How to Use Investing Apps Robinhood, WeBull, and Coinbase

If investors lose money or otherwise have a negative experience early on, it can turn them off to saving and investing in the long term. That’s why step one for a new investor should be to establish a long-term savings plan–and to use more sophisticated investing platforms like robo-advisers, which offer investing advice suited to your long-term goals. 

“Before you begin to try your hand at picking stocks, you should set up your 401(k) account and begin contributing the max as soon as possible,” says Arthur Flores, a fee-only certified financial planner based in New York City who works with a wide spectrum of clients—from high-net-worth individuals to people who are just starting out. You should also have built up a solid emergency savings fund and paid off your high-interest debt. 

“I’ll always recommend robo-advising as your first type of investment, vs. going to a Robinhood or a more self-directed type of account,” Flores says. “[Robo-advisers] are basically set-it-and-forget-it products that take care of almost everything. But going to Robinhood before you have set up a retirement account is too speculative. It’s more like gambling.”

A Robinhood spokesperson responded to the criticism of its platform by saying that the company makes investing more accessible and affordable for all. 

“It’s a gross mischaracterization to equate that with encouraging risky behavior,” the spokesperson said. “Over the past year and a half, we’ve enhanced our educational resources both on Robinhood Learn and directly within the app, launched First Trade Recommendations for new customers, and introduced 24/7 phone support. We remain committed to making Robinhood a place to learn and invest responsibly.” 

Indeed, Robinhood says it’s currently working toward creating investment products that are more in line with retirement planning. 

“Tax-advantaged retirement accounts are on the road map, and the teams are already hard at work to develop this functionality,”…

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