StashAway Review – How It Works, Fees Charged And How To Sign Up

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StashAway is a popular robo advisor in Singapore. The app was released in 2016 and has since ruled over its competitors.

The explanation is simple if you consider its slew of advantages. You don’t have to invest a minimum sum, the fees are reasonable, and the app is straightforward. If you’re new to the investment market and want to raise your revenues, StashAway is the right place to start.

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However, this robo advisor has its competitors. Let’s see what StashAway has to offer and if it’s the right choice for you.

What Are The Fees StashAway Charge?

We already let slip that StashAway has no minimum balance requirements. But there’s more:

There’s no minimum investment limit and upfront fees.

Therefore, you have access to unlimited withdrawals and transfers, plus you can rebalance and re-optimise your account free of charge.

StashAway applies fees just for the funds you’re investing. And that means the app is actually useful because it makes its profits from happy clients and their successful investments. Otherwise, StashAway would secure its profit with minimum investment requirements and subscription costs.

Here’s even better news:

StashAway keeps its fees low, between 0.2% and 0.8%/ year. You can find these details on their official website:

Total investment (SGD) Annual fee rate (incl. GST)
First $25,0000.8%
Any additional amount above $25,000, up to $50,0000.7%
Any additional amount above $50,000, up to $100,0000.6%
Any additional amount above $100,000, up to $250,0000.5%
Any additional amount above $250,000, up to $500,0000.4%
Any additional amount above $500,000, up to $1,000,0000.3%
Any additional amount above $1,000,0000.2%

Be prepared for some other fees too:

  • 0.2% for ETF manager
  • Forex transaction 
  • 0.08% currency conversion between non-USD and USD deposits

These fees add up, especially if your net worth isn’t on par with Jeff Bezos’s.

StashAway has a simple solution, which is not coincidentally called StashAway Simple™.

This feature allows you to manage your balance for free. Moreover, fund managers need a 0.217% net expense ratio. 

How Does Stashaway Work?

StashAway’s general investing is based on the risks you’re willing to take: Core or High Risk. These categories allow you to allocate your assets according to how risky or safe they are. StashAway helps you build a comprehensive portfolio based on:

  • Cash
  • Commodities 
  • Fixed income
  • Government bonds
  • US and international equity 

Apart from this strategy, StashAway also uses goal-based investing. That means you can invest your money according to your goals.

For example, a honeymoon requires more money faster, whereas buying your dream home requires a steady, sure cash source.

StashAway helps you build the right portfolio in tune with your goals. 

An even more significant advantage to StashAway is that the app creates several portfolios to choose from. Some of these options include:

  • Retirement plans based on your post-retirement activities, your current savings, and saving power
  • Increased revenues within a short term if you’re willing to take more risks
  • Increased savings  for a specific goal, such as furthering your education or increasing your family

Here’s how StashAway works:

The app uses something they call economic regime-based asset allocation. We’ll explain its principles below:

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Firstly, StashAway believes that the economic landscape influences investment trends. If you want to make a profit, you have to work in line with the trends.

Therefore, you have to analyse and foresee potential crises.

These factors will help you distribute your assets to get more cash back.

Or, you can trust StashAway’s free reoptimisation to do the job for you.

Full disclosure: not everyone agrees with this methodology. One author highlights that StashAway’s algorithm will always recommend a high proportion of safe US bonds, even if you’re a risk-taker. Instead, investing in Singapore bonds can be cheaper and safer.

On the other hand, StashAway takes pride in its diverse portfolio. The official website states clearly that you’ll invest your money in stocks, bonds, REITs, and so forth. That way, you’ll build a dynamic portfolio of Singapore-based assets.

Who’s right, then?

Our advice: take a couple of minutes to create your StashAway account. It’s free and easy to see if they fit your needs.

Of course, StashAway doesn’t disclose the ropes behind its algorithm’s results. You’ll just get the system’s recommendations and decide if they’re something you want to follow.

However, it’s true that you can’t actually pick apart StashAway’s analysis. 

What should you do, then?

Consider this platform’s popularity, success, and stellar reviews. These factors speak for themselves. Besides, lots of beginner investors claim they got returns as high as 15%.

That means StashAway is an excellent option for beginners who want low fees and top-notch customer assistance. Although StashAway is a robo advisor, you can always contact an actual human officer to help you make sense of your portfolio.

StashAway’s officers are so dedicated that they even respond to your WhatsApp texts on Sundays.

What Is StashAway’s Income Portfolio?

We already discussed general investing and goal-based investing above. StashAway’s income portfolio is one of this app’s three portfolio options that allows your investments to become your primary income source. 

You should choose this alternative if you want a steady source of income based on:

  • Government bonds
  • Corporate bonds
  • International equity
  • Real estate investment trusts
  • Cash 

StashAway Income Portfolio’s focus is on Singapore bonds and ETFs. Therefore, this option is a very low-risk one. If you have another high-risk portfolio, you should build a StashAway Income Portfolio to complement it.

The main disadvantage of StashAway’s income portfolio compared to the other options is that it requires a base investment of $10,000.  Consider StashAway’s fees too.

So, not many people may have access to this package. 

Why Are People Using StashAway?

Lots of people in Singapore and abroad use StashAway because it’s a straightforward and convenient app. This platform especially suits beginner investors because you can tap into low-risk funds. 

But here’s another thing:

If you’re new to investments, you might consider expert assistance. However, agencies are much more expensive than robo advisers in general. To top that off, StashAway is one of the most affordable robo advisers on today’s market because of its small fees and lack of minimum requirements.

Did you know that some robo advisers ask for a base investment of at least $3,000? Some even go as high as $10,000.

Those amounts are very limiting for beginner investors.

And that’s why so many Singaporeans choose StashAway. You only need one dollar to start your investment journey except, of course, for the Income Portfolio.

Besides, consider that StashAway uses precise algorithms that allocate your resources to various investment opportunities. Almost all of its customers have had excellent success rates, and that means the app works.

With an initial deposit of $200 and subsequent $100 monthly deposits, StashAway promises $82,000 in your balance within 30 years. That’s almost $25,000 more than you’d have with a Unit Trust.

We even took a screenshot to prove it:

StashAway Investment Chart

(Source: StashAway)

Another advantage is that StashAway is an intuitive app that runs smoothly. When you’re new to investments and want to learn as much as possible, cluttered design can set you back.

By contrast, StashAway is straightforward and easy to use. That allows you to make suitable investments but also to invest more time in your financial education.

Pro tip: Use StashAway Academy if you’re serious about your financial education. 

You’ll find lots of courses about managing your budget and lucrative investments. StashAway tailors its classes for beginner, intermediate, and advance levels. 

Besides, you can choose the right channel to help you learn faster, such as:

  • Articled
  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Webinars

All these materials are free, even if you’re not currently investing.

Here’s a secret:

StashAway works so well because one of its co-founders is Michele Ferrario. Yes, it’s the same guy that worked as CEO for Zalora and co-founded Rocket Internet in Italy and Pakistan.

And here’s one more reason why StashAway hooked so many Singaporeans:

Its investment process is highly customised. You fill in your profile and your objectives, and StashAway tells you how to invest your money.

Of course, you can change those goals and profile anytime you need to. This flexibility and scalability are crucial advantages to StashAway compared to other robo advisers.

Plus, you can build tens of portfolios for each one of your objectives. All you have to do is choose your goals, fill in the number of years, and StashAway will tailor your investments.

But Is StashAway Safe?

Sure, StashAway has been on the market for some time, but it’s not as credible as DBS. And we all know that robo advisers don’t last forever. Just look at Smartly’s untimely demise in 2020.

However, safety is one of StashAway’s core principles. If you invest your money with this platform, know they’ll safe-keep it in a custodian account. According to StashAway, your deposits are kept in DBS trusts, whereas your investments go to Saxo.

Here’s what that means:

Whatever happens to StashAway, that money will always remain yours. So, even if the startup goes bankrupt, you can still reclaim that money.

So, your money is safe from bankruptcy.

What about hackers?

Two-factor authentication should take care of that problem. As such, StashAway sends you unique one-time passwords on your phone before each crucial decision.

Plus, StashAway sends you e-mails with all your transfers and withdrawals.

That way, you can report a potential hacker or cyber-thief.

Then there’s the MAS authorization. 

StashAway takes lots of pride in its MAS license. However, some sources debate whether that actually means something, considering that MAS relaxed some of their rules regarding robo investors.

Syfe vs StashAway – Which Should I Choose?

Syfe is one of the best robo advisers on the island, just like StashAway. This app is now used in 23 countries, though the majority of customers are Singaporean.

Just like StashAway, Syfe is user-friendly and affordable. However, Syfe is better for long-term investment, whereas StashAway is best for short to mid-term investments.

Here’s how Syfe and StashAway compare:

Fees

Total Investment (SGD) StashAway Syfe
First $25,0000.8%0.65% (up to $20,000) / 0.5% (above $20,000)
$25,000 to $50,0000.7%0.5%
$50,000 to $100,0000.6%0.5%
$100,000 to $250,0000.5%0.4%

$250,000 to $500,0000.4%0.4%

$500,000 to $1million0.3%0.4%

As you can see from the table above, Syfe’s fees are lower than StashAway’s for smaller sums. For example, if you want to invest just $10,000, Syfe will ask you for $6500, whereas StashAway asks for $8000/ year. 

Therefore, Syfe could be a better choice if you have a limited budget.

Also, Syfe doesn’t impose a minimum investment, just like most StashAway options, except for the Income Portfolio. That means both apps allow you to start investing without much money in your account.

Here’s the catch:

These apps offer different things to people who want even lower fees. We discussed the affordable StashAway Simple option above. By contrast, Syfe offers higher costs within their basic plans, whereas their gold or platinum plans have lower fees.

Investment Strategy

Syfe’s investment strategy speaks to people who prefer long-term investments. People who use Syfe will see slow and steady revenue growth.

Syfe’s methodology is based on an Automated-Risk-managed Investment strategy. ARI allows Syfe to tune your portfolio according to the downside risk finely. This method withstands the test of time.

By contrast, StashAway uses a massive library of data to assess current market trends and potential threats. That way, StashAway can always prepare for a crash or crisis. 

Although Syfe uses a more modern investment strategy, StashAway’s approach has shown that it works so far.

Asset Classes

Syfe has a unique approach to asset classes.

Firstly, it’s the only robo adviser in Singapore that allows you to build your portfolio on REITs only. So, if you’re in love with real estate like most Singaporeans, this would be your chance.

Secondly, you can choose the Equity100 portfolio. This alternative allows you to invest your money only in stocks. This alternative is very safe for the long term if you have enough patience.

However, Syfe offers some diversified portfolio options, such as their Income Portfolio. Warning: this portfolio diversifies head-first into Singapore’s REIT market, which isn’t surprising for Syfe.

To summarise, Syfe offers you:

  • Curated ETFs
  • REITs
  • Equity

By contrast, StashAway only works with ETFs. That’s not inherently bad, considering that ETFs are low-cost and industry-versatile. Besides, ETFs are known for their high-trading volumes.

Besides, StashAway addresses an entirely different audience than Syfe: people who like somewhat higher risks for massive growth in the short-term.

Plus, you can get one more thing from StashAway: a very diverse portfolio.

On the downside, StashAway’s focus is US-listed ETFs, which have higher taxes.

Here’s a quick review of these critical points to help you decide faster:

Syfe StashAway
No minimum investment
No minimum investment
No minimum investment, except for the Income Portfolio

Innovative investment approach
Risk-elimination investment strategy

You have to read and understand the portfolios in Syfe before deciding on one
You can change your portfolios on the go because StashAway is very flexible, even if it offers some pre-planned options
Small feesSmall fees
You can invest in:
- REITs
- ETFs
- Equity
You can only invest in equity
You can choose just REITs or just equity portfoliosYour portfolios are diversified
Best for long-termBest for short or mid-term
Access to education (magazine, workshops, e-books)Access to specific literature (articles, webinars, podcasts, videos)

Here’s Why You Should Add Robo Advisors Like StashAway Into Your Financial Portfolio

Your financial portfolio comprises all your assets and investments. It’s essential to figure out how to allocate your resources to obtain maximum profit.

For example, you can invest in real estate, exchange-traded funds, stocks and bonds, and so forth. You may even like dabbling in Cryptocurrency.

These investments have particular sets of advantages and disadvantages. For example, Crypto is riskier but can produce more profits in the short-term. Conversely, government stocks and bonds are safer in the long-term.

Here’s the secret of all top investors:

Never put all your eggs in one basket.

That’s why you need a robo advisor like StashAway. As you input your income, profile, and goals, StashAway helps you diversify your portfolio. So even if something happens to one of your investments, you can still count on the others.

Besides, as you approach retirement, you may want to opt for low-risk investment plans. StashAway features constructive alternatives for everyone, and it’s incredibly cheap compared to broker agencies.