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5 Best Investment Apps: Investing for Beginners 2020 | The Strategist

Photo: William Foley/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images

I once believed that, like detached earlobes or the ability to curl one’s tongue, financial know-how is a trait that you are born with. When I learned that is not the case, I hoped that one day I’d just be imbued with financial wisdom, but simply “getting” finances never really happens either. The fact of the matter is that most of us graduate from college with a lot of debt and no handbook for how to make, grow, and manage our money. The world of personal finance is filled with dull jargon — and that’s before you even get to the fine print of terms and fees. Still, I would argue that the hardest part about basic investing is coming to the realization that it is something most people need to educate themselves about. Once you come to that realization, though, there is good news: Basic investing is not that hard.

I make that claim with the disclaimer that I have worked for two of the bigger, newish investing apps (Stash and Qapital) that have arrived on the scene offering to help beginners in the world of money management. But I also make it as someone who majored in creative writing and had no idea about how to put one’s money to work before she started looking into it. Most big banks and brokerages have investing arms and offer their own spiffy apps, but the crop of newish start-ups aim to further simplify socking your funds away, no matter how little (or much) money you start with. To help new investors sort through the options, I spoke to more than a dozen experts — including certified financial planners, journalists, influencers in the personal-finance space, and even some first-time investors — about their favorite investing apps and why they recommend them to beginner investors.