Acorns vs Betterment (Update 4) with a Splash of Lending Club

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The year is coming to an end and Im pretty optimistic about next year and the gains I will be making financially in the stock market. I opened up an Acorns and Betterment account in the middle of August and went straight to work with both of those accounts trying to create a portfolio of some sort through both of the new mobile platforms. Since I opened both of them at pretty much the same time I was able to track the performance of both of them. I always noticed that while I put less money into Acorns it always had a higher return than Betterment. And it has held true since the beginning with me. The reasoning behind this can be because of a couple things. One of them being that the platform is based more on micro investing while Betterment is based on larger sums of money being deposited in. So with Acorns I am buying on micro tiny dips on a daily bases where as Betterment I am buying only once or twice a month typically. But the biggest difference I have noticed is that Acorns offers a REIT ETF and Betterment does not. I currently have $543.30 in my Acorns account including Dividend Payments that will process tomorrow. With $23.82 in GAINS including tomorrows Dividends that have not processed yet. Thats pretty dam impressive for only having around $550 in my Acorns account. Which is why I like having 2 portfolios currently because on Betterment I have double that amount of money invested into my account and my GAINS are HALF of that. Betterment I am currently posting $1028.32 including Dividends Payments that will process tomorrow also. My Dividend Payments were 33% higher than what they were on Acorns. My GAINS were half of what Acorns were and I have double invested in Betterment. Im showing a $13.32 Gain. None of this is anything for me to startle over though. I noticed that Betterment is a little less volatile than Acorns and offers better Dividends than Acorns which in the long run is what matters the most. But if you really had to select between the two and were really tight on funds Acorns is the way to go currently. Acorns just launched a better monthly fee platform which is only $1 a month until you hit $5000 then it is only .25% a year. So you are ponying up $12 a year to watch your money grow. As opposed to Betterment which offers smaller returns but is less volatile you are charged $3 a month if you do not deposit at least $100 a month or .50% if you do deposit that. Overall the young ride has been pretty fun so far. Long Term Investing is easy once you start seeing Dividends arrive into your account. 2015 will be my first official year in the stock market where I actually know what is going on and Im pretty excited for it. The early winter/spring will be pretty light for me but ill pump up my deposits during the summer. If I deposit $100 a month into Betterment I will be tucking $1200 into my account. Which that is a Guaranteed amount for me even if I have to find a way to make it happen I will make sure my monthly deposit goes in because it is extremely crucial to my growth as a young millennial getting into the Emerging Market. Being a Millennial I am getting an opportunity to buy into the Emerging Markets of India,China,Brazil, and Russia. (BRIC) And yes I do know that Russia is collapsing hard right now but you can’t really suspect their economy to crash for another 15-20 years. I am a big believer in the Chinese Economy and keep an eye on the companies growing there. Im not a fan of the Indian Economy though while it will most likely grow I don’t see much trust or gain in what they will bring when you compare them to China. Everything is virtually outsourced to China and nothing is sourced to India…… What will India offer than China can not?

I recently just deposited my first $100 into Lending Club to play with that and see what I could expect from the platform. I only had 4 Notes to purchase with the $100 so I went through and selected 4 loans I felt pretty comfortable with. I managed to find a A,B and two D loans. None of them have processed yet so I still have to wait for them to be fully funded. Again I only put $100 in because I really have know idea what I am getting into even though I understand what I am doing.The moment I saw they were going to have an IPO I went straight to my bank account and moved money into my Sharebuilder account right away to have it ready for the IPO. I knew the IPO was going to be ginormous and it rightfully was. The platform and tools they offer for investors and people looking for loans is simply amazing. Being on the secondary market is true crap though. I got stuck buying in at $23.74 I believe, I still bought though because I didn’t think I would see the shares drop much lower than that ever again.They closed today at $25.83 but its been really volatile. I am a firm believer in the company and think that the growth in this company will be huge in the upcoming future. P2P Lending is going to be huge and I expect P2P to have its own sector in five to ten years. This should be a massive growth field. As far as me investing in them through P2P Lending Im pretty optimistic about the 4 loans I selected and hope to see a profit. If this ends up working out properly for the first 3 or 4 months where all 4 people pay out properly, I will happily put another $250-$500 to start pushing for more growth. My Lending Club Journey has begun and I hope to see it prosper!

Buying on the Dip

It’s December 2nd and my deposit processed this morning for todays trading to begin. I had a $100 deposit process into my Betterment account and was happy as usual on my timing. The day before the market took a pounding and I ended up being down 1.5%. I had a solid return on the dip. If you take a look at the chart below I zoomed in on the VOO which is the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF

So first we take a look at the entire week which during this period dates between November 25th and December 2nd. Look at that massive plummet due to oil prices on the 1st of the month. Incredible because on that day Apple also ended up down -3.25% and even today ended up being down another -.38% today. A lot of people think the sell off was due to people just taking profits, but also because Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales didn’t produce what share holders were hoping for. Which if that is the cause that seems a bit silly due to the fact that Apple rarely puts anything on sale. While I titled this buying on the dip their is know actual way of knowing if you are going to buy on the dip until the market actually opens. I just seem to get lucky and end up processing buys on the dip. These buys have brought me solid rewards though.

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FullSizeRender                                             The S&P 500 is still looking for another 184 points to close out the year. Would be pretty awesome if it closed out at the projected 2200, but who really knows. I recently posted an article on Millennials in a Bear Market. A portion of it was about rising interest rates and trying to situate myself during that time period. I did a bit more research and the consensus seems to be that even when interest rates do rise the rates wont rise to anything above 2% and it will take a good amount of time to even reach 2%. So I do not think I have to sound the alarm that much. A lot of analyst think 2015 will be a pretty calm year, but thats fine hopefully it gives me a chance to situate more funds on the low and reap the rewards the following years.

On a side note I have decided that sometime in the near future I am going to open a investment fund specifically for Black Friday. Im gonna create it on Betterment and just set it to a target goal of $1000.

Opportunity Costs and Pessimism

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When you decide to do something you have to take a look at what options are being presented to you. Everyone and I mean everyone has problems and situations they just wish that they could make disappear. I have a good friend who only looks at the positive side of things. I don’t hang out with him all the time because we have completely different lives and schedules but he is one of the most positive guys I know. He is always volunteering to do something, always looking to help less fortunate, and always smiling. Sometimes I wonder what the hell is going through the dudes head but only God knows. His hashtag is

#staypositive, instagram, keepin_1T_LIT

The millennial generation is one of the most if not pessimistic group of individuals. I used to be extremely pessimistic until I started noticing I don’t have be pessimistic about things. All I ever see on my Facebook wall are negative, degrading, and situations where people want you to feel sorry for them. Im still learning a lot at my young age, but I do think I am pretty wise for my age. I had my epiphany for change this year and started putting my brain to work a lot harder. You can not find out who you are, you have to change who you are. And I have decided that the biggest thing I need to worry about right now is being able to build a portfolio for me to be able to draw from when I am ready to retire. It isn’t a retirement portfolio but saying so and so is only for retirement and so and so is only for savings seems rather contradictory to me. What ever money one puts away into an investment account can be considered retirement money. As I get a bit older I will eventually open one but for now I am just funding two small investment portfolios. I do not put a lot of money into them, I don’t make buckets of money, and my living expenses are rather high since I live in San Francisco. The fact that I am even able to set something aside blows my mind.

My approach is extremely broad compared to what most financial experts would suggest though. The only reason I am able to get away with how I approach investing is the fact that I am extremely good with finances and very rarely miss a beat when it comes to the flow of money. I take my approach in a way or learning and just analyzing different situations that can arise for me as I get older. After all now is the time for me to create a layout. Most financial experts all suggest paying off all credit card debt before even investing. Which this is pretty true I will admit that but I look at the big picture and opportunity costs that await me. When I first started dabbling with credit cards I never even looked at my credit score when I applied for my first two cards. Ive had those cards for maybe 5 years now, but looked at my credit score my once or twice a year until this year. This is the year I started getting an actual understanding for my credit score and what it meant to me. So I was essentially just using a credit card not even aware of the fact that I was actually helping myself. Since I did this I was able to obtain basically the best credit cards on the market. Cards like the American Express Blue Cash , Citi Bank Simplicity, and Discover IT. Ive noticed that pretty much anyone can qualify for a Discover IT card, but they have at least four different types. If you are on the market looking for a card I simply have to say that Wells Fargo and Bank of America have absolutely nothing to offer and you should pretty much avoid opening an account with them.

Now while I am still paying off credit card debt I might as well use the cards and get some cash back rewards right? I just cashed in close to $150 in rewards to pay for a couple things and invested some of it into my Acorns account. Thats free money. And I am going to happily accept free money when ever it is giving to me. And I’m not paying any interest on these cards because I never miss a payment. Ninety percent of my debt is floating on my Chase Slate card which is a 0% APR card so I still have plenty of time to pay it off and don’t really worry about it either way because If I somehow for some unlucky reason have to Ill just transfer it to another 0% APR card with a 0% Balance transfer. It really isn’t that big of a deal.

When I look at my generation it really just amazes me how screwed most of us are. This is just because we as a group can’t seem to see the brighter side of things, we cant seem to learn how to attack wide open situational options we have. And most of us suck with money. We just get so tempted to keep up with the so called Joneses and spend far more than we can even afford or handle. Im really just thankful for the fact that I am getting situated at a young age and not six years from now when Im thirty. And yes we will have the smartest and brightest kids when we become parents. I refuse to think that any other generation will be smarter than our own kids when we start families. People that only look at the negative side of things are the same people who get stuck, the same people who dig holes and have no way of digging themselves out, and the same people who think they deserve the world. The optimistic people are the people who look at situations presented to them currently and situations that will arise into the future, the people who look for positive things, the people who stay on the grind and appreciate what they have.

Update on my Acorns vs Betterment Accounts.

Acorns is currently at $411.70 with $19.79 since pending that will deposit into my account I assume on Monday. I have posted a 4.5% return in only 10.5 weeks. 4.5% may not seem like a lot but it takes a shit on what savings account offer you. Im currently up $17.57. Which is extremely satisfying.

Betterment is currently at $742.20 with $200 posting on monday Im pretty sure. I have to double check my spreadsheets, but Im pretty sure I have $200 more going in on Monday but for sure I have $100 going in on Monday. Betterment altered their returns platform it says I am -0.2% right now since they do time weighted returns now. Im still trying to get an understanding for the time weighted returns, but according to their old platform which is the same as Acorns Im up 4% and have a $27.20 profit so far. Again all in 10 weeks.

I should end the year with a combine total of at least $1500 between the two platforms. And $1600 if I somehow go crazy and find a spare $100.