Albert Banking and Investing - More Than A Cash Advance
After my last post where I outlined the different parts of my personal net-worth statement, several people reached out to ask about the different products I use to keep track of all of my money. The first product I mentioned was "Albert," where I have a secondary savings account, so I figured that was a pretty good place to start.
I began using Albert in late 2018, around the time the app was launched. I needed an external savings account in order to begin building the ol' empire, but I learned that it was quite a bit more than that.
What Is Albert?
Albert is a pay-per-month service that employs the use of "Geniuses;" internal people meant to help you track your spending and put away as much money in savings as possible per week/month, based on your income to spending ratios and user-input goals. It'll also give you estimated timelines as to how long it'll take you to save to what your goal is, giving you a little peace of mind in the process that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Honestly, the idea is genius (see what I did there? I'll see myself out). Since discovering this game-changing feature, I have been espousing the good word of Albert to friends and family, and it's honestly made a difference in their lives. One friend of mine used Albert to save up for the down payment on his first home. My sister used it when she got her first job to be able to save up enough money to move out of my parents' house. It's a serious feature that I still employ each month. I'll spend as I normally do, and let Albert do its thing. When I look at the end of the month, I may have an extra $250-$500 in my savings that I didn't know I had. It's like super convenient money magic.
Albert has now moved into the investment game, and to pretty good effect. Its investment tool is about on-par with a service like Stash or Wealthfront, where you can choose the automatic management of your money (automagic?), or you can pick and choose investments based on your own preferences. Their list of ETF's and individual companies is OK, but not great. They are ever expanding, but you may not be able to find that one company you're looking for until it gets rolled out on Albert's time. Overall, I quite like the service, and you're looking at cheaper advisory fees than you would for something like a Wealthfront or Betterment.
Full disclosure: I don't use their banking product. I honestly don't see much of a need in opening a checking account within an app where that's not its bread-and-butter. I'm a traditionalist when it comes to that stuff I guess. If I'm depositing and spending my money out of your app, it better be your A1-since-day-1 product, which it just doesn't seem like. The banking product does offer things like automatic savings and investments out of checking, but you might be better off with a more established name like SoFi in that department. One big positive here though is the lack of clearing time in between a deposit into your checking account and moving that money into investments. Investing through a service like Schwab or one of the dinosaurs can often see your money take 2-3 business days to clear. With Albert? It's immediate. You can't really beat that.
The feature I do like is the cash advance. In a pinch? You can get a cash advance of up to $250 interest free from the app to help you out, then pay them back from your cash account. This is a direct shot across the bow to companies like Dave, who have gained a FinTech foothold during the pandemic. I love the challenge here by Albert.
Finally, as a lazy millennial that hates calling and speaking to actual human beings about things, Albert has an insurance planning feature! It'll help you shop for the cheapest insurance rates for car, home and renter's insurance, and is aggressively helpful.
Is Banking and Investing With Albert Worth It?
Do I like Albert? Hell yes. I love this app and genuinely swear by it. It's also important to note that I'm not being paid for this. I just genuinely love this application. It's helped me plan my future and kickstart my savings, and I think that's something everyone could use a little of at the moment.