Clink Investing App with Access to 6 Vanguard Funds

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4th and Inches
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Clink Investing App with Access to 6 Vanguard Funds

Post by 4th and Inches » Mon Apr 11, 2016 11:42 pm

I had been interested in the Acorns investing app, but decided that it their overall fees were just not worth it. I have been waiting for some kind of competitor to come out that would be more attractive and cheaper. A Google search revealed a new competitor to Acorns called Clink.

https://clink.com/

There is no minimum balance, but you do have to invest at least a dollar every other week. You can set up several different investing strategies such as a percentage of how much you spend on a credit card or a given amount per week such as $50. There is no administration fee unlike Acorns.

You get access to six Vanguard ETFs. However, you don't really get to directly choose how much of each fund you want. You fill out a risk tolerance questionnaire and they assign you a portfolio with the requisite slices of the ETFs below.

The Asset allocation is as follows, using Vanguard for all of the ETFs.

US Stocks — Vanguard 500 ETF (VOO)
European Stocks — Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (VGK)
Emerging Markets — Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO)
World Bonds — Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (BND)
US Corporate Bonds — Vanguard Intermediate-Term Corp Bonds ETF (VCIT)
TIPS — Vanguard Short-Term Inflation Protected Securites ETF (VTIP)

I think this can be great for young people just starting out or for Bogleheads who want some sort of additional investment option that is cheap and automatic. I think I will be setting an account up for myself.

Thoughts?

123
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Re: Clink Investing App with Access to 6 Vanguard Funds

Post by 123 » Tue Apr 12, 2016 12:43 am

I would explore carefully how Clink works before I proceeded with it. A quick web search related to the Clink app indicated that it allows a user to "save every time they spend". Though I didn't do a detailed investigation my concern with Clink is that it probably creates a large number of transactions. Depending on how quickly those transactions trigger purchases of (fractional?) shares of the ETFs involved it would seem that there is a potential for an incomprehensible muddle of fractional share purchases.
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4th and Inches
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Re: Clink Investing App with Access to 6 Vanguard Funds

Post by 4th and Inches » Tue Apr 12, 2016 9:55 am

^^^^How is that much different than buying different shares (some of them fractional) across your 401k portfolio, Roth IRA, or taxable account on a bi-weekly basis as your paychecks come in? It is just a different scale.

jjface
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Re: Clink Investing App with Access to 6 Vanguard Funds

Post by jjface » Tue Apr 12, 2016 10:05 am

They are just gimmicks and detract from learning proper investing techniques.

Just set your account up for automatic investments if you want to automate investing. Put into a target retirement fund. Easy to get started for anyone.

conlius
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Re: Clink Investing App with Access to 6 Vanguard Funds

Post by conlius » Tue Apr 12, 2016 11:24 am

4th and Inches wrote:^^^^How is that much different than buying different shares (some of them fractional) across your 401k portfolio, Roth IRA, or taxable account on a bi-weekly basis as your paychecks come in? It is just a different scale.


Probably talking about tax lots. If you set it to save on every CC transaction like acorns, you can end up with a huge number of tax lots. If you sell or the company goes down, it might be a large amount of work...especially if you hold any of the same shared in another taxable account and attempt to tax loss harvest.

lee71959
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Re: Clink Investing App with Access to 6 Vanguard Funds

Post by lee71959 » Tue Apr 12, 2016 11:41 am

I'm not that old (I think) at mid-30s, but I really don't see the need to have apps for everything, including investments. Just use a computer and get a real sense of what you're doing instead of trying to over-simplify through a truncated app interface. Maybe its a way of getting young people started that wouldn't otherwise bother since they only use phones for everything?

At least this isn't as dumb as the get-a-mortgage-from-your-smartphone advertisement during the Super Bowl.

BigOrangeCountry
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Re: Clink Investing App with Access to 6 Vanguard Funds

Post by BigOrangeCountry » Wed Apr 13, 2016 1:33 pm

123 wrote:I would explore carefully how Clink works before I proceeded with it. A quick web search related to the Clink app indicated that it allows a user to "save every time they spend". Though I didn't do a detailed investigation my concern with Clink is that it probably creates a large number of transactions. Depending on how quickly those transactions trigger purchases of (fractional?) shares of the ETFs involved it would seem that there is a potential for an incomprehensible muddle of fractional share purchases.


Clink does not create a large number of transactions. Savings apps that use “spare change” or “roundup” style mechanisms make saving money way easier. Clink lets you control that “roundup” behavior too. Oh and hey, Clink absorbs the costs associated with purchasing fractional ETF shares so that “incomprehensible muddle” isn’t relevant.

If you use an app like Clink you can save yourself a lot of the time and headaches that would come with dealing with the average bank these days for sure 8-)

BigOrangeCountry
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Re: Clink Investing App with Access to 6 Vanguard Funds

Post by BigOrangeCountry » Wed Apr 13, 2016 1:47 pm

jjface wrote:They are just gimmicks and detract from learning proper investing techniques.

Just set your account up for automatic investments if you want to automate investing. Put into a target retirement fund. Easy to get started for anyone.


When you say "proper investment techniques", I think what you mean to say is "orthodox investment techniques".
There was a time when it was "proper technique" in battle to march in a line into cannon fire. The techniques change with the times and the unique needs of that time.

Apps like Clink are meant to fit into the lifestyle of the common user, usually someone who has little experience making investment decisions themselves. The way of saving through brick-and-mortar banks is an idea from a time where the best way to get around was on the back of a horse. The times have changed and the way we save money has changed as well. I'd wager that it's way easier to use your phone to save than it is to start a retirement fund :mrgreen:

4th and Inches
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Re: Clink Investing App with Access to 6 Vanguard Funds

Post by 4th and Inches » Thu Apr 21, 2016 1:38 pm

I think I am going to start an account to begin saving to finish our basement. I'm not looking to use this is a primary retirement savings medium. I just want an easy, cheap and painless way to start saving for something.

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grabiner
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Re: Clink Investing App with Access to 6 Vanguard Funds

Post by grabiner » Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:06 pm

4th and Inches wrote:I think I am going to start an account to begin saving to finish our basement. I'm not looking to use this is a primary retirement savings medium. I just want an easy, cheap and painless way to start saving for something.


For that, you don't want a stock investment at all, because you expect to spend the money in a few years and don't want the risk that the stock market will crash and take half the savings. You should use CDs, or a high-yield savings account.
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arcticpineapplecorp.
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Re: Clink Investing App with Access to 6 Vanguard Funds

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:13 pm

First,
"Is my account insured?

Investments with Clink are insured through the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) for up to $500,000. This means that if Clink security fails, your investments would be recoverable for up to $500,000 in value. For more information on SIPC insurance, please visit the http://www.sipc.org"

That sounds good.

Second,
"How are my stocks selected?

Clink’s algorithm applies a low-risk portfolio that’s right for you based on the “Modern Portfolio Theory.” The Modern Portfolio Theory is all about diversification and is the key to maximizing return with minimal risk; it emphasizes that risk is an inherent part of higher reward."

Hmmm.....I don't believe diversification maximizes return with minimal risk. It may REDUCE the risk because you're not putting all your eggs in one basket, but the only thing that MINIMIZES risk would be to add risk-free investments like treasuries, savings accounts, etc. So they can't say they're maximizing returns and minimizing risk at the same time. Risk and return are inextricably linked, you can't have one without the other. In fact, they go on to say risk gets you the higher reward, so how can they be taking "minimal risk" and "maximizing return" at the same time?? And they start out saying the "algorithm applies a low risk portfolio", so how can that possibly MAXIMIZE return?? Poorly worded.


Third,
"Will I always get a return from my investments?

There is always some risk associated with investing. However, if the market goes down, some of its components will go up ensuring maximum reward for your investment. Although each asset class within your portfolio by itself may be quite unpredictable, the volatility of your entire portfolio can be quite low."

Hmmm...how can they guarantee that some of the components will go up? It's likely that bonds "might" go up when stocks go down, but there's no guarantee of that. So, does everyone get a "low risk portfolio" or not, because it's supposed to be "right for you"?? Does anyone know the ranges of stocks to bonds Clink is choosing what's "right for you"?

Fourth,
How does this company make money???
"Invest we must." -- Jack Bogle | “The purpose of investing is not to simply optimise returns and make yourself rich. The purpose is not to die poor.” -- William Bernstein

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