Robinhood Can Benefit Young Investors — But Is It Worth The Risks?

As millions of financiers register for complimentary stock-trading accounts, via platforms like Robinhood and Fidelity, some advisors are hopeful that the apps are a method to present young people and novice investors to monetary preparation– in spite of some of the recent criticism.

Fidelity, for one, declares the complimentary trading app pattern is a chance to engage financiers at an early age with the revealed objective of establishing long-term relationships with these potential customers and moving conversations towards proprietary services and products for a cost.

Robinhood, the undeniable king of open markets, likewise helps inform young financiers through its online platform. The no-fee trading platform acquired 4.31 million everyday average earnings sell June, far outpacing all of its openly traded rivals and even quadrupling the variety of fee-generating trades at ETrade Financial Corp. for the same duration.

The rapid development of these free trading apps has included issues. The awful death of Alex Kearns, a Robinhood Financial Inc. client who took his life in June after thinking he lost some $730,000, has spurred harsh rebukes from critics.

Not all advisors see free trading apps as the right tool to attract younger clients as the advisory neighborhood starts to talk about the long-term effects complimentary trading apps are having on monetary preparation.

“The scary part is these traders are utilizing margin on their accounts without understanding it,” stated John Bovard, owner of RIA Incline Wealth Advisors. “This can cause a very dangerous situation for amateur investors where their losses can be increased. These young traders are losing the cash that they invested that they can not manage to lose.”

Morningstar’s director of personal financing Christine Benz required to Twitter to reveal her criticism of the emerging pattern the market is seeing of more youths investing directly in stocks.

However, Benz did share her thoughts via a video interview on Monday about how impactful it can be for young grownups to enter investing early– however to avoid doing so through private stock investing.

“While young financiers have that long runway … if they can buy a diversified broad basket of equities, that most likely provides a better runway to earn excellent long-lasting returns over their long time horizon,” Benz stated. “My guidance would be to avoid specific stock investing.”


To be reasonable, complimentary trading apps do eliminate the barrier of entry for young investors to take their financial resources into their own hands, according to Houston-based consultant Charles Adi.

“For many years I have been attempting to get my clients thrilled about investing without success,” he said. “Seeing their current interest is encouraging. Yes, some will lose cash and others will earn money– but the lessons discovered throughout this pandemic will be invaluable.”

For adviser Natalie Slagle, establishing partner at Fyooz Financial Planning, a firm specializing in working with couples in their 30s and 40s, a lot of her clients utilize Robinhood and Stash free of charge trades and fractional share purchases.

Slagle motivates her customers to see their accounts with Robinhood or Stash as their “enjoyable money,” she said. “If it all goes to zero, they can still achieve their huge goals. If it does well, then it will get them to their objectives quicker.”


Still, with the present influx of users flocking to complimentary trading apps, some consultants are feeling the sting of increased competitors. “Right now, service is getting drained away from expert monetary consultants, at least when it comes to investment management,” stated Steve Zakelj, an advisor at Flatirons Wealth Management.

Other consultants disagreed, nevertheless. Creator and president of Woodson Wealth Management Jamie Lima said that complimentary trading apps do not impact him as a financial organizer.

“I do not believe they are going to kill the function of an adviser like Uber or Lyft killed the function of a cabby,” he stated. “I do believe they can operate in tandem as these apps offer much-needed access to investing for those that formerly could not afford to do so, and as these customers grow as financiers, they will likely see the need to look for aid from a preparation viewpoint. That’s where we can be found in.”

While Zakelj, too, can see the clear positive that more young adults are being introduced to financial planning through free trading apps, the false information on the apps might do more harm than helpful for the market, he stated.

Free-trading apps can make errors in the crucial assumptions they make about customers from the information typed in on the platform, said Zakelj. For example, one online platform presumed a future Social Security payment based solely on present earnings. “It’s a good beginning assumption, however, that’s not how Social Security works,” he stated. “The results could be disastrous.”

In the end, clients must recognize that like a lot of everything else in life, you generally get what you spend for, he stated. “If you’re paying absolutely nothing, the product is either not that great, or in many cases, the product might be you.”

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