Mighty Oaks from Little Acorns Grow: Chickens, Spare Change, and Micro Investing.
My grandmother had a chipped gravy boat in her kitchen cupboard.
My grandparents operated a small farm in South Dakota. My grandfather looked after the cattle, hogs and crops. My grandmother oversaw the chickens, did the books and a million other tasks.
She had hundreds of laying hens and once a week the egg truck would come and take most of the eggs. But she held some back to barter with and sell on the side. For years she paid her hairdresser with eggs!
Her side egg money and spare change went into the chipped gravy boat.
Every time we visited, my sister and I would get the gravy boat and dump it on the shag carpet in the living room. (This was the 70’s, shag was all the rage). We’d count the change and roll it. Then we’d triumphantly announce the total, something like $23.42. Our grandmother was invariably surprised how much it was.
Decades later I am still an avid saver of spare change. (No chickens or eggs for me though, thank you very much).
I have a piggy bank at home and one at my office. I still get a thrill out of taking my change to the free-for-members coin counter at the Bridgewater Credit Union in Quincy.
But here’s the thing. In our modern age, I don’t have many cash transactions and therefore not a lot of spare change.
Almost all of our (my husband and I) transactions get auto-debited from our checking account or charged on our credit card.
I like getting the credit card points (Amazon in our case) and I like seeing documentation of each transaction. This way I know exactly how we’re spending our money. I pay the credit card in full each month.
Recently a new client alerted me to micro investing with Acorns, a nifty way to save and invest your digital spare change.
You link a checking account to Acorns. This is your funding source. Then you link one or more credit/debit cards. Every time there’s a transaction on a linked card, Acorns rounds up to the next dollar. If you charge $53.74 then 26 cents is the round up.
Once the round ups reach $5.00 or more that amount is automatically transferred from your funding source to your Acorns portfolio.
Acorns chooses one of five portfolios for you based on a questionnaire or you can choose your own. The portfolios range from “Conservative” at 20% stocks to “Aggressive” at 100% stocks.
The portfolios are a nicely diversified mix of Vanguard index exchange traded funds. (ETFs) Every dollar is automatically invested in over 7,000 stocks and bonds!
The cost for the basic “Acorns Core” account is $1/month.
It’s a glorious age we live in when a mere $5 gets you a diversified stake in the wealth creating power of the global capital markets!
The site also has good educational articles on basic investing such as this one on the three principles of being a successful investor: Invest early, Invest often, and Stick with it.
Acorns is not for everyone. I realize this is not going to make me rich. The amounts are small. But money saved and invested is money that is not spent.
For me there’s something about “scooping up the change” that gives me
great satisfaction whether it’s in a shag carpeted living room of the 70’s or a digitized space of the 21st century.
Happy Saving and Investing!