Finances

Stash – 2023 Review

Stash is a contemporary investment platform that enables individuals to start investing with as little as $5, offering a simplified approach to investing. This 2023 review presents an in-depth look at Stash’s features, merits, and potential drawbacks.

Stash seeks to simplify the investment process for novices, with no account minimum needed to get started (though a $5 investment is required to initiate the managed Smart Portfolios). It comes with a monthly fee of either $3 or $9, depending on the level of service and type of account desired. Stash could be an excellent choice for those who appreciate guidance while they assemble a portfolio of stocks and ETFs. However, for those solely seeking automated portfolio management, exploring other options might be advisable.

Our Take

Overview and Concept

Stash is a user-friendly platform primarily designed for novice investors who are keen on navigating the world of finance with minimal complications. It provides a doorway to a diverse range of investments, including ETFs, individual stocks, and bonds. The app-based interface simplifies the process and turns complex investment activities into an accessible, everyday routine.

$20

Stash – Get $20 of Bonus Stock

Stash – Get $20 of Bonus Stock

Download Stash. Add cash to your account, and they will give you $20 of bonus stock.

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Doesn't expire

Features and Offerings

One of Stash’s stand-out features is its commitment to financial education. Its vast library of learning materials enables users to understand the principles of investing, encouraging informed decision-making. Stash also provides personalized investment advice tailored to each user’s financial goals and risk tolerance.

Moreover, the platform offers a diversified portfolio option with its curated selection of over 3,000 stocks and ETFs. Users can also participate in fractional share investing, thereby gaining access to high-value companies that might otherwise be out of reach.

The “Stash Coach” feature is another added bonus. This tool provides regular challenges to help users diversify their portfolio, learn more about investing, and keep up with their financial goals.

Pros

  1. Hybrid Investment Approach: Stash offers the best of both worlds, with options for do-it-yourself (DIY) and automated investing. This flexibility caters to a wide array of investors, from hands-on individuals who prefer controlling their investments to those who favor a more passive, automated approach.
  2. Fractional Shares: Stash’s fractional shares feature enables users to start investing in high-value stocks with a minimal investment. This makes companies that might have been out of reach due to high share prices, accessible to average investors.
  3. Values-based Investing: Stash allows investors to align their portfolio with their personal values. They offer a variety of ETFs that focus on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) criteria, enabling users to make investments that reflect their beliefs and priorities.

Cons

  1. Lack of Tax-Loss Harvesting in Smart Portfolios: While Stash’s Smart Portfolios automate the investment process for users, they currently do not offer tax-loss harvesting. This means they do not automatically offset gains with losses for tax purposes, which could lead to higher taxes on investment income.
  2. No Automated IRA Management: Stash does not provide automated management for Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). This could be a disadvantage for users who prefer a hands-off approach to retirement planning.

Fee Structure

Stash operates on a subscription model, offering three tiers: Stash Beginner ($1/month), Stash Growth ($3/month), and Stash+ ($9/month). Each tier provides different benefits, including personal investment accounts, retirement accounts, and custodial accounts for minors, depending on the level of subscription.

However, it’s worth noting that these fees could represent a significant percentage of your investment if you’re starting with a low balance, which is something to consider before signing up.

Stash at a glance

Period considered: 2022

Account minimum$0 ($5 for Smart Portfolios).
Account management fee$3 per month for automated investing.$9-a-month tier available with access to Kids Portfolios (custodial accounts) and higher Stock-BackĀ® rewards. Full details about each option below.
Investment expense ratiosAverage is less than 0.06% for Smart Portfolios.
Account fees (annual, transfer, closing)$0 standard transfer fee, or 1% fee for instant transfers.Outgoing ACAT full transfer fee: $75.
Portfolio mixSmart Portfolio mix is well-diversified but lacks exposure to non-market correlated assets like REITs and commodities. Smart Portfolio does give access to cryptocurrency.Over 4,000 individual stocks and ETFs are available in the DIY individual brokerage account.
Socially responsible portfolio optionNo automated socially responsible portfolio.Themed ETFs, including socially responsible ETFs, are available in the DIY individual brokerage account.
Accounts supportedIndividual brokerage accountsROTH and Traditional IRAsUGMA/UTMA accountsNote: Only individual brokerage accounts are available to be managed with Smart Portfolios. IRA and UTMA/UMGA accounts are available for DIY management only.
Tax strategyNot available.
Automatic rebalancingSmart Portfolios option features automatic rebalancing upon withdrawals or contributions, plus quarterly rebalancing.
Human advisor optionNot available.
Bank account/cash management accountStash offers access to an online banking account with a stock-back rewards debit card, but the account doesn’t pay interest.
Customer support options (includes how easy it is to find key details on the website)Phone and email support Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern.Additional email support is available on weekends from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Eastern.

User Experience

Stash’s user interface is intuitive and well-designed, offering a smooth user experience. The app provides a clear snapshot of your investments, portfolio performance, and account details. Moreover, the platform’s responsive customer service provides assistance in case of any issues or queries.

$20

Stash – Get $20 of Bonus Stock

Stash – Get $20 of Bonus Stock

Download Stash. Add cash to your account, and they will give you $20 of bonus stock.

More Less

Doesn't expire

Conclusion

Despite its fee structure, which can be a bit steep for smaller accounts, Stash remains a strong contender in the robo-advisory field. Its focus on financial education, diverse portfolio options, and user-friendly interface make it a suitable choice for beginner investors. However, as with any investment platform, potential users should thoroughly assess their needs, goals, and the associated costs before embarking on their investment journey with Stash.

Dmitry Pierce

I am passionate about understanding consumer behavior, identifying market trends, and creatively communicating the unique value of products or services to potential customers. I am driven by a desire to positively impact people's lives by helping businesses succeed.

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