Financial, Legal, & Realty

Shane Smith

3 minute read

How Technology Is Changing the Way We Invest

In today’s tech-focused market, investing has become much easier. With advances in investment apps and websites, both tech-savvy and conventional investors can leverage their wealth and plan for their futures.

Services like Wealthsimple have been able to take the guesswork out of investing and automate the process. Financial expert Shane Smith details how technology can help any investor get the most for their money.


Wealthsimple uses an algorithm called the Modern Portfolio Theory. This Nobel prize-winning system helps to diversify your holdings through investing in a variety of funds. For beginning investors, the program generally selects low-cost index funds, though there is more flexibility as the investor’s portfolio begins to grow.

Wealthsimple offers automatic withdrawals from your checking or savings account, automating the process of investing. This is a great feature for people who are likely to spend their money if they see it in the checking account. Wealthsimple enables people to pay themselves first and to grow their portfolios gradually over time.

There are two levels of service: Wealthsimple Basic, for portfolios under $100,000, and Wealthsimple Black, for larger portfolios. The fee is 0.5% annually for the Basic tier and 0.4% for the Black offering.

Wealthsimple has a few drawbacks. It does not come with any financial goal-setting tools, unlike other programs in its class. Users would need to download another app to explore the possibilities of their portfolios. Wealthsimple remains a solid offering which is easy to use and gets the job done.


Acorns is ideal for the investor who is starting from scratch. The program rounds up credit and debit card transactions to the next dollar and then invests that money in the market. Since the program rounds up transactions, it is a painless way to start saving. It is ideal for college students, beginning investors, and people who have a hands-off approach to investing.

Acorns offers four years of free services to college students with a (.edu) email address. This is a great way to begin healthy saving habits during college. Users can invest as little as $5 at a time, enabling them to build their portfolio slowly.

The program has three tiers of service. The first, priced at $1 per month, consists of only the Acorns investment account. For $2 a month, the Acorns Later retirement account is added. For $3, both tiers of service are combined with the Acorns Spend checking account.

One downside of Acorns is that it has higher fees than most other robo-managed investment platforms. Rather than charging a percentage of a user’s account, Acorns has a flat monthly fee. This fee seems small, but as a percentage of a small account, it can be steep.

The program also has fewer investment choices than Wealthsimple and its competitors. Other programs will give investors a better-diversified portfolio. It is also missing financial planning services and tax information. Acorns remains a good choice for small-time investors or those who need to get into the habit of saving regularly.


Betterment is a platform that offers benefits to small and large investors alike. With in-app contact with real financial advisors, the program provides the kind of personal service that other robo-managed platforms are missing.

Like Wealthsimple, Betterment provides automatic rebalancing, enabling portfolios to be adjusted without input from the user. It is ideal for hands-off investors and retirement investors. The program also comes with financial goal setting tools, which are missing from Acorns and Wealthsimple.

Betterment charges 0.25% to 0.4% depending on the plan chosen. One advantage to Betterment is that the lower tier plan carries a zero account minimum, making the program a good choice for beginning and low-balance savers.

Betterment Premium carries a $100,000 account minimum. It has many more abilities to customize a portfolio through the percentage of each type of investment.

Manage Your Money Automatically

All of these platforms are able to help investors get their feet wet in the market. They are simple to use and provide automated management tools. Shane Smith recommends all three of these platforms and encourages everyone to begin saving and investing in the stock market.

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