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The world of financial technology can be just as exciting and futuristic. Now, you can invest in the stock market with a "robo-advisor", and it's just as easy as moving money from one account to another with your banking app.

In the past, investing in the stock market had a massive barrier to entry. You needed tens of thousands of dollars in savings before an investment firm would team you up with a broker.

It wasn't because it's difficult to invest with a small amount of money. It was because investment firms pursued big commissions, which they were less likely to come by working with middle class investors.

So, what exactly are robo-advisers? No, they're not robots with adorable bow ties and desk jobs, counting money while giving each other high-fives.

Instead, they're automated investment services that make decisions on your behalf based on your personal goals — and there is no minimum to get started.

More: Best robo-advisors

Robot making money at a desk job
Anggi Rois/Shutterstock
No, they're not tiny robots with adorable bow ties and desk jobs.

One of the biggest names in the automated investing game is Betterment. Its basic "Digital" package allows you to access its services for $0 down. It breaks down a customized plan for your age and income to help meet your goals with retirement, a safety net and general investing.

During an interview at the 2016 Future of Fintech conference held in New York, Jon Stein, CEO of Betterment, described the service as "the self-driving car of financial services."

Kamilah O'Brien from FocusedSpender explains how she uses robo-advisers to save for the down payment on her first house.

"Betterment realized that I was not going to reach my goal of $20,000-$30,000 in the next 2-3 years, based on what I was depositing...So then, I increased the deposit every time I got paid."

She isn't just saving money. She is making significant gains on all of her accounts.

Over the course of 18 months, she earned $2,200 in profit on her house fund, simply because she chose to invest in the stock market, rather than letting the money sit in a savings account that earned less than 1% interest.

You can set your money and forget it, and never get any phone calls or questions from a financial adviser. But just in case anything goes wrong, automated investment services like Betterment employ well-educated and friendly customer service teams available in case you need to speak with a human.

Robo-advisers will quite literally do the leg work for you while you're spending your time working, hanging out with friends, and — yes — sleeping.

More: Interested in getting your own robo-advisor? Open a Betterment investment account today.

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Shannon Quinn Freelance Contributor

Shannon Quinn was formerly a freelance contributor to Moneywise. Quinn is an entrepreneur and writer from the Philadelphia area.


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