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Five Best Apps For Micro-Investing

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Micro-investing is a way for people to get started with investing with a lower threshold. It lets you invest with a small balance, often as little as $1. 

A few dollars here and there can add up. Even if you can’t make $500 mutual fund purchases monthly, you can build an investment portfolio from smaller deposits over time. Eventually, you could be in a position to invest using a more sophisticated platform than the micro-investing app you begin with. Here are the best apps for micro-investing.

  1. Stash

Stash packs the most features into the leanest package, delivering the best overall value for micro-investors. It offers three reasonably priced subscription plans:

  • Beginner. For $1/month, Beginner comes with a commission-free taxable brokerage account where you can purchase whole or fractional shares of individual stocks in increments of $1 or more. It also includes an FDIC-insured debit account with a debit card that earns stock rewards (Stock-Back) and two great automation features: Round-up (rounds up and invests the change on debit card purchases) and Smart-Stash (makes small automated investments whenever Stash thinks you can afford them).
  • Growth. For $3/month, Growth adds a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA, and a managed investing option for your taxable and retirement accounts.
  • Stash+. For $9/month, Stash+ adds up to two UTMA/UGMA custodial investing accounts, a metal debit card with 2x Stock-Back rewards, and $10,000 in no-cost life insurance coverage through Avibra.
  1. Acorns

Acorns is the best choice for micro-investors whose top priority is set-it-and-forget-it investing automation. It offers two powerful automation features:

  • Round-ups, which rounds up and invest the change on every purchase with your connected debit card
  • Found Money, which rewards you for shopping with partner companies (up to 10% back) and invests the reward.

Additional features:

  • Round-up Multipliers, which multiply the value of each round-up by up to 10x.
  • Custodial accounts.
  • Retirement accounts.
  • Fractional share investing starts at $0.01 per purchase.
  • Mobile check deposit and digital wallet integration.
  1. Robinhood

Robinhood is the best micro-investing app for more experienced investors who prefer an active, self-directed approach. Its user-friendly interface enables seamless buying and selling of stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies — with no commissions, ever.

Additional features:

  • Invest in fractional shares with increments as low as $1.
  • Access to additional market data with a Robinhood Gold subscription ($5/month).
  • Margin trading with Robinhood Gold and a $2,000 minimum account balance.
  • Ability to buy and sell options contracts.
  1. Public

The public does its best to demystify investing for beginners with low minimums, prohibitions on day trading, and clear, plain-English definitions of common investing terms wherever they appear. That’s enough to make Public the best micro-investing app for beginners.

Additional features:

  • Invest with just $5
  • Fractional share investing is available.
  • Build multi-company portfolios with one click using Public’s thematic investing feature
  • Drag and drop to separate short-term and long-term investments for tax optimization
  • Follow other Public users and companies to get investing ideas
  1. Greenlight

Greenlight is a financial education tool built around a kid-friendly debit card with full parental controls. Upgrade to Greenlight + Invest for $7.98/month ($3/month more than the base plan) to get access to a custodial micro-investing account too. It’s the perfect first brokerage account for tomorrow’s market-savvy investor.

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Four Ways AI Can Improve Your Next Meeting

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It may not be noticeable to most, but AI is now rooted in many aspects of our lives. From voice assistants to the cars we drive, to social media and shopping – AI is integrated into a multitude of everyday processes.

It should be of little surprise that AI is also becoming heavily embedded in our businesses. And while some people feel uncomfortable about this intersection of human and machine, it truly offers an abundance of transformative opportunities.

Here are four reasons why AI will continue to be important today and in the future:

  1. Automated note-taking allows brainstorms to go full speed

The days of being the meeting scribe and not absorbing what’s been said around you are over. Automated note-taking and accurate meeting transcripts are one of the simplest ways AI can help free up meeting attendees to focus on the discussion taking place.

Using this software means that transcripts can be searched for important keywords and ideas, allowing participants to fully absorb details after the meeting has concluded. Giving everyone at the meeting the ability to participate without the burden of constant note-taking fosters a lively and uninhibited discussion, encouraging a seamless flow of ideas.

  1. AI-powered action items, agenda updates, and deadline management

AI technology is founded on rules-based responses to decisions, meaning it can be taught to recognize keywords. Organizers can plug in important words such as “follow up” or “action item” and the AI can recognize them and react for easier sharing and review after a meeting.

In addition, AI can help to record deadlines and, if programmed to do so, could send out reminders as deadlines approach. With something like Natural Language Processing (NLP) embedded, AI can also know which parts of the meeting are most important, based on vocal tones, and can automatically record and share those parts with attendees, ensuring that none of the actions are forgotten.

  1. Automated capture of nonverbal cues

We all know those golden moments during a meeting where ideas are born and everyone reacts in a positive way – but they can be hard to identify, particularly if you’re engaging with remote workers on the phone or via video conference.

Wouldn’t it be great if AI was able to more easily recognize and record those moments, because they are generally identified by nonverbal cues such as facial expressions, nods, laughter, or peaks in the audio when everyone has that aha moment? A human note-taker may not be able to accurately capture this, but AI may be able to.

  1. Improved overall efficiency prevents meetings from dragging on

Everyone has experienced a meeting that seems to drag on endlessly, or watched co-workers talk in circles. This can happen when people are not paying attention because they’re scribbling on notepads and typing on laptops, bringing up topics that were already discussed. This is what turns meetings into chores instead of the energizing moments of team collaboration they are meant to be.

When AI removes the more mundane aspects of a meeting like scheduling or taking attendance, attendees can move through administrative tasks and housekeeping items rapidly, knowing the AI will have it all recorded for later reference, and move into free-flowing exchanges of ideas.

And for those routine meetings that occur frequently and don’t always entail a major brainstorming, AI also facilitates effective and concise meetings, so everyone can get into the meeting quickly, be productive with the time set out, and then get back into more inspiring work.

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Top Three Tech Start-Ups To Watch in 2022

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The enterprise tech startup sector is packed with companies capitalizing on growing demand — even amid the disruptions caused by the pandemic — for tools in the world of big data, devops, cloud, mobility, the internet of things and cybersecurity. 

According to Gartner, global IT spending is expected to grow by 6.2% this year, with total spending  projected to hit $3.9 trillion. The unprecedented acceleration of digital transformation in 2020 to satisfy the move to remote work, changes to education and new social norms presented by lockdowns has largely offset the early hit to IT spending caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Despite a rocky year, funding hotspots emerged from during the pandemic, with Massachusetts in the US, India, Indonesia, Israel, Australia and New Zealand, France, Belgium, and Brazil all reporting above average levels of funding.

“COVID-19 has shifted many industries’ tech-quilibrium,” said John-David Lovelock, distinguished research vice president at Gartner. “Greater levels of digitalization of internal processes, supply chain, customer and partner interactions, and service delivery is coming in 2021, enabling IT to transition from supporting the business to being the business. The biggest change this year will be how IT is financed, not necessarily how much IT is financed.” 

In this list, we highlight some of the hottest startups building software and services aimed at large enterprise customers, who their customers are, their funding so far and how close they might be to initial public offerings (IPOs) or acquisition in 2022.

  1. Cockroach Labs

Cockroach Labs is a software firm that develops commercial database management systems. Founded in 2015 by three ex-Google employees, it’s best known for CockroachDB, a cloud-native, distributed SQL database that provides “next-level consistency, ultra-resilience, data locality, and massive scale to modern cloud applications.”

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Cockroach Labs saw its revenue more than double in 2020, thanks in part to wide-spread cloud adoption. The startup expects to see similar levels of growth this year and claims to be on track to double its workforce from 200 to 400 employees by the end of 2021.

  1. Cohesity

There are a lot of factors that make Cohesity a ‘hot’ enterprise startup: unique technology, a founder on his second act after co-founding the now public software company Nutanix and $250 million in funding from SoftBank’s Vision Fund. 

The startup was originally pitched as a cheaper way for enterprises to store what it calls “secondary data” — backups, files, test/dev and analytics data — all monitored using a single cloud platform. It has since expanded into other areas of enterprise data management, including analytics, security and rapid recovery.

  1. Confluent

Founded by the creators of open-source Apache Kafka, Confluent is a commercial version of the software that helps developers manage system and application messaging at high volume and add real-time streaming data to their apps. 

Kafka has proved popular with companies like LinkedIn, which uses the technology for activity stream data and operational metrics; Netflix for real-time monitoring and its event-processing pipeline; and Spotify, where it’s used as part of the company’s log delivery system. 

The idea behind Confluent is to make it easier for companies that don’t have a surfeit of developer power to harness Kafka.

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Eight Trendy Online Clothing Stores For the The Thrifty Fashionistas

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The amazing rise of online clothing stores selling fast fashion — you know, cheap, trendy garments made to be worn one season only — has made it tough to be a budget fashionista. A true budget fashionista shops for value. You’re more interested in the $50 top you’ll wear 10 times, versus the $20 top you’ll wear once.

So all of those ultra-cheap retailers are cluttering the landscape, tempting us with their low-cost garments that may or may not be wearable in three months. On top of that trend, we’re also dealing with the slow disappearance of brick-and-mortar department stores.

What’s a fashionista to do? To help you navigate these turbulent times, we’ve created the big list of our fav online clothing stores for budget fashionistas.

  1. ASOS

ASOS is a go-to for any budget fashionista. The retailer always has a giant selection of pieces that are priced right. And you don’t pay sales tax in the U.S., which is a nice perk. We especially love ASOS for its specialty collections: ASOS Tall, ASOS Petite and ASOS Maternity.

  1. Dorothy Perkins

Dorothy Perkins has been around for nearly 100 years and has a huge retail presence in the UK. The online store carries sizes 2 to 18, and you can also shop by fit: petite, plus, tall and maternity. Styles are classic, so you’ll find lots of versatile pieces in solid colors.

  1. Mango

Mango.com has a high-fashion feel to it, without the high-fashion prices. New pieces are usually priced around $50-80, and you can find amazing deals on their sale page. Like Dorothy Perkins, Mango leans towards solid-colored pieces that use interesting cuts and fabric combinations to stand out.

  1. Modcloth

Modcloth describes itself as a vintage fashion store, but you don’t need to own cat-eye sunnies to shop there. Styles are a tad funkier than you’ll find on Dorothy Perkins, but in a good way. If you have a streak of quirky, you’ll love Modcloth.

  1. Missguided

Need some bodycon? A blazer with cut-out shoulders? Head to Missguided for high-impact garments that cater to the 20-something set. And if you’re a student, you qualify for 30% off non-sale items!

  1. Nasty Gal

Nasty Gal is also for the younger (at heart or by the clock), edgier fashionista. This online store carries its own Nasty Gal line, plus designs from Bardot, Glamorous, Jaded London and Love, Courtney by Nasty Gal. Check the sales often for fashion finds under $15.

  1. Rosegal

Rosegal‘s collection is far more down-to-earth than Nasty Gal’s. You’ll find loads of cute daytime wear, like asymmetrical t-shirts, plaid shirts, hoodie dresses and floral shift dresses. While the site is probably most popular with college students, there are garments suitable for older fashionistas as well.

  1. Tobi

Uniqlo‘s motto is “simple made better.” The Uniqlo collection is consistent in style and pricing — you’ll find pieces that are very wearable and affordable. From $60 down jackets to $15 bras, pieces in the Uniqlo collection can fill almost any fashion void you have.

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