Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Stock App Robinhood is Interesting, Fee-Free, and Useful

When it comes to the stock market it can seem a little mysterious. Sometimes we think of the stock market as if it is this strange ethereal concept that can impact the economy but with little to do with us in our day-to-day lives. We might be interested in the stock market, but how can we take part in it without an expensive broker or paying fees? There have been some apps with the idea to give everyone access to the stock market, but one by far getting the most buzz is Robinhood. I thought I would try it out on my iPhone, and I like it.

Robinhood has gotten a lot of press for allowing people to simply verify they are a U.S. Resident, link their bank, and get to work buying and selling stocks. The are no fees, with the idea instead being to offer a, "Gold," level for people who do a lot of stock-trading and to continue growing a user-base. Also, people can invite friends and get a free random stock, which is cool. Once the app approves you things are as simple as putting in some money and getting to work at trading stocks during the business hours the market is open (if the market is closed you can make a purchase or sell order to execute the next day). The app shows you how well a particular stock you pick has been doing over time, will provide links to news, and otherwise is extremely user-friendly.
Robinhood also allows people in a small number of states that allow it (19 so far) to invest in Cryptocurrencies such a Bitcoin. I of course am not a big fan of Bitcoin or other digital-currencies so that interests me very little, but I know some folk love the stuff. As those, "markets," never close people can buy or sell digital coins at any time too whilst their so-called markets rise and fall. As with stocks, you transfer money from your bank to trade these faux-coins. Again though, the stocks are more interesting to me.

To test out Robinhood I transferred in $50 and bought a stock in Funko, Snapchat, an electric car charging company I read about online called Blink, and some really cheap, "Pennystocks," like company behind Moviepass that is currently hemorrhaging money and has their stock for about 7 cents each. I proceeded to sell the pennystocks a few hours later when it hit a high and made like 10 cents, sold Snapchat before its, "Earnings Call," and made 50 cents, found my Blink stock went down enough I lost 20 cents, and Funko basically held steady enough I bought another stock of it. My, "portfolio," is currently two stocks in Funko and one in Blink. If I were made of money I could of course invest a ton into playing the stock market and either become millionaire or go broke and live in the gutter. I don't have that kind of capital though, so I'm perfectly happy to watch as my Funko stock hopefully climbs over time and make a few bucks.
My testing-out Robinhood with $50 was of course using it on a very small-scale, but I still found it fascinating, full of information, easy to trade stocks with, and love how there is absolutely no fee to use it (just bonus features for the gold level). I've told some chums about Robinhood and hope we each get some free stocks from my referrals as well. I'd encourage people to try it out, but to make sure they of course invest responsibly and try and get a referral link from a friend so you can take advantage of a free stock!

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