Robinhood Review: Does This Investment App Live Up To The Hype?
What is Robinhood?
The Robinhood app debuted in 2013 as a first-of-its-kind revolutionizing free investment platform. Much like the 700-year-old story of the hero to the people, Robin Hood, FinTech entrepreneurs Vladimir Tenev and Baiju Bhatt created the platform in order to make stock trading easily accessible to the general public and not just the wealthy.
The sleek designed interface of the Robinhood app is easy to use
What do I need to open a Robinhood account?
Essentially, you don't need anything but your basic info and email to get your account started. Since Robinhood doesn't require a minimum deposit, you can connect your banking accounts after setup. Your Robinhood account can be accessed either from the web or through their mobile app.Once you link your financial institution to transfer funds into the account, you can start buying and selling stock. Robinhood features instant deposits, which makes up to $1000 of your pending bank transfer available immediately for trades. This can be crucial if you wish to buy on stock right away for max gains, as it can take up to five business days for the transfer to go through.
The most enticing aspect of joining Robinhood may just be the randomized free stock they give to each user at sign up. Although there is a 98% chance that stock will range anywhere from $2.50-10 in value, there's a 2% chance you might receive a stock valued at $200 or more!
The statistics and return on individual Robinhood stocks is easy to read and understand
- Robinhood offers fractional share purchases. This allows you to buy a portion, or fraction, of a stock share. Say you want to invest in Tesla stock but don't want to put around $400 into buying one share of it. With fractional shares, you can invest as little as $1 into stocks like Tesla.
- The refer a friend program offers you another randomized free stock for each successful referral.
- With Robinhood's cash management program, uninvested cash deposits are managed through Robinhood's network of program banks, where it earns a variable interest (currently .30%) and is protected under FDIC insurance regulations. You also receive a debit card for use of the funds and can make purchases online through Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. All of this is offered to Robinhood users free of charges or fees.
- For $5 a month, users can upgrade to Robinhood Gold. With Gold membership, you get higher thresholds for instant deposits, substantially superior market research through Morningstar and NASDAQ, and access to margin trading to buy stocks on borrowed money.
Some of the popular stocks on Robinhood will show brief analytics, but professional research is only available to Robinhood Gold members
- The user is in complete control over which funds to buy and sell. There is no financial advisor in charge of your investments. With complete control, the user has to either take time to do their own research or take the risk of possibly losing big without having expert advice.
- Robinhood limits you to only one account option, a brokerage account. Without the option of a tax-deferred retirement account as the investment vessel, users have no choice but to pay taxes on the account right away.
Who is Robinhood Best Suited for?
Robinhood offers cryptocurrency trades from many of the biggest companies in the business. Being one of the few brokerage apps that allow this, Robinhood is great for people looking to get into crypto investing.
Generally speaking, Robinhood is best for new-to-investing users who want to try an innovative way to dip into the world of investing with a little bit of cash. However, I wouldn't recommend this app for anyone looking for anything long term.While Robinhood gained much of its craze because of being the first commission-free trading app, many more brokers have also gone to commission-free trades. Ameritrade and Fidelity are two brokerages that offer commission-free trades but with the full service and options of a mainstream brokerage.
Looking for a job? In addition to encountering those annoying never-ending job interviews you may find yourself face-to-face with an artificial intelligence bot.
Companies worldwide increasingly use artificial intelligence tools and analytics in employment decision-making – from parsing through resumes and screening candidates to automated assessments and digital interviews. But recent studies claim that AI does more harm than good.
While AI screening tools were developed to save companies time and money, they’ve been criticized for placing women and people of color at a disadvantage. The problem is that many companies lack appreciable diversity in their data set, making it impossible for an algorithm to know how people from underrepresented groups have performed in the past. As a result, the algorithm will be biased toward the data available and compare future candidates to that archetype.
The City’s Automated Employment Decision Tools (AEDT) law is designed to offset the potential misuse of AI and protect job candidates against discrimination. It was enforced on July 5th, 2023 in New York City - with other cities and states expected to gradually follow suit. Employers must now inform applicants when and how they encounter AI. Furthermore, companies have to commission a third-party audit of the AI software used, and publish a summary of the results to prove that their systems aren’t racist or sexist. Job applicants are able to request information regarding what data is collected and analyzed by the AI. Violations of the law can result in fines of up to $1,500.
Replacing Human Hiring Decisions
However, should a job applicant want to opt-out of such impersonal judgement by a bot, the new law's scope is quite limited.
While the law specifies that instructions for requesting an alternative selection process must be included in the AI screening disclosure, companies aren't actually required to use other screening methods. Not to mention that the law only applies to AI in hiring and not any other employment decisions. It also wouldn't apply if the AI, for example, flags candidates with relevant experience, but a human then reviews all applications, making the ultimate hiring decision.
Some civil rights advocates and public interest groups argue that the law isn’t extensive enough and that it’s even unenforceable. On the other hand, businesses say that it’s impractical, costly, and burdensome, and that independent audits aren’t feasible.
Responsible use of AI in hiring
Although this law may be a good first attempt to assign more regulatory guardrails around AI, it remains to be seen if it ensures the responsible use of AI in hiring processes. At the end of the day, perhaps recruiting talent should remain a human-made decision.
The good news is that AI can help companies without harming potential job candidates in many ways – such as connecting new employees with internal organizational information and company benefits during onboarding. Or helping employees to do their jobs more effectively rather than replacing them.
There’s all this talk about solo travel. And for good reason — no wasting precious time waiting for others to get their act together, take the plans out of the group chat and actually buy the tickets. Going solo, you can be spontaneous. You can plan your trips according to your precise tastes. You can hop on any flight and fly awayyyyyy.
But what if each time you flew you’d get a free ticket? That’s what you get with the Southwest Companion Pass.
Award status, upgrades, lounge access — there are many perks in the frequent flier game. But one of the coveted holy grails is the Southwest Companion Pass.
What is the Southwest Companion Pass?
The Companion Pass is part of Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program. You get to choose one person to be your “companion,” and they fly with you for free (plus some taxes and fees) on every flight. That’s right. Two for the price of one. That’s half off each ticket if you split it! Whether you’re flying with a partner, family member, friend, or anyone else, they can tag along for free.
And it gets better: once you earn the pass, you can reap the rewards for that full calendar year … AND the next. That’s why people go mad trying to earn a companion pass during the early months of the year. The sooner you qualify, the longer you can use it.
There are also no blackout dates. There are no limits. And if you didn’t purchase the ticket (think: work travel, your companion, or a generous benefactor), there are no restrictions! As long as you’re the one on the plane, your companion can also … be on the plane.
You can also switch out your designated companion 3x a year. So, no need to stay in a relationship simply to get the most out of your companion pass! Ghost and fly away — with a whole new companion!
If this sounds too good to be true — it’s not. But there is one small catch. It’s kinda tough to earn this mega reward.
How to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass?
You can qualify for the pass in one of two ways:
- Fly 100 qualifying one-way flights
- Earn 135,000 qualifying points in a calendar year.
Clearly, this is no small feat — especially if you’re trying to qualify ASAP.
So how do you actually earn the Southwest Companion Pass?
Don’t worry, there’s a path to earning this amazing reward without climbing on 100 flights or spending an exorbitant amount of money.
Earning 135K reward points may seem completely impossible, but it’s easier than it sounds. Simply sign up for a Southwest Credit Card and turn those spending habits into a rapid rewards account. Through the Rewards Priority Credit Card, earn points when using local transit and commuting, plus score major points and miles whenever you spend.
Stay with me here. This is not some scheme to get you into credit card debt. Many airline cards come with potential savings, giantic rewards, awarding you points, and cashback with every purchase you make that can be redeemed for travel. And often they can come with passive sign-up bonuses. If you spend a specific amount of money within a certain timeframe of opening the card, you can be in for a windfall of points.
Now that’s where the companion pass comes in:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
- Southwest Priority Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
- Southwest Performance Business Credit Card
Southwest has three personal cards and a business card. Each of these cards offers rewards between 30K-80K points. In the past, people could open two cards and get a bonus that granted enough points to almost meet the minimum. However, with new restrictions on personal cards, you can only get one bonus every 24 months. Boo!
However, this doesn’t apply to business cards. If you’re eligible, have good credit, and not likely to spiral into insane credit card debt, you can open a business card and a personal card, and accrue 100K+ points. The Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card will get you points after you spend money in no time.
Now to earn the rest of them.
The secret to gaining these credit card points is to plan your card sign-ups around big purchases. Just before a recent move, I opened a card . . . and the rewards came rolling in — a small balm to ease the pain of how exorbitant moving can be.
Put everyday spend — especially big purchases or bulk items — on your Southwest credit card and watch your award points quickly add up. Typically, you earn 1 point per $1 spent on your Southwest card and 2 points per $1 on actual Southwest purchases.
But there are other ways to earn points, including:
- Flying Southwest: Booking travel on Southwest earns more points. The cost of this travel will be worth it with your companion pass
- Shopping from Rapid Rewards Partners: Purchases with Southwest’s “Home & Lifestyle” and “Shop and Dine” Partners also earn Companion Pass qualifying points. While you shouldn’t make gratuitous purchases, browse Southwest’s partners to see if you could earn extra points for items you'd be purchasing anyway. All this, simply from enrolling in their Dining Program and shopping with their partners.
So there you have it! And since it’s almost Spring, get to earning and soon you’ll be flying two for the price of one!