Have $5? You can invest with Stash app

- A brand new app that launched October 14 makes it easier than ever to become an investor. It's called Stash. To get started, you just need two minutes, $5, and a cell phone. Co-founders David Ronick, Ed Robinson, and Brandon Krieg created the Stash app in New York City with the goal of getting more people to put their money in the markets.

Ronick says more than half of Americans don't invest, particularly people under 30 and those who don't earn a lot of money. Last winter, the Stash team interviewed more than 100 people to try to understand what was holding them back. The same problems kept surfacing: investing is confusing, unrelatable, and expensive. So Ronick, Robinson, and Krieg built Stash to solve those problems.

Stash simplifies the options out there by offering about 30 different investments; mostly ETFs (exchange traded funds) managed by big firms with strong track records such as Vanguard or BlackRock.

Stash users pick investments that matter to them from three different categories: I Want, I Like, or I Believe. Robinson says the idea is to pick things that line up with your interests. Love Warren Buffett? Buy a little bit of Berkshire Hathaway. If you're concerned about the environment, there's a Clean and Green investment. You can also invest in internet or social media companies, if technology is your thing.

Once you've picked your funds, the virtual Stash Advisor makes sure you're on the right track. Krieg says that as you make choices, the advisor will tell you whether you're diversified enough. If you're picking too many technology investments, for example, it may tell you to mix up your portfolio.

More than 50,000 people signed up for the Stash waiting list while the app was still in beta testing. Want to join them now that Stash is up and running? The app itself is free. Fees start at $1 a month for the first $5,000 you invest. Once you're above $5,000, you pay 0.25% per year. You do not pay additional trading fees or commissions.

Stash even includes an optional social component that allows you to compare your investments with your friends' portfolios.

Right now Stash is only available on iOS, but the Stash co-founders say their Android app is coming soon.

For more information, check out: www.stashinvest.com

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