Updated: Jul 9, 2021
Whenever I used to hear "investing in the stock exchange" a white-collared man in a fancy suit walking into a big building was what immediately came to mind. It was very much so like that scene in "The Pursuit of Happyness" where Chris Gardner, Will Smith's character, stumbled upon a businessman hopping out of his red sports car. Like Gardner, investing wasn't within my realm of possibilities, until it was - many hours of study and practice later. Unlike him, thankfully I didn't need to commit to a 6 month unpaid program.
After attending a personal finance conference I started my investment journey in the least complicated way; opening an account with Acorns. I opened that account with as little as $5, turned on round-up investments of my purchases, and set up recurring deposits for the "Invest" and "Later"accounts. Although this made me feel a sense of progress towards financial freedom, I truly wanted to learn to invest like "the big guys". I had eavesdropped investment conversations between one of my cousins and his friend over their gains in Robinhood and I wanted in, so I did.
I created my account with Robinhood and set up a recurring deposit of $20 per month; and so it began... Every month I would select several stocks and do my research. I read news, watched stock valuation, jotted down significant growth and/or losses and learned about the different ways it is possible to invest. I went down into the investment rabbit hole. I learned all the "fancy" terms ~IRAs, Roth IRAs, index funds, target date funds, multi-funds, money-market accounts, dividends, S&P, Dow Jones, diversification...~ and put them to practice. I had some investing home-runs and some losses, but at the end of the day learning to trade at $20 per month made sense for me financially, while I saw my accounts grow.
After several years investing with Robinhood, I learned about a new investment platform through YouTube's favorite personal investment creator, Graham Stephan. In many of his YouTube videos he used to promote the investing platform WeBull. After a dozen or so videos later I signed up and quickly realized why he was so vocal in promoting it -besides of the 1-4 free stocks for referrals of course. Although I still invest through Robinhood, I fell in love with several of the investing features available in WeBull.
Although this pieces should not be taken as financial advice, in my opinion these 3 platforms have been the easiest to use and more straightforward when in the process of going from beginner to advanced in trading.
To make this simple, I will list out the pros and cons of investing with each of these platforms.
Trading level: Beginner
Easy account set up; investments portfolios based on age and risk, *NEW* Sustainability portfolios.
Great looking and easy to navigate mobile app; including a learning section
Possibility of opening a Checking account (Spend) with recurring investments of a specific % to the Invest and Later accounts.
Ability to open multiple accounts for Kids (Early)
Great offers of companies investing to your invest portfolio
Referral program starting at $5 per referral up to $1,000 with special offers; Comes with referral message: Hey! I'm using Acorns and I love how easy it is to save and invest for my future. Join me and you'll get a free $5 investment! https://share.acorns.com/dmninternational
Monthly fees- $1 only invest account, $2 invest and Later (Roth IRA), $3 Invest, Later, and Spend account, $5 Invest, Later, Spend, and Early
Less flexibility on the fund allocation - you can only choose between a solely age/risk or sustainability portfolio.
Trading level: Skilled Beginner
Easy to navigate mobile platform with direct links to significant company news, stock categories, and simplified company analysis.
Fractional shares; after waiting period
Possibility of opening a cash management account
Availability of a "line of credit" to trade while funds are in-transit (Instant Deposit limit)
Referral program 1 free stock per referred friend; Comes with referral message: Join Robinhood with my link and we'll both get a free stock 🤝 https://join.robinhood.com/deboram292
Options trading too easy; many people have had big losses
IPO Access has to be requested
Crypto trading requires separate identity verification
Cash management account; interest rate not the most competitive in the market
In-depth company information only available in Gold - $5 per month fee includes: Level II Market data, Morningstar research, Instant Deposit starting at $5K, Margin investment available with a 2.5% yearly interest rate.
Trading level: Advanced
Computer platform trading available
Paper trading competitions; prizes in Amazon gift cards
IPO trading simple and straightforward; notices include direct links to company prospectus.
STOCK LENDING PROGRAM 🤩 In the platform's words, "The Stock Lending Income Program provides you with the opportunity to earn extra income on fully-paid stocks held in your account by allowing WeBull to borrow certain stocks. While your shares are on loan you will be paid an income that is accrued daily and credited to your account on a monthly basis"
Crypto trading does not require separate identity verification
Most competitive referral program on the trading apps on market; You can receive from 1 to 4 FREE stocks per successful referral depending on the available offer; Does not come with message unless it's within a specific offer https://act.webull.com/pr/CDIeSQvHTrje/zcv/inviteUs/main
Account approval process takes a little longer than the other platforms
Mobile app not as easy to navigate
Referral bonus qualification expires after certain amount of time if your referrals do not make their deposit within the dates listed in the referral offer
Fractional trading not available for stocks
Side note: although both of these platforms offer crypto trading always remember, "no keys, no crypto" so go ahead and make your Coinbase account and crypto trade the "right" way. It also comes with a referral message ;)
Hi - I've been using Coinbase which makes it really easy and safe to buy, sell, and store digital currency (like Bitcoin). Sign up now and get $10 of free Bitcoin when you buy or sell at least $100 of digital currency. Claim your invite now: https://www.coinbase.com/join/menieu_6?src=ios-share Let me know if you need help, Debora Menieur