The stock market is one of those things that people either love or hate. What I love about it is that it’s so dependent on the world around us that knowing about stocks often means being informed about things happening the world over.
Is it a heavy rainy season in Venezuela? Better look into Starbucks. Volkswagen was caught cheating EPA standards again? Better wait for it to bottom out before I buy in. Chipotle’s dealing with another E. coli break out? Time to start looking for my buy-in.
Whether I’m looking for interesting companies to make long-term investments in, or even looking at short-term, fast-paced trades on some interesting commodities (like copper and crude oil), the stock market is something that excites, invigorates and often confuses the crap out of me.
That’s exactly why apps are so critical to personal investment. Not only are there apps that’ll help you identify solid trades, but there are also social media groups, news wire services, and even entire mobile trading platforms that put investing and trading within arm’s reach of even the most inexperienced people:
You won’t find a single stock market app roundup that doesn’t include the Robinhood app, and that’s because yes, it really is that good. The cornerstones of brokerage firms are the fees they charge to make trades using the money of their clients.
Even independent traders usually pay per-trade fees to the brokerage platform they’re trading on. Robinhood, however, is a fee-free trading platform that allows users to trade in public companies and exchange-traded funds without paying a dime. The way they make money is on accrued interest of their users’ cash balances.
More than that, it’s also a full-suite platform that helps users build personalized investment watch lists, access market data and quotes in real-time and do it all in a sleek, beautiful, modern app with an excellent user interface. If you’re trying to get into the stock market, there’s no other app like it.
Say what you will about Yahoo, but over the years, its financial market coverage specifically has become a gold standard in the investing industry for its thorough and detailed coverage. They decided to put out an app at one point, and lo and be hold, it has since become the most reliable app for finance news and up-to-the-minute stock updates.
The app allows users to create watch lists that offer real-time stock quotes and personalized news updates, as well as conduct side-by-side stock comparisons, track users’ personal portfolios and offer users complete access to all of the information available on Yahoo Finance, all at the click of a button and in a modern, beautiful format.
The idea of set-it-and-forget-it trading options honestly scares the shit out of me, but people absolutely love Betterment because, well, it’s apparently an easy way to make money. It’s what’s called an independent robo-advisor, which means Betterment invests your money for you, using a simple questionnaire and a series of complex algorithms that choose the best stocks for your budget and life.
If that sounds too good to be true, the folks at Betterment claim that after 30,500 test periods, their portfolios out-performed comparable advisor-managed portfolios 88 percent of the time. No, they didn’t say perform equally well; they said outperform.
The best thing is users can start investing for just a dollar, and the fees are comparably dirt cheap—between 0.15 percent and 0.35 percent, depending on how much money users invest.
Forcerank is a new-ish app from the folks over at Estimize. While I’m generally wary of including apps that haven’t gone through a proper vetting, Forcerank makes my list because it comes from a trusted source. Essentially, Estimize is a community of more than 47,000 analysts and investors on the buy-side and sell-side of the market, as well as independent traders, investors, and students.
Essentially, these analysts combine their diverse backgrounds and get together to crowdsource the most realistic stock consensus available. The results are pretty spectacular, with Estimize claiming that their users’ projections are more accurate than comparable sell-side data sets more than 74 percent of the time.
Forcerank is basically a smaller version of that, set up as a kind of game for people who know and love the markets. Users can compete to see who makes the most accurate projections, and while the user base is far smaller than Estimize, I do believe there’s a lot of room here for it to grow.
This one could be summed up in a short few words: StockTwits is Twitter for stock market analysts. Period.
The only real issue with StockTwits is that, like real Twitter, anyone can join and comment on the state of the market, individual stocks, current developments, etc., no matter how stupid or inexperienced they are.
What makes StockTwits so strong is that many of the world’s greatest investors view it as a valuable tool. Aside from receiving people’s input on individual stocks and having the ability to view real-time commentary, there’s also a dependable list of trending stocks, news stories and more to help investors stay up-to-date on all the information they care about, for the stocks they’re trading.
StockTwits basically opens up the world of investing for the spreading of knowledge and information, and fosters collaboration between savvy traders and investors.
eToro is a brilliant app that works a lot like the crowdsourcing of information concept of StockTwits, but takes it one step further by allowing users to not only interact with world-renowned traders, but actually follow (and mimic) their trades directly.
If that sounds kind of like cheating to you, take a step back real quick and try to understand that learning the ins and outs of the stock market can take a long time, and learning how to do it well may very well take you your entire life. Gleaning knowledge where and when you can is all part of the game.
That said, eToro boasts millions of users across 170 different countries, and you’re allowed in-depth access to their portfolios, earnings and trade history. In fact, users are peer-rated and given their own risk assessment to let other users know how reliable and trustworthy their trades are. If you want to earn while you learn, this is the app to do it on.