Essential Investing Apps for Busy Physicians

Essential Investing Apps for Busy Physicians

There are a ton of investing apps for physicians. Which ones could you use to automate your life?

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There are all sorts of finance-related apps that will help your finances! 

As a resident or fellow, you probably don’t have a ton of money to invest. That’s okay, right now it’s all about survival and building a solid foundation. 

You’re probably new to investing, so you’ll want to start with something easy and non-threatening. 

Let’s see what’s out there in the world of investing apps!

Subscribe to the Financial Residency PodcastTypes of Investing Apps for Physicians

Acorn

Do you want a painless way to save your dollars with money apps?

Well then, I have a great little investing app for you! I absolutely love the Acorn app. 

When you buy something, it will round the amount up. It takes the leftover change and invests it. You won’t feel the pain of investing by using this nifty investing app.

It’s also a great way to start to understand what’s happening in the market. What are these ETFs you’re investing in? What is the investment strategy that is being used with your money?

Is there a downside to Acorns?

This is not one of those money apps for someone who already has experience investing in stocks or ETFs. 

An experienced investor will choose an online financial robo advisor, such as Betterment or Wealthfront. They allow you to set up auto deposits, which are then invested in your EFT portfolio. For these instead of rounding up, you just auto-deposit some money. 

But for the beginner…there is Acorn.

Robinhood

Then there is Robinhood. 

This is a free-trading app where you can get into stocks and they give you a free share of stock when you sign-up.

One of the downsides, normally when you are investing in stocks with a lot of programs is you have to pay a commission when you purchase and sell. 

Also, Robinhood doesn’t offer mutual funds to purchase.

There is a similar investing app (Stockpile), Robinhood seems to have a slight edge in the popularity stakes.

When considering money apps...consider this one!

Fundrise

Do you want to explore an investing app that is different? 

This one allows you to invest in a piece of real estate, but you don’t have to do the physical and mental work of finding property or renting it out.

It’s a way to take ownership of real estate as a limited partner, by investing small minimums in a crowdfunded real estate platform.

It’s very much like buying a stock, only you are buying a piece of the pie. You are getting a fractional interest in a real estate deal. It could be a shopping center or an apartment building. 

I’m skeptical about these, I want to see how they perform during a market downturn. If they come out intact, then this would be a great alternative investment to add to your portfolio. 

Another one of the money apps that I like in this category is m1 Finance. It’s free and you invest in a similar way to Robinhood. However, they allow you to build a “pie”. It looks like a pie chart. You can have one stock, or 100 stocks or ETFs. 

It allows you to build a fully diversified portfolio (total stock market, total bond market). When you put money in your m1 account, it will buy a fractional share. You can’t do that with TD Ameritrade. 

With that said, I like TD Ameritrade’s institutional platform, and our company works with them, but we are talking about investing apps. 

These investing apps are allowing you to invest in ways that traditional brokerages can’t.

Budgeting

Here goes the “B” word!

It’s a word and subject that I’ve addressed in previous blogs!

This time we are talking about money apps that are actually created to help with your budget. One of my favorites is Teller. Technically, it’s not an actual app, but we use it with our clients. It’s basically an Excel or Google sheet. It connects all your bank and investment accounts. 

Teller allows you to build a customized budgeting sheet that calculates your net worth. If you are a money nerd, as I am, you’ll enjoy this platform and playing with the formulas. 

If you are not a money nerd, and you want budgeting apps that are easy to use, we have a couple for you. 

They are also true apps!

Mint

Do you prefer money apps that are hands-off?

Then you might like Mint. It was an app that came out earlier in the game, and it directly pulls information from your banking account. It’s great because you can see all your spending.

I have direct experience with Mint because we experimented with which apps we wanted to use with our clients. While I wasn’t a fan, it was one of the easiest to use. The problem was it had too many advertisements. However, since they aren’t charging for the app, that is how they make money.

This is a good app for people who like a hands-off approach. 

YNAB

Do you need another one of the money apps to help with your budget?

YNAB is another great option.

It’s a little more hands-on. It does require more thought and effort. That can be difficult for some people, they prefer to let the app do all the work. If they have to make an effort to add data it can derail their budget, something that nobody wants to deal with!

YNAB is set up so that you have to allocate things into “buckets”, and then budget to zero every month.

This is an app that is considered the middle ground. It may be too hands-on for some people (not as much as tiller). It requires you to get into the “weeds” of your money situation. I like being in the weed and think it’s beneficial if you really want to understand your finances. 

Your budget app preferences will depend on your personality. 

  • Are you an avoid-the-weeds type of person? 
  • Are you a hands-on type of person? 

If the app doesn’t require you to interact–will you forget that you even have it?

Anti-Cluttering Apps

Do you want one of the easiest money apps to use, that will also help battle your inner hoarder?

Well, there are the old-school eBay and Craigslist, but they are a little outdated at this point.

Especially when you compare them to newer apps. 

The will definitely seem clunky and antiquated. 

They aren’t as convenient as the point and click method of modern apps. There are a couple that are so easy to use, it will make selling your stuff a breeze:

The first one is Decluttr (yep, that’s the correct spelling), and the second is Poshmark (clothes). 

They are the decluttering apps that you can use to get rid of your unused items. You take a picture of the stuff that you want to sell–and post. 

While Facebook isn’t technically an app, you can post things to sell on the Market Place. There are buy and sell groups for your city and more specifically your neighborhood. 

The more places you post, the faster you sell your excess stuff. 

Apps are definitely the way to go if you have something to sell. They don’t appear to have any drawbacks. 

I mean they’re free and easy to use.

That’s a win-win!

Money Apps as a Job

Would you like an opportunity to make money using an app?

Using apps for a little side money may be a good idea for you or your spouse while watching television. 

While this is not a reliable source of side income, it could make you (or your spouse) a few bucks. Here are a couple of apps to check out. I’ve written about side hustles for physicians before and this is the (non-medical) equivalent to filling out surveys. 

  • Swagbucks
  • Survey Junkie

These aren’t companies that will pay a lot of money for your time and expertise. 

It’s not worth spending a lot of time doing these. 

However, they are easy to do on a rainy afternoon while you watch game shows or sitcom reruns. 

Driving-Based Apps

A couple of side hustles that are easy to fit into your schedule are:

  • Uber
  • Lyft

They are very convenient because all you have to do is log-in to the app a pick-up a job or two–when you have time. There are also other driving and delivery based apps (packages, restaurant meals, and groceries).

You could pick-up people or packages to deliver on your way to and from your w-2 job. 

I recently had a medical student who was subsidizing some of his student debt. Instead of taking out a ton of student loans, he was driving a few hours every week. 

You could be using one of these money apps to earn income.

Your current schedule will determine if you want to add a side hustle to the mix. 

Rentals

There are money apps that allow you to rent a room or your entire house.

So unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve more than likely heard of Airbnb…a great option for renting out your extra space to people who are traveling to your city.

Taylor, my wife and I are huge fans of Airbnb. Taylor and I use Airbnb when we travel because it’s more comfortable than a hotel when we travel with our two toddlers. 

There is an app, similar to Airbnb, but it’s for individuals who want to rent out cars. Turo is the app and they will even deliver the car to the parking lot of your hotel. It’s an easy to use process:

  • The car is delivered to your hotel parking lot
  • Unlock the car with your app
  • Drive the car
  • Leave the car in your hotel parking lot (according to an agreed-upon time)
  • Turo will pick the car up

Imagine the ease of renting a car with this app. You get to skip the crowds and the rental kiosk!

Now, If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that my dream car is a Tesla. 

Imagine my delight when I found out that people are buying Teslas, then renting them out through apps such as Turo, to quickly pay off the loan. 

I was so tempted to crunch the numbers and convince Taylor, we could rent it out for a month and boom, pay it off! 

I’m totally joking, there is no way I’d be able to rent out my Tesla if I bought one.

But if you have a Tesla…there is another side hustle option for you to think about! 

Notice: Just for the record, you have a reputation to uphold as a renter or lender. You’ll get reviews and that connection to your name will linger for a long time. That means you have to be patient and professional to the people who rent or use your services. You also need to take good care of the house or car that you are renting out.

Physician Wealth Services

Are You Outdoorsy?

Well, there is an app for you!

Let’s say you bought an RV but you only use it a few weekends a year, instead of letting it sit idle in storage, you can make some money by renting it to families who need one through the app Outdoorsy!

Or skip buying the RV for yourself, and just rent one from the app Outdoorsy for the few times when you need to use one! 

This is a great option because you don’t run the risk of anyone trashing your almost new, immaculate RV. 

Buying an RV is like buying a boat. It’s better not to actually buy one, since it may just end up sitting in storage. It’s better to make friends with someone who has a boat or RV.

The best option may be to rent one through an app!

Selling Your Data

How do you feel about selling your personal data?

Does the thought disturb you?

Below are two money apps that track your spending for a few bucks–with the help of your credit card. Yes, you connect your credit card to your app.

  • Dosh
  • Drop

You can console yourself that the data exchange happens in a very forgettable and anonymous way. There is no reason to get excited because if you have a Gmail account–Google knows about everything you are doing. 

What it all really means is that “you” are the data or product. Dosh or Drop are selling out the data of your spending. They are analyzing how someone similar to you spends money.

However, if you sign up for these apps you’ll get extra credit card rewards. You can even cash the points in for gift cards or cash.

Because it just so happens that between Google, Apple and Amazon, this is a trillion dollar industry.

They already track your spending, they can track where you’re going by using the location device on your phone. Although we can’t prove anything, the microphones are on. 

How many times have you mentioned something and then an ad pop-up for it?

Money & Exercise

As physicians, you know the importance of daily exercise, so why not combine improving your health with money apps?

If you are a dog lover, this is one app that might really appeal to you. 

You can get paid for pet sitting or dog walking, all while getting your 10,000 steps in!

There are many good options for money apps that will help you increase the cash in your pockets, bank accounts or investments. 

Tell us about the money apps you’ve used in our Physician Finance Community on FB!

Ryan Inman