How to invest in the future and innovation without spending hours poring over portfolios.
You want to do good in the world, but as an individual contributor it’s hard to make a recognizable impact. Through investing, you can potentially make that difference by assisting large companies in their ventures to push progressive change. That’s where Swell Investing comes in. With a relatively low minimum to open an account, this company keeps investing simple, socially-conscious and affordable.
- Automatic dividend reinvestment
- $50 minimum to start
- Social impact updates
- Stocks, not ETFs; performance varies
- No 401(k) management
- Annual fee of 0.75%
A closer look at Swell Investing
Swell Investing was founded in 2015 with portfolios that are rooted in progressive industries. Green tech, clean water, zero waste, renewable energy, disease eradication and healthy living companies make up the different portfolios. Holdings in each portfolio range from 37 companies in the Zero Waste portfolio, all the way up to 68 companies in the Disease Eradication portfolio.
The team behind Swell Investing vets potential companies for each portfolio and revisits them on a quarterly basis to ensure they continue to meet the set standards. Portfolios are ruled by algorithms, or rule-based investment as it’s called on the site, which are managed by the Swell Investing team.
How much does it cost?
The minimum amount to open an account with Swell Investing is $50. You won’t face any trading fees, but there is a 0.75% annual fee that’s applied to any investments you’ve made.
What are the benefits of Swell Investing?
- Social investing. Each company is thoroughly analyzed and held to high standards so that only those most dedicated to change are involved.
- Low minimum. $50 is a rather reasonable starting balance in the investing world.
- Simple pricing. With only a minimum balance and an annual fee to consider, it’s easy to keep track of how much Swell Investing costs you.
What to watch out for
- Annual fee. You may find a less expensive option elsewhere; some robo-advisors even provide a $0 annual fee when under a certain amount is invested.
- Stocks, not ETFs. Individual stocks can be extremely volatile. While the portfolios contain a significant amount of individual stocks to diversify, it may not be as stable as other options.
- Performance varies. As of this writing, two of the six Swell Investing portfolios are outperforming the S&P 500. In the areas where the portfolios fall short, it’s by between 2% and 6%.
- No 401(k) management. While you can rollover a 401(k) into an individual retirement account (IRA) with Swell Investing, it currently doesn’t offer 401(k) management.
How do I sign up?
- Click Go to Site, then click Sign Up.
2. Create a username by entering your email and choose a password.
3. Activate your account using the link emailed to you. It may take a few minutes for the email to arrive.
4. Select Start and fill out the five questions about your investing preferences and social-impact interests. You’ll be asked to provide your date of birth at the bottom of this page.
5. Select the account type you want. Currently you can choose between a taxable brokerage account and an IRA.
6. If Swell is suitable for you, you’ll receive a confirmation screen.
7. Continuing on requires you to submit your personal information. Name, address, phone number, residency status, gender, employment status and net worth are all required to continue past this point.
8. Provide an e-signature after reading through the legal notices if you agree to Swell’s terms.
9. Connect your bank account and make your first deposit.
In all, the process takes about 20 minutes to complete, depending on how slow your email is. When connecting your bank, you’ll either choose one of many partnered banks and credit unions to connect instantly, or confirm a few micro deposits into your account if your bank is not partnered.
I’ve signed up. Now what?
After you’ve signed everything and set up your account, it’s time to select the amounts you’d like to invest into each portfolio. It takes about four to eight days to be fully activated and invested once you open your account and choose your investments.
Dividends of one dollar or more will be automatically reinvested. Be aware that Swell Investing doesn’t provide any tax advice, so you may need to seek the help of a professional adviser come tax season.
Swell Investing built its image around attracting those who care about the world. Environmental and social impact are at the core of its values, and if that’s something you have in common, it could be a good opportunity to invest in what you believe in. More conservative investors may not find the stock-based securities as attractive, and the annual fee may be slightly steep. To get the full breadth of what investing accounts can offer, compare your options with our guide to robo-advisors before you settle.