Acorns vs Vanguard: Which is Better?

When comparing Acorns and Vanguard, it’s crucial to consider various factors such as investment options, fees, account types, technology, user experience, and overall suitability for your financial goals. Both platforms offer distinct approaches to investing, catering to different types of investors. In this comparison, we’ll explore the key features of each platform to help you make an informed decision.


Acorns is a micro-investing platform that enables users to invest their spare change from everyday purchases. It rounds up transactions to the nearest dollar and invests the difference into a diversified portfolio of ETFs (Exchange-Traded Funds). Acorns aims to make investing accessible to everyone, particularly those who may not have significant funds to invest upfront.

Vanguard, on the other hand, is one of the largest investment management companies globally, known for its low-cost index funds and ETFs. Vanguard offers a wide range of investment products and services, including mutual funds, ETFs, brokerage accounts, retirement accounts, and financial planning services. Its focus on low-cost investing and investor ownership distinguishes it from many other investment firms.

Investment Options

Acorns primarily offers a limited selection of ETF-based portfolios constructed to match various risk profiles, ranging from conservative to aggressive. These portfolios typically consist of a mix of stocks and bonds diversified across asset classes and sectors. Acorns’ approach is simple and hands-off, making it suitable for beginner investors or those looking for a passive investment strategy.

Vanguard provides a broader range of investment options, including not only ETFs but also mutual funds, individual stocks, bonds, and other securities. Vanguard is renowned for its low-cost index funds and ETFs, which aim to replicate the performance of broad market indices at minimal expense ratios. Its extensive selection of investment products caters to investors with varying risk tolerance, investment objectives, and preferences.


Acorns charges a monthly fee ranging from $1 to $5, depending on the tier of service chosen. The basic tier includes an investment account and a retirement account, while the higher tiers add features like an Acorns debit card, access to a checking account, and bonus investments for shopping with Acorns partners. In addition to the monthly fee, Acorns charges an annual management fee ranging from 0.25% to 0.50% of assets under management.

Vanguard’s fee structure varies depending on the investment products and services used. While Vanguard is known for its low-cost index funds and ETFs, it may charge transaction fees or expense ratios for certain investment products. Additionally, Vanguard offers brokerage services with commission-free trading for Vanguard ETFs and competitive pricing for other securities. It’s essential to review Vanguard’s fee schedule carefully to understand the costs associated with your chosen investment strategy.

Account Types

Acorns offers individual taxable investment accounts, traditional and Roth IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts), as well as custodial accounts for minors. Its inclusion of retirement accounts makes it suitable for long-term savings and retirement planning, in addition to taxable investment accounts for general investing goals.

Vanguard provides a wide range of account types, including brokerage accounts (individual, joint, custodial), retirement accounts (traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, 401(k), etc.), education savings accounts (529 plans, Coverdell ESA), and managed accounts (Vanguard Personal Advisor Services). Its comprehensive suite of account options caters to investors with diverse financial needs and objectives.

Technology and User Experience

Acorns’ mobile app and website are designed with simplicity and accessibility in mind, making it easy for users to sign up, set up their accounts, and start investing within minutes. Its round-up feature automatically invests spare change from everyday purchases, while additional features like Found Money partnerships and educational content enhance the user experience.

Vanguard offers a robust online platform and mobile app with advanced features like portfolio analysis, goal tracking, retirement planning tools, and educational resources. Its user-friendly interface provides investors with access to real-time market data, research reports, and investment performance metrics. Vanguard’s emphasis on investor education and empowerment aims to help users make informed decisions about their investments and financial goals.


Both Acorns and Vanguard prioritize the security of their users’ accounts and personal information. They employ industry-standard security measures, such as encryption, multi-factor authentication, and regular security audits, to protect against unauthorized access and data breaches. Additionally, both platforms offer FDIC insurance for cash balances held in their accounts and SIPC protection for securities held in brokerage accounts.

Customer Support

Acorns provides customer support via email and in-app messaging. While it lacks phone support, its online help center and educational resources aim to address common questions and concerns. Acorns also offers a referral program that rewards users for inviting friends to join the platform.

Vanguard offers comprehensive customer support through various channels, including phone, email, live chat, and in-person consultations at its branch locations. Additionally, Vanguard provides extensive educational resources, including articles, videos, webinars, and workshops, to help users learn about investing, financial planning, and retirement savings. Vanguard’s customer support team aims to provide personalized assistance and guidance to address users’ inquiries and help them achieve their investment goals.

Final Conclusion on Acorns vs Vanguard: Which is Better?

In conclusion, both Acorns and Vanguard offer distinct approaches to investing, catering to different types of investors. Acorns appeals to individuals looking for a simple, automated investment solution with low starting capital and a hands-off approach. Its round-up feature and monthly subscription model make it easy for users to start investing with small amounts of money and gradually grow their portfolios over time.

Vanguard, on the other hand, provides a broader range of investment options, account types, and services, making it suitable for investors seeking more flexibility, control, and customization. Its low-cost index funds and ETFs, combined with its comprehensive suite of account options and investor education resources, make it an excellent choice for both beginner and experienced investors looking to manage their portfolios actively.

Ultimately, the choice between Acorns and Vanguard depends on your individual preferences, investment goals, and level of comfort with managing your investments. It’s essential to evaluate the features, fees, investment options, and user experience of each platform to determine which one best aligns with your financial needs and objectives.


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