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
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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