Acorns

  • $1 monthly fee puts a dent in small accounts.
  • Cannot purchase individual stocks through Acorns.

Acorns Final Verdict

Overall, Acorns is a robust investing platform for beginners. Our only gripe with them is the unforgiving $1 monthly fee (unless you are a college student, then it is waived). While this may not sound like a lot, this can put a massive drain on small accounts.

If you invested just $100, for example, for one year you would pay $12 in fees to acorns. That equates to 12% of the total account! For that reason, we don't recommend Acorns for small accounts. You may want to consider one of these other free investing platforms.

Overall, they offer a robust platform for beginners to get started with passive investing. The addition of Acorns Later makes them an appealing choice for retirement investors. Once your balance exceeds $5,000 and you are merely paying them 0.25%, this is a reasonable fee, and it is in line with competitors like Betterment.

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