Should I Invest with Acorns Australia?

This little micro-investment app has been taking Australia by storm. Thousands have found it an easy, simple, and friendly way to get into the shares market without first having to amass large amounts of money. But is it the right step for you? While this article can’t take the place of proper personalised advice from a financial advisor, it should give you an idea whether the Acorns Australia mobile app is for you.

I like getting freebies

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Yes: While it’s probably not going to net you a stack of money, the app does offer incentives for recommending it to others; usually $2.50 bonus added to both your account and the new user’s. At the moment (16/03/2017), though, the bonus is $5.

Note: Use our affiliate link to sign up with Acorns Australia to get your own starting bonus of $5 (up till 30 March 2017; then it goes back down to $2.50), and start referring your friends and family to get further bonuses!

I have a large amount of money to invest

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No: Acorns is designed for people who need access to micro-investments. If you have a lump sum (say $10,000) to invest, you’re better off talking to a financial advisor and getting some personalised advice.

I do a lot of online shopping

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Yes: Acorns Australia offer a feature called Found Money: purchases made on partners’ websites earn you extra Round Up amounts that you don’t pay – the partner pays. For example, say I want to buy a case of XXXX Gold from the Dan Murphy’s website. I go to the Acorns app and tap Found Money. I choose Dan Murphy’s, tap Shop Now, and I’m taken to the website. I pay $41 for the purchase. I’ve configured the Acorns app to take out $1 when I spend a whole-dollar amount, so Acorns adds $1 to my Round Up tally. Dan Murphy’s adds $5 to my investment account. That’s an extreme example - if I’d spent $40.95, I’d only receive $0.25 from Dan Murphy’s – but it does show just how Found Money can add up to improve your investment.

I’ll need quick access to the investment

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No: It takes 3-5 business days to withdraw funds from the Acorns app and for them to appear in your bank account. If you need fast access to every bit of money that you own, then Acorns Australia micro-investment app probably won’t suit you.

I have trouble getting into good savings habits

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Maybe: The Acorns app does have a Recurring Deposit feature, where you can choose to deposit a specific amount every day, week, or month. It’s handy, but considering that most banks offer a similar feature (auto-transfer into a savings account), that shouldn’t be your only reason for using Acorns Australia for micro-investments.

I’d like to invest in shares but it’s too expensive

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Yes: The initial outlay required to buy shares – CommSec requires a minimum $500 transaction for shares, and charges a minimum $19.95 transaction fee – is prohibitive for people with limited amounts of money to invest. Acorns Australia allows you to invest small amounts at your own pace.

I can’t bear to lose any of my investment

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No: Acorns Australia does offer low-risk investment options, but on smaller amounts, you’ll find it difficult if not impossible to earn enough interest to justify the $15/year account fee. You’re probably better off looking for a bank account with a high-interest savings sub-account instead, or using old-fashioned term deposits.

If I see it I spend it

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Yes: If your main trouble with saving money is an urge to spend everything you have access to, then the app might be a great choice for you. Withdrawing money from the app takes 3-5 business days; that’s long enough that you probably won’t bother just for the short-term thrill of spending.

I have zero give in my budget

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No: This is a reality for a lot of people: every single dollar is earmarked for necessities, and there are no luxuries to do without. If this is you, then the Acorns app is only going to cause you short-term financial problems.

I suppose I should save more but my money just disappears

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Yes: The Acorns Australia app’s Roundup feature can be a godsend to people who find that they’re consistently spending their entire paycheck on little things like barista-made coffees and takeaway lunches. It monitors a designated bank account for you, and every time you spend money, rounds the price up to $1 (by default) and adds the extra to a tally. When the tally hits $5, it withdraws $5 from your bank account and adds it to your investment. Basically: the more you spend, the more you save.

I already own a lot of shares

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No: Acorns Australia probably isn’t going to provide the best possible returns for you. You’re better off talking to a financial advisor to check that your portfolio is correctly risk-balanced for your personal circumstances.