Acorns Early Review [2022]: An Easy Way to Invest for Your Children's Future

With Acorns Early, you can open easy-to-manage custodial investment accounts for children, for one low monthly subscription rate.
Last updated Feb. 7, 2022 | By Stephanie Colestock
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You may already know about Acorns, the modern financial platform that makes saving and growing your portfolio easier than ever. In addition to a variety of personal finance tools and products — including checking and investment accounts — Acorns also makes it simple to invest in the financial wellness of your kids through a custodial account.

Acorns Early allows you to fund and manage investment accounts for each of your children, all in one place. With automated contributions, hypothetical value projections, bonus investments, and a flat monthly fee, it’s easy to see why this platform is worth a look if you’re planning to invest on your child’s behalf.

Quick Summary

Invest in the future of the kids in your life by setting up easy-to-manage custodial investment accounts

  • Make recurring contributions to your child’s account and take advantage of time being on their side
  • Create accounts for multiple children on the same Acorns Family plan at just $5 per month
  • Access additional Acorns products such as investment and retirement accounts for yourself 
In this Acorns Early review:

What is Acorns Early?


Acorns

Acorns Early

Minimum investment $5
Management fees $5 per month for an Acorns Family membership
Asset classes ETFs (including ETFS for stocks, bonds, real estate, and other types of assets)
Account types available UTMA / UGMA custodial account
Features Accounts available for multiple children with one membership, and you can open an account the day a child is born.
Distributions As the custodian, you will pick the age when the beneficiary will take control of the account. This is normally between 18 and 25
Best for... Adults who want to provide for their children or other young people in their life (the beneficiary does not have to be your own child)
Visit Acorns

To understand the value of Acorns Early, you first need to meet its parent company, Acorns. Acorns was founded in 2012 as a micro-investing app, aimed at helping its (now more than 9 million) users grow their “acorns” of today into the “oaks” of tomorrow. 

CEO Noah Kerner indicates that the platform was founded with the goal of helping the average American save for the future, and from day one, Acorns has made it easy for investors to not only automate and simplify the saving and investing process but also to manage their investments as time goes on. 

No matter your retirement goals, Acorns simplifies the efforts. With Round-Ups, for example, users are able to automatically invest spare change from their linked, everyday purchases. Although these micro-investments may only be a few cents each, using what is basically "found money" in this way can add up into big savings throughout the months and years.

In addition to helping you with saving for retirement, Acorns can also help prepare for your children’s future.

With Acorns Early, you are able to set up and manage Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA)/Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) accounts for any number of children in your family. Early is also included with the family-level plan and allows you to start saving on your child(ren)’s behalf from day one, in addition to building your own investment portfolio.

How does Acorns Early work?

Similar to many of the best investment apps out there, Acorns Early can help you project your savings by year, establish and automate funding efforts, and even rebalance a portfolio according to your risk tolerance over time. The only difference between your everyday robo-advisors and Acorns Early is that Early is intended for kids.

Acorns Early accounts are custodial brokerage accounts, or UTMA/UGMA accounts. This means that the funds technically belong to the minor child, even though they are managed by a parent or other adult (custodian).

When the child comes of age (between 18 and 25, depending on the state), they will assume control of the portfolio and can spend the money however they’d like. Before that time, the custodian can withdraw funds as needed as long as they are used to benefit the child. For example, funds could be used to pay for educational expenses. 

Acorns Early lets your child invest in the same exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and stocks that regular Acorns users can. Because time is on your child’s side, all Early accounts are automatically set up as an aggressive stock-based portfolio, while allowing for bonus investments through partners like Disney+ and ABC Mouse.

Lastly, you and your child(ren) can learn about money and investing basics from the platform’s financial literacy library, called Grow. This valuable resource covers a wide range of topics ranging from introductory money management to current events, investments, taxes, and more.

Who can use Acorns Early?

Acorns Early is designed to help build up invested savings on behalf of children who cannot yet invest on their own. Account custodians — those who open and manage the portfolio — can be any willing adult wondering how to invest money for a child, even if they’re not the child’s own parent.

Custodians can open accounts for multiple children on the same Acorns subscription too. Early accounts are available only on the highest-tier family plan, which runs $5 a month.

In order to open an Acorns Early account for a child, you’ll simply need their:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number

The account must be associated with an eligible U.S. state or territory (as this dictates when the child will assume ownership of the account), and you can begin investing in an Early account with as little as $5.

How to sign up for Acorns Early

It's simple to sign up for Acorns Early, and you’ll only need a few pieces of information to get started.

Once you’ve signed up for an Acorns account and subscribed to its Family plan, you’ll want to visit the Early page on Acorns.com and click “Add a Child.” From there, you’ll be prompted to provide the child’s full name and date of birth.

You’ll also need to provide the child’s SSN. If you don’t have that available at the moment, you can skip this step and add it later. Just note that it must be submitted before you can start funding the account or investing on the child’s behalf.

Next, it’s time to set the transfer age for the account. Each state has its own rules regarding the age of transfer, which is either 18 or 21. Even if the transfer age in your state is 18, though, you can choose to remain custodian of the account all the way up to age 21. At that time, the portfolio will automatically transfer to the child’s ownership.

Once Early knows how long the child will have to invest and grow their savings, it can offer projections for the future. At this time, you can see the different contribution options available (if you’d like to automate these) and how they might impact the account balance over time.

Then, it’s simply time to choose your recurring contribution day and amount, and begin investing for your child.

You are able to make one-time contributions to the account whenever you’d like, in addition to recurring investments. You can also view the portfolio’s performance from your dashboard, as well as see its projected growth. Just note that you are unable to make any changes to the portfolio’s risk tolerance level.

FAQs about Acorns Early

Is Acorns Early safe and legit?

Acorns is a trusted investment platform with over 9 million users and almost a decade of portfolio management under its belt. Both the website and the Acorns app are secured with 256-bit encryption to help keep your personal financial information secure, as well.

Acorns Early is a legit way to invest. Portfolios are held as custodial brokerage accounts and are managed by a willing adult. Once the child comes of age, the account is automatically transferred into their ownership with no action required from the custodian, and the child can then use the funds as they see fit.

With that said, Early portfolios are highly aggressive and stock-based. Because of this, there is no guarantee of their growth or returns.

Is Acorns Early a good investment?

Acorns Early offers custodial brokerage accounts that aggressively invest in a mixture of 12 different ETFs, with the simplicity of automated contributions and bonus investments. With that said, investment returns are never guaranteed and there is always risk involved when you invest money.

What types of accounts does Acorns offer?

Depending on which subscription tier and pricing you choose, you can take advantage of the variety of accounts and products that Acorns offers, including:

  • Acorns Later, which helps you find the right retirement account for you, to include an investment portfolio and IRA
  • Acorns Spend, an all-digital bank account with a slew of valuable features; this is a checking account that comes with a debit card
  • Acorns Invest, a micro-investing account that puts your spare change to work for you, and can be set up in less than five minutes
  • Acorns Early
  • Acorns Earn, helps you earn money from brands when you shop in their online stores

In addition to its accounts, Acorns also offers Acorns Grow, a free, resource-rich library of financial literacy content, created in partnership with CNBC. It's designed to educate consumers on everything from credit card debt to student loans. 

Bottom line on Acorns Early

One of the biggest things your children have going for them, at least in terms of investments, is time. Through Acorns Early, you can easily save and invest for your child's future. It will be aggressively invested and grow exponentially over the years. Once they come of age, the money is theirs to do with as they please.

For $5 a month, you can sign up for an Acorns Family subscription, which enables you to open Early custodial accounts for your children, other family members like nieces and nephews, or any other special child in your life. In addition to Acorns investment accounts for children, though, your Acorns subscription also grants you access to a variety of financial products, services, and educational resources for yourself.

Acorns Benefits

  • Bonus $5 after your first investment
  • No surprise fees
  • Get started for just $1 per month
  • Protected by bank level security

Author Details

Stephanie Colestock Stephanie Colestock is a credit card expert, travel rewards aficionado, and writer who enjoys teaching people how to be financially independent and confident about their money choices. If it has to do with credit, credit cards, or traveling the world on points, you'll find Stephanie writing about it. She also enjoys teaching people how to reach financial independence, regardless of obstacles in their path (such as the crippling student loan debt she once held). Stephanie graduated from Baylor University, and is currently working toward her CFP certification. Her work can be seen on sites such as Forbes, Dough Roller, and Johnny Jet, among many others.