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Top 5 Free Investment Apps in 2020

 2020 has proven to be a tough year for the stock market, and many investors have pulled their money out of stocks in a desperate bid for lower risks investments. Like any financial downturn, those who are purchasing stocks on the downhill slide will be the ones to make money when the market rebounds. An easy way to start managing your investments is with an investment app. Investment apps work well for those without the economic savvy to build a balanced portfolio from scratch. When deciding to invest, watch out for unexpected fees that can deplete your returns. Fees from investment firms once made it difficult for small investors to access the market, but today’s technology has made it possible to start investing with as little as $5.00.

The top free investment apps

1.Fidelity—Fidelity has a clean and easy to use app that makes it easy for first-time investors to explore their options. Fidelity also offers a broad range of commission-free ETF’s, which are great for investors who aren’t starting with a large amount of money. The best part about Fidelity is that they offer no minimum balance IRA’s, meaning you can start saving for retirement with as little as $5.00. The investment app also has a learning tool that can help you understand the basics of building a portfolio.

2.Stash—The Stash app is free, but does come with a small monthly fee no higher than $1.99. Stash is one of the simplest ways to get started in investing, and it encourages you to use a tool to determine your investment goals based on a series of questions.

Best of all, Stash has no minimum to start investing and allows fractional shares. Fractional shares are exactly as the name states. If you want to purchase a high-value stock that is priced at $100 per share, you can use $5.00 to buy a fractional share, and you then own 1/20 of a share.   The Stash app makes it easy to see, at a glance, how your investments are performing and makes setting up automatic deposits easy. Stash also offers a way to earn money, as you can receive an extra $5.00 for every new member who uses your code to join.

3. Vanguard—Vanguard was at the forefront of offering free and low-cost investing. When you buy and sell Vanguard ETF’s, you don’t pay any commissions. You also do not pay any account fees if you sign up for online account statements.

The Vanguard app is free and offers a wealth of information. It is almost too much information, as it is a bit more challenging to navigate than the other investment apps. Once you spend some time using the app, the extra swipe or two to access the information you want is less cumbersome.

4. TD Ameritrade—This investment app is best known for free options trading. They also have commission-free pricing for stocks and ETF’s. TD Ameritrade also offers zero-fee and no minimum balance for IRA accounts, and it was one of the first industry giants to lead the way to lure in those wishing to invest with lower sums of money.

 The app itself is easy to use but does not offer full investment services from the app. To invest in mutual funds and certain other products, you have to use the website. However, once you have made your investment, you can track changes with the app.

5. Acorns—Acorns is an older investment app that is still unbeatable in the ease of use category. Acorns make saving and investing simple. One of the best features is the spare-change feature, which allows every purchase you make with your linked debit card to be rounded up to the nearest dollar amount. The spare change from each purchase is then rolled into your Acorns account. Acorns app allows you to roll existing IRA’s into an Acorns IRA, making it easy to manage everything from one simple and free app.

 

The top reasons for using an investment app in 2020

These apps help make getting started in investing less stressful. The low minimums make it easier for those new to investing. New investors can begin with a small sum of money and learn as they slowly build a portfolio. We are also a society that is addicted to ease, and convenience and these five apps make it easier than ever to save and invest without a significant learning curve. In these uncertain financial times, it is comforting to be able to see your portfolio at a glance and make changes with incurring fees.  

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EveryDollar vs. Mint Which Budgeting App is Best?

The 2020 economy has been shaky for the first half of the year, but that does not mean it isn’t a great time for beginners to start investing. Investing in a market downturn means that the stocks, bonds, and ETF’s you invest in have more room to gain value when the stock market enters another upward trajectory. If you are unfamiliar with an investment strategy, or the best ways to let your money earn money for you in the long-run, an investing app can help you start investing your money right away. The best investment apps also provide tools to help you learn about investing as you grow your portfolio.

The three best investing apps for beginners

M1 Finance—one of the best features of the M1 Finance app is the pre-built portfolios. These portfolios make it easy for beginners to get started on the fly by choosing the portfolio that fits their goals.

 There are no management, commission, or trading fees to worry about, so you are free to invest without worry that hidden fees will eat away at your gains. M1 also offers a tax-efficient selling strategy that is great for those new to investing. When you withdraw money, your holdings are sold in accordance with a pre-set tax savings strategy.   M1 Finance also offers a nice mix between a robo-advisor, and traditional investing. You can follow the automated prompts and let the app make your investment decisions for you after answering a series of questions, or you can explore and invest on your own as you feel more comfortable. M1 uses pie charts to help you clearly understand your overall portfolio, assisting the beginners in learning how a balanced portfolio should look.

1. Webull App —Webull is built for those looking to actively manage their portfolios, with tons of information available for those ready to jump into the learning process of investing. Webull does not offer automated strategies but gives new investors the tools to research each investment they are considering. Webull consistently ranks among the top investing apps for those who want in-depth learning about investing in the stock market.

The Webull app offers a virtual trading simulator that gives you one million dollars in fake money to create a virtual portfolio where you can try out your investment strategies before investing real money. For those who are looking to learn on the fly, the simulator works great for those who learn better from hands-on experiences than dry technical jargon.

2. Robinhood —Robinhood’s design is tailored for beginners to learn at their own pace with zero account minimum and no hidden fees. The app supports fractional shares, allows you to invest in cryptocurrency, and has an easy to use interface that means you can download and start investing immediately. Robinhood reduces the learning curve to almost zero for first-time investors and provides tools to help you learn about things like risk tolerance, ETFs, cryptocurrency, and how to invest during a recession.

Technology makes learning on the fly easier than ever

Investing your money can seem risky and overwhelming. Still, technology has made it simple for those with no previous experience to start the practice of saving and investing while learning along the way. The top apps are those with built-in learning tools to help individuals explore the world of investing at their own pace. The advanced financial metrics, analysis, and reports have their place, but those new to investing shouldn’t be overwhelmed with too much information. The low and no minimum investing apps are great for those wanting to slowly start building a portfolio that grows along with their knowledge. Tools and calculators that show you the power compounding interest when you invest consistently over time are potent motivators to start saving and investing. Even small sums of money, like five or ten dollars, invested weekly for years, can turn into a nice nest egg when dividends and interest earned are reinvested.

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7 Ways to Make Money on Instagram

 

Unemployment is at an all-time high with the spread of COVID-19, and as a result, more and more people are desperately searching for creative ways to make money. Some are turning to the gig economy and doing freelance work while others are monetizing their artistic hobbies. The internet is vital when it comes to making money in today’s world, and social media, particularly Instagram, can be a great tool if you learn how to utilize it the right way. Read on to learn seven ways to make money on Instagram.

Published Sponsored Posts

An influencer is a term that gets used quite often nowadays, but few people truly understand the meaning. An influencer has the power to affect the purchasing decisions of a specific audience based on their activity on social media or other online platforms. Influencers tend to have massive followings in particular niches, and people look to them as an authority figure because they have built up a reputation of knowledge and expertise on a specific topic. Brands want to capitalize off of these influencers and will often pay them to make posts about their products to help increase awareness and ultimately, sales.   It’s difficult to determine the exact number of Instagram followers you need to attract brands to pay you for sponsored posts as it depends on your niche. Some niches, such as fashion or food-related accounts, typically have a lot of competition, so you will need a significant amount of followers in these industries to stand out. It also depends on the engagement of your followers. If you have 100K followers, but most of them are bots or fake accounts, you won’t be too attractive to big brands. However, if you have 50K real individuals who actively engage with your posts, big brands will see the advantage of working with you.

Become a Brand Ambassador

Some big brands want a dedicated influencer to make frequent posts regularly, promoting their brand in a positive light. Brand ambassadors often get free products to try and promote, so there is a bonus for becoming an ambassador! While influencers tend to be paid per post, brand ambassadors typically get paid in a lump sum. These professional relationships generally are more long term and involve a contract that requires an influencer to post on a set schedule, following strict guidelines.

Sell Products Online Using Instagram

If you have a product, you own or make you feel there is a demand for, consider creating an online store and promote it through Instagram. You can make posts about what you are selling and have a link in your bio to your e-commerce shop where people can purchase your product. Instagram has also launched a “shopping on Instagram” feature that allows users to add product tags and stickers to their Instagram story to market their business further. With this update, people can purchase the specific product they are seeing by clicking a tag rather than navigating to the online store and trying to find the item they saw on your page.

Sell Services Online

You can promote and sell your services on Instagram if you have a service that is in high demand, such as photography, cooking lessons, modeling, etc. Photography is an excellent service to promote on Instagram as you can display your talent directly on your profile. Your profile is your portfolio, so it’s easy for an individual to decide whether they like your style. Selling classes is an ideal way to make money using  Instagram, as you can upload short clips or videos demonstrating the level of instruction you provide.

Sell Photos Online

Instagram is, at its core, a photo-sharing app. Therefore, it’s primary purpose is to connect with others through visuals. If you have a professional-grade camera and can take high-quality pictures, you can sell them on Instagram. You can then use your profile to promote your business with relevant hashtags. Because digital photos don’t have shipping costs, as long as you calculate your overhead expenses, it is relatively easy to make money selling digital products.

Dropshipped Products

Dropshipping is a business model that allows individuals to sell products without ever holding any inventory. A user will promote products on their Instagram page, and once they make a sale, the supplier will ship the product directly to the customer. Shopify’s e-commerce platform integrates with the Dropship business model and allows you to experiment with your Instagram account to find the most profitable niche. Starting a dropshipping business provides an easy way to make money, and promoting your products with quality photographs posted on Instagram is a great way to take advantage of free advertising.

Affiliate Marketing Using Instagram

Many brands choose to sell their products through an affiliate program to save money on marketing. As an affiliate marketer, you work for a brand selling its products on your page and receive a cut for every sale you make. While an influencer’s goal is to increase awareness, an affiliate marketer doesn’t make money unless they make a sale. Therefore, they are more motivated to get people to buy. With this kind of marketing, your posts should target a specific audience, and your marketing strategy should be aggressive.     What started as a way to share photos with friends and family has quickly turned into a money-making machine. Used the right way, Instagram can be a great way to make money online when times are so uncertain. The above ways to make money on Instagram are examples many people have used, but there are numerous creative ways to use Instagram to help grow your online business.  

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Top 5 Day Trading Platforms in 2020

 

 

Day trading, as the name implies, is buying and selling shares in the same trading session. Day trading is not something those new to the stock market should try, as it takes training, intuition, and knowledge and can still be a risky endeavor. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) instituted the Pattern Day Trader Rule to protect consumers after the dot.com crash. The rule requires that you have at least twenty-five thousand dollars before attempting day trading. Choosing a day trading platform means knowing what features and price points are most important to the way you practice day trading. Low-cost trades are essential, but you also need a platform loaded with the features that help you day trade effectively.

Top 5 platforms for 2020

1. TradeStation—day traders love TradeStation for the commission-free trades on ETFs, Options, and stocks. TradeStation offers a wealth of features in both its web-based platform and its desktop platform, allowing you to access the platform any time and from anywhere. The platform technology offers numerous tools, including a customizable rea-time streaming watch list, Matrix which tracks ladder trading, and an optimizer designed to tests advanced trading strategies.

2. TDAmeritrade—TDAmeritrade has almost continuous offers for new customers, including commission-free trades and, at times, free cash for new accounts. One of the most popular tools, especially for those who are still perfecting their day trading craft, is the ability to do virtual trading with fake money. TDAmeritrade is an excellent place to start for those just entering the world of day trading. Traders do not have to worry about outgrowing the platforms, as it offers the advanced tools used by professional day traders, as well. You have the desktop platform, but you can also customize the TDAmeritrade app to have a quick look at the things you are tracking.

With TDAmeritrade, you can plot economic data, replay historical markets in a tick-by-tick manner, and create and conduct real-time scans of stock performance. One of the unique features offered by TDAmeritrade for day traders is the capacity to chart social sentiment, which experienced traders know is crucial for determining their own buy and sell signals.

4. E*Trade—E*trade was founded in 1982 and was one of the first online brokerage firms. That doesn’t mean the platform is outdated. Instead, the platform has invested in keeping abreast of new technology in the brokerage world and offers one of the best performing platforms in 2020. One of the strongest features is that the desktop platform is supported by two different mobile apps, making it one of the best platforms for mobile and options trading.

  Given the long history in the business, E*Trade has had plenty of time to perfect their research tools and education. E*Trade works well for those beginning in day trading but remains a favorite of experienced day traders.

5. FirstTrade—This platform is a favorite among options traders, as there is no contract fee for the broker, which is not commonly seen in the crowded field of online brokerage platforms. FirstTrade also appeals to day traders because it offers three different trading platforms customizable to the trader’s preferences and a recently redesigned mobile app. Hence, the information you need is always at your fingertips.

6. Interactive Brokers—the platform offers two different platforms, the pro, and the lite. The pro version offers a favorite among active day traders because of the IB SmartRouting, which helps traders save money on each cleared commissionable order. It is one of the best platforms available in 2020 because it is designed for a truly global marketplace. The platform supports full access to 135 markets in 33 countries, dealing in 23 different currencies. All-day trading, on a worldwide scale, can be conducted from a single integrated account.

Day trading in 2020

From your very first trade, you will be competing against the very best in the field. Finding the right platform, and taking time to familiarize yourself with how the platform works, is crucial to success. Utilize the virtual trade tools that allow you to work with fake money as you build your strategy before starting your career as a day trader. Trades take only moments to complete, but the research that goes into each trade can take hours, especially in the turbulent markets of 2020. Day trading is a field of significant losses and substantial gains, often in the same day. If you are risks adverse, do not thrive on stress, and cannot afford to lose the money you are investing, you should probably avoid day trading. However, if you thrive on a challenge, like taking risks and can afford the potential losses, there is money to be made.

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5 Ways to Invest and Make Lots Money During the Coronavirus or any Recession

 The stock market experienced significant turbulence at the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic and continues to drop as the economic impact continues to grow. The Coronavirus is what is known as a Black Swan event. Black swans are rare, but they do exist, and the term has come to symbolize economic events that are rare and impossible to predict. As the news continues to report gloom and doom in the economic sector, many investors sell-off their stocks in an attempt to stave off dramatic losses. Keeping your money in cash during an economic downturn is almost always a bad idea. There is money to be made if you are willing to accept some risks and invest wisely.

5 Investments to make money during a recession

  1. Real-estate—a housing market collapse is a great time for real estate investors. Prices drop, and the market is oversaturated, meaning you can often find property for far below its appraised value. You can then turn your investment into a rental property to generate income, and sell when the market is on an upswing.
  2. Invest in dividend stocks that performed well during prior economic slowdowns. Dividend stocks generate passive income, and if you buy during a recession when the price is low, they will increase in value when the market rebounds.
  3. Consider investing in healthcare. With an aging baby boomer generation and technology driving healthcare advances, stocks in this sector will be resistant to wild swings in the market.
  4. Precious metals increase in value during times of economic uncertainty. Timing is essential, as you need to buy in at the first sign of financial trouble, as the price will continue to climb the longer and deeper the recession becomes.
  5. Pay attention to companies with a low debt ratio whose stocks are bottoming out. If the company deals in goods or services that are likely to withstand the recession, then buy low and sell high.

Things to consider about investing during a recession

Investing money during a recession requires that you avoid the prevailing panic and choose ways to diversify your portfolio so that you can still make money. The adage of “what goes up must come down” works in reverse as well when talking about investing. No matter how bad the economic forecast looks, there will be another bull market, and those who invested when prices were low will reap the rewards when they start to soar again. Your retirement portfolio should be adjusted as you approach retirement age. Younger people, with a decade or more before retirement, can tolerate higher risk. Those who are approaching retirement age need to make sure their retirement portfolio is balanced toward investments that still offer some returns, but are less risky if the market turns sour. The first step to a sound investment strategy is to know your risk profile. You should always have enough cash in a high yield savings account to see you through paying your expenses and living for six months. The six-month cushion should not be invested, because you need easy access to this money. Once you have reached this point, you need a medium and long-term investment strategy. The money you invest in long-term goals includes your retirement savings.  Whatever is left over is what you can afford to invest to meet medium length goals such as educating your children, buying a second home, or just for the pleasure of making money. These funds are what you should be investing in during the Coronavirus or any other recession.

Ways to make money during the recession

For creative thinkers, there are numerous ways to make money during a recession. The current recession, brought about by a pandemic, offers some unique ways to earn money.

  • Establish a delivery and errand service catering to the needs of those who are most vulnerable to the virus. Charge a reasonable fee to run errands, pick up prescriptions, or to make a quick dash to the corner store. You will be earning money while providing a valuable service to those who need it. Advertise on neighborhood apps, social media, and word of mouth.
  • As the unemployment numbers continue to soar, people will be searching for new jobs. To enhance their marketability, they will want to learn new skills. Consider setting up online classes to teach specific skills. Make a list of the skills you have, and determine which ones would have the highest market value for those seeking employment. Technology makes it easy to set up, and your only significant investment would be your time.

 

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Companies that Buy Ideas: Get Paid for Your Great Ideas

Companies around the globe are continually seeking new and innovative ideas from private citizens. Companies search for ideas that they can create and sell for a profit, but some companies will pay for your idea to keep it from appearing on the market. If your great idea would make their product obsolete, then they will buy the rights to your concept to protect their product(s).

How to get paid for your idea

To increase the odds of being able to sell your ideas for a top price, consider building a prototype. It is easier to sell a concept that is proven to work, and that someone can see how the finished product will look. Once you have a working prototype, there are numerous ways to get your idea in front of companies willing to buy your invention. You also need to have a plan in place to protect your ideas before you attempt to sell them to a company. As soon as you know, you have a great idea that could be worth money, you need to file a Provisional Patent Application (PPA) to keep someone else from stealing your idea or invention. A PPA is registered with the U.S. Patent Office and marks an early patent date. It is generally good for one year from the date of filing and will expire if a patent application is not filed. The PPA exists to help avoid the costs of filing for a patent while you work on perfecting or selling your idea, while still protecting the concept itself. Prepare a professional presentation to help companies understand the full scope of your great idea. Along with your three-dimensional prototype, you will want to prepare a sell sheet. The sell sheet should include, at a minimum, the following:

  • The inventions features and benefits
  • The intended market
  • The problem, need or challenge the invention meets
  • The legal status of your idea, including your PPA, copyright or trademark

Companies that buy great ideas

Now that you have prepared a prototype and a sell sheet, it is time to focus on getting paid for your idea or concept.   Start by identifying the field best suited to your idea and then look at the most innovative companies within the field. Some companies have an established reputation for their willingness to buy ideas or concepts from private individuals. These companies include:

  • The Sharper Image—The company has a reputation for seeking out the latest tech toys and gadgets to market to consumers. The company has a team of technicians that review product ideas submitted by private individuals. You can email them at productideas@sharperimageonline.com, and they recommend that you include a description of your idea and a video or a picture of the prototype.
  • Henkel Partnership Program—Henkel is the parent company of Dial and Right Guard bath and body products. The Henkel Partnership Program is an ongoing contest that allows individuals to submit their ideas and prototypes for potential development by Henkel. Their current most significant interest is in the field of sustainable living products and products that have environmentally friendly technology. Send videos or pictures of your prototype, along with your sell sheet to Henkel Corporation, 10 Finderne Avenue, Bridgewater, NJ 08807
  • WirthCo Engineering, Inc.—this company is always seeking new ideas related to RV and automobile products. You can send your information about your invention or idea to WirthCo Engineering, Inc., New Products Dept., 6519 Cecila Dr., Minneapolis, MN 55439.
  • Hearlihy & Company—The company is explicitly seeking products related to education, including technology and curriculum. Send your proposal to Hearlihy & Company, Attn. Scott Papenfus, 714 W. Columbia St., Springfield, OH 45504.

Companies also routinely sponsor contests for new and innovative ideas, so do your research about any ongoing contests once you have the presentation of your idea ready to go. Make sure you do a thorough vetting process of any company before submitting your idea because even a PPA isn’t a guarantee that an unsavory company won’t attempt to steal some part of your design for their use without paying.

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Top 3 Investing Apps for Beginners to Learn on the Fly

 

 

The 2020 economy has been shaky for the first half of the year, but that does not mean it isn’t a great time for beginners to start investing. Investing in a market downturn means that the stocks, bonds, and ETF’s you invest in have more room to gain value when the stock market enters another upward trajectory. If you are unfamiliar with an investment strategy, or the best ways to let your money earn money for you in the long-run, an investing app can help you start investing your money right away. The best investment apps also provide tools to help you learn about investing as you grow your portfolio.

The three best investing apps for beginners

M1 Finance—one of the best features of the M1 Finance app is the pre-built portfolios. These portfolios make it easy for beginners to get started on the fly by choosing the portfolio that fits their goals.

There are no management, commission, or trading fees to worry about, so you are free to invest without worry that hidden fees will eat away at your gains. M1 also offers a tax-efficient selling strategy that is great for those new to investing. When you withdraw money, your holdings are sold in accordance with a pre-set tax savings strategy.   M1 Finance also offers a nice mix between a robo-advisor, and traditional investing. You can follow the automated prompts and let the app make your investment decisions for you after answering a series of questions, or you can explore and invest on your own as you feel more comfortable. M1 uses pie charts to help you clearly understand your overall portfolio, assisting the beginners in learning how a balanced portfolio should look.

1. Webull App—Webull is built for those looking to actively manage their portfolios, with tons of information available for those ready to jump into the learning process of investing. Webull does not offer automated strategies but gives new investors the tools to research each investment they are considering. Webull consistently ranks among the top investing apps for those who want in-depth learning about investing in the stock market.

The Webull app offers a virtual trading simulator that gives you one million dollars in fake money to create a virtual portfolio where you can try out your investment strategies before investing real money. For those who are looking to learn on the fly, the simulator works great for those who learn better from hands-on experiences than dry technical jargon.

2. Robinhood —Robinhood’s design is tailored for beginners to learn at their own pace with zero account minimum and no hidden fees. The app supports fractional shares, allows you to invest in cryptocurrency, and has an easy to use interface that means you can download and start investing immediately. Robinhood reduces the learning curve to almost zero for first-time investors and provides tools to help you learn about things like risk tolerance, ETFs, cryptocurrency, and how to invest during a recession.

Technology makes learning on the fly easier than ever

Investing your money can seem risky and overwhelming. Still, technology has made it simple for those with no previous experience to start the practice of saving and investing while learning along the way. The top apps are those with built-in learning tools to help individuals explore the world of investing at their own pace. The advanced financial metrics, analysis, and reports have their place, but those new to investing shouldn’t be overwhelmed with too much information. The low and no minimum investing apps are great for those wanting to slowly start building a portfolio that grows along with their knowledge. Tools and calculators that show you the power compounding interest when you invest consistently over time are potent motivators to start saving and investing. Even small sums of money, like five or ten dollars, invested weekly for years, can turn into a nice nest egg when dividends and interest earned are reinvested.