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The availability of investment applications makes it tempting to download one and get going. But have you seriously investigated your current financial situation?  Have you considered the wide range of options available on the different investment platforms? Without a sound understanding of your finances, investment mistakes could significantly impact your quality of life.  It would be best to start with a thorough review of your current situation before expanding your investments. When you feel you are ready to begin independently investing, you’ll find there are many, many applications to choose from.   

Recently, I’ve noticed a steady rise in the number of apps that advertise to help investors at all levels quickly invest.  Because of this influx of new applications, there are also numerous factual or opinionated product reviews. But striking out on your own can still be scary. It seems like the number of apps doubled overnight, and they all offer different strategies, designs, fees, resources, and a lengthy list of additional resources. Thankfully, many of these apps provide different levels of support and various tools based on your needs. It’s hard to decide to invest independently, but selecting the right tools for the job may make all the difference.  

PLATFORM FEES 

If you are researching apps to help manage investments, it’s a sure bet that you are concerned about your money. During my research, one of the first things I considered was fees. How much will it cost to use this service? Prices vary widely and should be closely considered before choosing an investment app. One app I found to have reasonable fees is M1 Finance.

TAXES  

  Of course, worrying about how much money I currently have is not my sole concern. Like you, I take taxes into account. While looking at the various investment strategies available, I came across Betterment. This platform has been recognized as one of the “go-to” apps for investing when taxes play a prominent role in your strategy. But your ability to select individual stocks will be limited. When I studied a comparison between M1 Finance and Betterment, I decided the ability to choose stocks and create a personalized portfolio was more critical than having help with taxes. Plus, M1 offers investments in partial stocks. If I want to purchase a stock but the price is too high, I can buy part of the stock. It’s a great way to invest in Blue Chip stocks with lower availability of funds. 

PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT 

 Another good investment platform is Fidelity. When comparing Fidelity to M1 Finance, I noticed they are very similar applications. But Fidelity provides human portfolio monitoring. Having a person available is a very comforting service for many investors. However, I’ve decided to take more control of my investments and prefer to save money on lower fees and access to the more robust robo-advisor provided by M1.  

FINAL NOTES 

M1 Finance, Betterment, and Fidelity all offer valuable tools and guidance. If my financial situation included complicated tax issues or if I felt having someone managing my portfolio was necessary, I would spend more time evaluating Betterment and Fidelity. But I’ve decided lower fees, a valuable robo-advisor, and increased freedom to select individual investments are more valuable to me and why I believe M1 Finance is the best option. 

But don’t just take my word for it; you should always do your own research.  There’s no shortage of websites with the information you need. Once you’ve narrowed your list of applications, you may want to download and try them out. If you can’t try out the tools without setting up an account, you can always create a “dummy” account and go from there. You should spend a significant amount of time with each application, clicking everything you find and looking for the tools you need. If you are taking more control of your finances, you want to be comfortable using the application interface.  The last point – Don’t forget you can always change platforms if you are not satisfied with your initial choice. These applications have made opening and closing accounts easy. Remember, evaluate your financial situation first, take your time selecting an investment application, and be on the lookout for a better resource.  Happy investing!