By comparison, placing $500 in a popular wallet at roboadviser Betterment costs just $1.25 per year (0.25% of the money invested, plus a bit more for the underlying investments). Ellevest, a roboadviser aimed at women, charges $12 a year for its most basic investment plan and includes extras like online workshops and email courses from certified financial planners.
“There are cheaper options, and yet so many people just don’t invest,” said Treasury Director General Elias Rothblatt, who founded the service with Ivar Vong.
He said Treasury’s goal was to give users the boost they needed to get started. “If you put $50 or $100 into a low-cost investment and it makes you feel like, ‘Oh cool, I learned how to invest,’ then that’s a major win,” he said. .
The service, which went public in January, attracted 2,000 users who invested nearly $13.5 million. In 2021, it helped people invest $4 million in its private beta testing. More experienced investors also see the appeal: Seed backers, led by Bloomberg Beta, have invested more than $1.25 million.
Nearly 270 people took part in this February session. Ms. Dunlap began with a pep talk before diving into explanations peppered with metaphors. She compared buying Amazon stock, for example, to “owning a grain of sand on the beach in Bezos.”
A small blue ticked meter in the corner of the screen, tracking the total dollars invested as participants made purchases, bought stocks of investments like the Vanguard Total World Stock ETF, Global Diversity Index ETF from State Street and more. More than half bought something during that hour, spending around $120 each – a modest sum, but a significant first step.
“This isn’t TJ Maxx candle aisle,” Ms. Dunlap joked as the transactions piled up in the chat stream. “Please make smart choices.”