I can’t say what exactly the turning point was for me, but at some point in the past few years, I decided to get excited about investing. It’s not the most glamorous decision I’ve made, or the most fun (ahem, wine tasting certification), but it’s by far been the most rewarding in terms of ROI and just basic financial understanding.
I didn’t grow up in the kind of house that talked money or promoted savings or allowances or anything like that. I grew up on a farm, which meant you worked because chores needed to be done. In high school, I might have taken a life skills class where we learned how to balance check books (I think we also learned how to iron and cook eggs in that class, which gives you some perspective on it). I’m good at saving when I have a goal (traveling to Europe for example), but other than that, money kind of sifted through my fingers.
Deciding to invest came at a time when my husband and I were working through our financial plan shortly after getting married in 2011, and figuring out goals and general standing. I took the lead on the project since research is kind of my thing, and we wound up choosing Capital One Investing:
- Low trade fees
- Automatic investments
- Smartphone app (no lie, this is one of the major criteria on my rubric)
- Initial investment amount (since we were new to this whole thing, we didn’t want to lock in a massive sum of money, and Capital One allows us to flex the amount in our account without penalties or accruing fees)
I started buying stock based on the information solely in the app, but that’s since expanded to further research, including my favorite resource, Yahoo!’s analyst opinion. Analyst opinion collates information from larger investment firms and also gives you target prices so you can see that, even if something is expected to balloon, it might not amount to much, so put your money somewhere else.
So far, investments are making up a smaller portion of our overall income, but with portfolio rebalancing happening every 6 months (or…you know, when I feel like getting back to it), there’s not much to expect at this point beyond ~$200 month or so. The app has become a little outdated as well, which might have spurred my disinterest as well. The UI feels very clunky, and the web interface isn’t much better, which tells me it’s time for a change. With the plethora of new options out there like Robinhood, I’m planning on researching (MORE!) to make a switch. What’s your favorite investment app?