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Best investment accounts 2023

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For over 15 years, we’ve monitored 18+ top investment accounts and are continually evaluating which are the best investment accounts for young adults. Each year, we poll our audience of young investors to see what they love (and don’t) about their investing accounts. Here are our recommendations.

We currently recommend Wealthfront as the best managed investment account for beginner investors. With Wealthfront, you don’t need to know anything about investing to put your money to work in a professionally-designed investment portfolio that’s tailored to your goals and risk-tolerance.

For investors who want to start even smaller (Wealthfront requires a $500 opening deposit), the popular Robinhood brokerage account app earns our pick for best stock trading app where you can purchase fractional shares of individual stocks, trade crypto, and more.

Overview: Best investment accounts for young adults


Wealthfront, which is now owned by Swiss financial giant UBS, is our pick for best investment account for beginners because of its low account fees, is highly automated, and only requires $500 to start. They also offer an attractive cash management bank account where your uninvested cash can earn more than 5% APY.


Wealthfront is designed for young professionals, anyone from passive investors who want expert digital guidance, to people who want to be smarter with money. Investment management is automated with tried-and-true algorithms but strategic—and tuned in to your individual risk level.

Low fees, free planning guides, and multiple tax perks make Wealthfront worth a look.

Offer: Start investing today to get a $50 bonus with Wealthfront. Promotional terms apply.
  • Automated management
  • Tax-loss harvesting
  • Ability to customize portfolios
  • No fractional shares of ETFs in automated accounts
  • No human advisors
Get $50 bonus
MoneyUnder30 receives cash compensation from Wealthfront Advisers LLC (“Wealthfront Advisers”) for each new client that applies for a Wealthfront Automated Investing Account through our links. This creates an incentive that results in a material conflict of interest. MoneyUnder30 is not a Wealthfront Advisers client, and this is a paid endorsement. More information is available via our links to Wealthfront Advisers.

Wealthfront is a managed investment account (also known as a robo-advisor). Robo-advisors work differently than stock brokerage accounts. We recommend these kinds of investment accounts for new investors because you don’t need to know anything about investing to get started and allow you to invest in a widely diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds. This strategy, known as passive investing, provides the highest, most consistent returns over the long-run and is much less risky than trying to pick individual stocks.

Here are some quick things to know about Wealthfront:

  • Account minimum: $500
  • Trade/account management fees: 0.25% annual account management fee
  • Investment options: Pre-built portfolios of exchange-traded funds
  • Offers retirement accounts (IRAs): Yes

Wealthfront also allows for a fair degree of customization as you become more comfortable with investing. You can add or remove vetted ETFs to and from your portfolio as you wish. You can also choose from categories like technology ETFs, healthcare ETFs, cannabis ETFs, and more.

It can also help you build an entirely ESG (environmental, social, governance) portfolio from scratch so you can rest well knowing your investments are benefiting the world.

Lastly, Wealthfront lets you dabble in crypto, albeit indirectly. You can allocate up to 10% of your portfolio to two different crypto trusts, Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) and Grayscale Ethereum Trust (ETHE). You should know, however, that investing in a crypto trust can be just as risky as crypto itself — so be sure to read our complete guide to investing in cryptocurrency first.

» MORE: Open an account with Wealthfront or read our Wealthfront review


You’ve likely heard of Robinhood, our pick for best online broker or stock trading platform. Robinhood is supremely easy to use, rich with beginner-friendly features, and requires just $1 to get started investing.


Robinhood is an intuitive stock trading and investing app that offers zero-commission trades on thousands of investments.

The slogan behind Robinhood is “We’re on a mission to democratize finance for all,” which speaks to the company’s obsessive focus on keeping investing approachable.

Offer: Sign up today and link your bank account or debit card and you'll receive your first stock for free, valued up to $200!
  • Commission-free trading
  • Easy to use, well-displayed dashboard
  • No minimum account balances required
  • No bonds or mutual funds
  • Crypto fee transparency
Open Account
Advertiser Disclosure – This advertisement contains information and materials provided by Robinhood Financial LLC and its affiliates (“Robinhood”) and MoneyUnder30, a third party not affiliated with Robinhood. All investments involve risk and the past performance of a security, or financial product does not guarantee future results or returns. Securities offered through Robinhood Financial LLC and Robinhood Securities LLC, which are members of FINRA and SIPC. MoneyUnder30 is not a member of FINRA or SIPC.

Here are some fast facts about Robinhood:

  • Account minimum: $0, $2k for Robinhood Gold (margins, more data)
  • Trade/account management fees: None
  • Investment options: Stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrency
  • Offers retirement accounts (IRAs): Yes

When the Robinhood investing app launched, it changed the investing world with its commission free trades; allowing investors to purchase investments fee-free. (Until recently, most brokers charged a commission of around $5 each and every time you wanted to buy or sell a stock or ETF). Now, virtually all investment accounts have dropped such trading commissions. But we have Robinhood to thank.

One of the best things about Robinhood for new investors is the ability to buy fractional shares of stock. Traditionally if you wanted to buy a share of, say, Microsoft, when it’s trading at $320, you’d have to pay $320 for one whole share. But with Robinhood, you can simply say “I want $50 worth of Microsoft” and Robinhood will carve a slice for you.

Despite being known as “the platform for stock market newbies,” Robinhood provides some pretty advanced features like margin trading, options, and access to some cryptocurrencies. Although we don’t necessarily recommend new investors use these features, which can lead to big losses for the inexperienced, it’s nice to know that a Robinhood account is not simply a set of “training wheels” for new investors.

» MORE: Open an account with Robinhood or read our Robinhood review


If you want to start investing with little money, set up small recurring investments of $5 or more, or are looking for a “do it all” app that can help you manage investing, saving and spending, Acorns is our pick.

Great for New Investors

Acorns makes it easy to start investing (even if you know nothing) and provides helpful tools to help you save more automatically. In under 3 minutes, start investing spare change, saving for retirement, earning more, spending smarter, and more. Pricing starts at just $3/month.

Offer: Claim your $20 bonus investment! Make your first successful recurring investment (min $5) - get a $20 bonus within 10 days of following month.
  • Effortless automated investing
  • Helps you save more, automatically
  • Low-cost solution for both saving and investing
  • Higher fees felt on smaller accounts
  • Not as many rich features as some competitors
Get $20 bonus

Looking for help building the habit of saving and investing?

Robo-advisor Acorns looks to strip all the intimidation away from investing and help you build consistent, healthy financial habits. For starters, you can use Acorns Round-Up to automatically round up all of your credit card purchases to the nearest dollar and invest the change for you.

Here are some quick things to know about Acorns:

  • Account minimum: $0
  • Trade/account management fees: $3 per month
  • Investment options: Pre-built ETF portfolios
  • Offers retirement accounts (IRAs): Yes

For larger scale investments, Acorns Smart Deposit will automatically debit your checking account and invest a certain amount each month, too.

As for building a portfolio, Acorns operates like a typical robo-advisor — during sign-up it’ll ask you some basic questions about your investing goals, horizon (read: timeline) and your risk tolerance (which we can help you measure).

Then, based on your answers, Acorns will recommend one of five portfolios:

  • Conservative
  • Moderately Conservative
  • Moderate
  • Moderately Aggressive
  • Aggressive

Pick one, set up Acorns Round-Up and Acorns Smart Deposit, and boom! You’re all set.

Acorns charges $3 a month for a basic Personal account — tantamount to a standard 0.25% advisory fee on an account balance of $14,440.

» MORE: Open an account with Acorns or read our Acorns review

The competition

Choosing the best investment accounts to recommend to young investors is never easy. There are dozens — no, hundreds — of companies vying for your investment dollars. In this highly-regulated industry, all of them will be good stewards of your assets. But to earn our seal of approval, an investment account needs to be “beginner friendly”. It shouldn’t require a large minimum investment or charge excess fees. And it should make investing easy, even for new investors.

Here are several of the best investment platforms we considered.


For investors who want more than an automated portfolio, Betterment offers premium plans that include either annual or ongoing consultations with a team of Certified Financial Planners® and investment experts.


  • Account minimum: None for Basic, $100k for Premium
  • Trade/account management fees: 0.25% for balances under $100k, 0.40% for balances $100k+
  • Investment options: Pre-built stock and ETF portfolios (crypto coming soon)

Not sure if you want a robo-advisor or a human financial advisor? Why not both?

For investors who want more than an automated portfolio, Betterment offers premium plans that include either annual or ongoing consultations with a team of Certified Financial Planners® and investment experts.

You’ll start with Betterment’s robo-advisor product, which can help you build a healthy, profitable portfolio for a 0.25% annual fee. Later, as you accumulate more wealth, you may decide you want some professional advice on both your portfolio and your savings goals. So, once you reach a $100,000 balance you can hop on Betterment’s Premium plan and gain unlimited access to their CFP® team for advice.

Sure, your annual fee raises to 0.40% — but that’s less than half of the 1% most human advisors charge.

Betterment also offers a no-fee checking account, mobile check deposits, and reimburses your ATM fees.

Read our full review of Betterment.

J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing

  • Account minimum: $0
  • Trade/account management fees: None
  • Investment options: Stocks, options, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds

J. P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing is a solid pick for two types of investors.

The first group is existing Chase customers. It’s a good fit for them because you can log into Chase, open a new brokerage account in just a few clicks, and voila — your Self-Directed Investing account will live on your Chase dashboard forever, conveniently wedged between checking/savings accounts and instantly accessible. You can also move money between your other Chase accounts and your SDI account in a single click.

It’s worth mentioning that you can also open an Automated Investing account with Portfolio Builder with a minimum $500 investment.

Open a J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing account today.


TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade ranks high among online brokers for active traders and offers a massive toolkit for you to sharpen your investing skills.

TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade is one of the biggest online brokers in the market that offers a comprehensive trading experience. Whether you are an experienced trader or just starting your investment career, TD Ameritrade will appeal to you because of its easy user interface and advanced investor options.

  • Comprehensive trading options for diversification
  • Great for new or experienced traders
  • Active and reliable mobile trading app
  • Does not offer international stock trading
  • Different trading platforms for various commodities
Open Account
  • Minimum investment: $0 for basic, $2k for margin and option trading, $5k for robo-advisor
  • Trade/account management fees: 0.30%
  • Investment options: Stocks, options, ETFs, mutual funds, futures, forex, bonds, CDs

Here are just a few examples of what I’m talking about:

  • Web platform: You can access independent third-party research, educational resources, and planning tools, stay up-to-date on the news, and even pull social trading insights from Twitter.
  • thinkorswim: This is a professional level trading tool that gives you things like tools to perform stock analysis and test strategies, form ideas with market scans and watch for potential risks and rewards, and utilize onboarding tools like the thinkManual and platform tutorials.
  • Mobile trading: You get a selection of device-optimized mobile apps, including the Apple Watch, all of which give you the ability to handle your investments, embrace opportunities, and much more.
  • Heat maps: Pinpoint the health of the market by using a visual and intuitive platform.
  • Integrated watch lists: Track your investments wherever and however you want with detailed and customized watch lists.
  • Live-streaming media: You’ll feel like a professional trader with live-streaming from places like CNBC and the TD Ameritrade Network, for breaking news and other investment-related advice.
  • myTrade community: A social platform to share ideas with other investors and get authentic advice from some of the best out there.

And the cost for all this? Nada, in most cases. No commissions, no trade fees, and TD Ameritrade even offers hundreds of commission-free ETFs.

Open an account with TD Ameritrade.


Public offers a more social, interactive, and communal investing experience.


Public is a free investing app that offers fractional investing with no commission fees or account minimums. Public lets you invest with context in stocks, ETFs, and crypto – all in one place. With a tool like Public, anyone can own a piece of a company they believe in and build a diversified portfolio

Offer: Open an approved brokerage account today and claim a reward ranging from $1 to $300. Terms and conditions apply.
  • Trade U.S. stocks and ETFs commission-free
  • Can deposit funds with your debit card
  • Real-time fractional trading
  • Not internationally available
Sign Up
This does not constitute investment advice. Investing involves the risk of loss, including the potential loss of principal. Brokerage services for US-listed, registered securities available on Public are offered by Open to the Public Investing, Inc. (OTTP), a member of FINRA & SIPC, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Public Holdings, Inc. Brokerage services for alternative investments are offered by the Dalmore Group, LLC, a member of FINRA & SIPC. Alternative investments are over-the-counter equity securities that have been issued pursuant to Regulation A of the Securities Act of 1933. Cryptocurrency trading is provided by Apex Crypto LLC (NMLS ID 1828849). Apex Crypto is licensed to engage in the virtual currency business by the New York State Department of Financial Services. New customers of OTTP receive free stock valued between $3 - $1,000 (0.3% receive the maximum value).
  • Minimum investment: $0
  • Trade/account management fees: None
  • Investment options: Stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrency

When you sign up for Public and choose a username, you create a Public profile which shows all the stocks/ETFs you are invested in without the specific dollar amounts — a bit like a Venmo activity feed.

If you want, you can explain why you believe in the investment, inviting other Public users to comment, ask questions, and pass along your strategy. Public also facilitates a large community forum where ideas flow freely. You can contribute to the conversation, chat with other investors, like comments, and even emulate the investing strategies of professional traders who regularly engage with the platform.

Aside from the social stuff, Public checks the essential boxes of a modern investing platform (fractional shares, $0 trade commissions, etc.) and also organizes investing ideas into “themes” like Clean and Green or The Future is Female (female-led S&P 500 companies).

Sign up for Public and get started.


M1 is fast becoming the community’s favorite app for passive investing.

Best Investment Accounts For Young Investors - M1 Finance

  • Minimum investment: $100 for taxable account, $500 for a retirement account
  • Trade/account management fees: None (misc. fees for transfers, paper documents, etc.)
  • Investment options: Stocks, ETFs, REITs

Passive investing involves crafting “lazy portfolios,” i.e., portfolios that need little-to-no active management. They may need the occasional tweaking every six months based on your changing wealth, income, and risk tolerance, but otherwise you can just set ‘em and forget ‘em. It’s like the opposite of day trading, and despite the name, building “lazy portfolios” is a surprisingly profitable investing strategy.

The reason many passive investors like M1 is because of its unique Pie-building tool. M1 “Pies” are investment portfolios made up of “slices.” Each time you deposit cash into your Pie, it gets equally distributed among your slices.

So if you have a tech pie made up of 20% Amazon, 20% Google, and 60% into varios NASDAQ ETFs and you deposit $100, it’ll be split $20 into Amazon, $20 into Google, etc.

In addition to custom Pies you can just copy/paste some of M1’s “Expert Pies” and remove all the guesswork. Later, as your risk tolerance changes, you can task M1 with automatically rebalancing your Pie for you.

Read our full review of M1.


  • Minimum investment: $0, but account must stay funded to remain open
  • Trade/account management fees: None for trades, 0.30% account management fee for Core Portfolios
  • Investment options: Stocks, options, futures, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, CDs

Having been one of the first online brokers and in the game since 1982, E*TRADE has a lot to offer the modern intermediate-level investor. The platform is perhaps best known for its wide variety of account types and is good option for frequent traders. Those include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Taxable individual and joint brokerage accounts
  • Traditional, Roth, SEP, SIMPLE and rollover IRAs and Solo 401(k) plans
  • Custodial accounts, trusts, and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts

And investment options include:

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Mutual funds
  • Exchange traded funds (ETFs)
  • Options
  • Futures
  • Cryptocurrency trusts

E*TRADE also stands out with options trading. Their Power E*TRADE Platform is one of the best brokerage accounts in the industry, offering interactive charts, technical pattern recognition, a snapshot analysis enabling you to evaluate risk/reward probabilities, the ability to run “what-if” scenarios, and a live-action capability where you can scan for unusual options activity, based on above-normal volatility.

Read our full review of E*TRADE.


Best Investment Accounts For Young Investors - Fidelity

  • Minimum investment: $0
  • Trade/account fees: None for trades, none for Fidelity Go accounts with balances <$10k, $3/month for between $10k-$50k, 0.35% annually for balances larger than $50k
  • Investment options: Stocks, bonds, ETFs, actively managed funds, CDs, options, precious metals, money market funds

We’ve previously called Fidelity “the most comprehensive of interactive brokers out there.” You’ll get a bonafide cornucopia of account types, investment choices, human or robo-advisor management of your portfolio, educational resources, analytics, and more.

While perhaps intimidating to newcomers, Fidelity’s vast and expansive toolkit combined with low fees make it the perfect playground for aspiring or experienced day traders. It’s worth noting, too, that Fidelity has been around since 1946 and now has $4.5 trillion in assets under management.

Why does that matter to day traders? Because newer, less experienced brokerages can sometimes buckle under intense trading volume. Day traders on a robust platform like Fidelity are less likely to experience such issues when it matters most.

Check out our full review of Fidelity.


Best Investment Accounts For Young Investors - Vanguard

  • Minimum investment: $50,000
  • Trade/account management fees: None for trades, $20 annually for brokerage accounts, 0.30% for VPA accounts
  • Investment options: Known for low cost index funds, but also stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, CDs, money market funds

You may recognize Vanguard as the purveyors of popular low cost mutual funds and high-cap ETFs like the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO) and the Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (VT).

Now, you don’t need a Vanguard investment account to invest in these ETFs or mutual funds since they’re available for commission-free trading pretty much anywhere other ETFs are. That being said, if you have a minimum $50,000 to invest, you might seriously want a Vanguard investment account.

That’s because $50k is the minimum deposit needed to qualify for Vanguard Personal Advisor — the Rolls-Royce of robo-advisors. You’ll get automatic quarterly rebalancing, free annual checkups, and video calls with Vanguard’s financial advisors to make sure you’re on track for your investing goals (or to help establish them in the first place) — all for a 0.30% management fee.

The cherry on top? Vanguard insures each of its customers’ accounts for $500,000.

Read our full review of Vanguard.

How we picked the best investment accounts

We selected the best investment accounts for young investors based upon over a decade of experience reporting on beginning investing.

SEC and FTC regulations prohibit us from talking about our individual experience using these accounts (such “testimonials” are a big no-no in the investing world.) But we have gathered plenty of data that gives us an accurate picture of where each investment account excels and where each is better-suited for different kinds (often, more advanced) investors.

To be considered in our list of best investment accounts, a company must:

  • Have a track record (no fly-by-night companies here)
  • Be attainable for new investors (low minimums and fees)
  • Offer options for passive, buy-and-hold investing
  • Have reputation for customer satisfaction and complaint resolution

After looking at these factors, our picks come down to the companies we feel deliver the best experience for new investors. It’s an admittedly subjective criteria, but we believe our long history of evaluating and reporting on the fintech industry gives us a wealth of experiecne from which to make these calls.

FAQs about investment accounts

What is a taxable investing account, aka brokerage account?

A brokerage account is simply a basic account used to buy and sell securities like stocks, bonds, ETFs, etc. By default, we’re referring to a taxable brokerage account — meaning you’ll owe capital gains taxes on your profits and income tax on dividends and interest. Compare this to a traditional individual retirement account (IRA), which offers tax advantages because you don’t have to pay any taxes on profits or dividends.

What is a robo-advisor, and is it better than a human financial advisor?

Robo-advisors are AI algorithms that help pick your investments for you, typically based on questions about your goals and risk tolerance. Human advisors do the same and charge more (1% compared to 0.25%), but can help guide you and find your goals in the first place. Both have value; there’s no wrong choice.

How much money should I be investing at my age?

A good starting point is 20% of your income. Don’t be afraid to start small —$100 invested at age 25 with 8% APY will become $1,478.53 by age 60.

Should I be choosing my own investments?

If you’re new to investing, it’s best to let your robo- or human advisor do most of the choosing for you. If you’re eager to get hands-on, start with a small slice of your overall portfolio — maybe 5% — to hedge your risk.

What’s the best brokerage account to trade stocks?

The best brokerage account to trade stocks depends on whether you’re going to be a frequent trader or, like most investors, want the option to occasionally buy and sell stocks via mobile app. We stand by our top pick for brokerage account, Robinhood, if you want the ability to trade stocks via mobile app but not the advanced features of some larger brokerage firms.

Why do investment companies have account minimums?

Many trading platforms do have account minimums because it’s just not profitable to offer financial services on very small accounts. That’s one of the things that makes our picks for best trading platforms stand out — most are great for beginning investors because they have no (or very small) account minimums.

What is a mutual fund?

Mutual funds are a type of investment that combines hundreds of stocks, bonds or other investments into a single fund. Although mutual funds remain a good investment choice for long-term, buy-and-hold investors, over the past two decades, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have become increasingly more popular.

Mutual funds and ETFs are similar: Both are funds containing many different investments to provide a desired mix of asset classes. The difference is how they are bought and sold. ETF trades work just like a stock; you can buy or sell them any time the stock market is open. Mutual funds are priced once a day and typically take a few days to trade.

A mutual fund can be an index fund or an actively managed fund. With an actively managed mutual fund, a professional investment manager picks stocks and makes trades in an attempt to maximize investment performance.

The bottom line

The most important thing is that you get started investing, period.

If you’re looking to get started investing, there are no wrong choices among the investment accounts listed above. Plus, you can always change platforms later.