CivicScience | ‘Robinhood’ Might Live Up to Its Namesake for Lower-Income Adults


‘Robinhood’ Might Live Up to Its Namesake for Lower-Income Adults

Image Credit: Photo by Mark Finn on Unsplash

Managing and growing personal wealth is an important aspect of life but budgeting your paycheck to allow for spending as well as saving can be a challenge. Many people look for additional revenue streams – outside their paycheck – to supplement income, support a certain lifestyle, or secure a nest egg for retirement. 

According to a recent survey of U.S. adults asking how and where they invest and save, 55% selected a 401(k) through their employer, 50% said a savings account, and 31% said investing in stocks and equity funds.

The stock market is one of the more volatile ways to watch money grow – or disappear. In recent years, free stock trading (low-cost brokerages or zero commissions) has evened the playing field. And of all the free trading apps, Robinhood – a company that TechCrunch recently wondered why it’s not a verb yet – leads the way with 8% of Americans either having used, or intend to use the app.

Robinhood’s users and intenders skew to the 25 to 34 age group, doubling up Gen Z and the 35 to 54 cohort. What might offset the disparity is the fact that 25- to 34-year-olds also have the highest percentage of disinterest in the Robinhood app.

Men are also more interested than women in Robinhood, and those making less than $50,000 are the most likely earners to use (or intend to use) Robinhood, despite being the most unaware.

Robinhood users and intenders are more likely than non-users to be users and intenders of personal finance apps (such as Mint or Acorns). But, perhaps most notably, Robinhood users and intenders report being more neutral in their ability to manage their money (25%) than non-users, and even those who have never heard of Robinhood. Non-users and those unaware both showed greater incidence rates of people who say they manage their money well.

There are a number of apps like Robinhood designed to make engaging with the stock market a little more approachable. Since giving these apps a try doesn’t require you to sell the farm, younger, less wealthy people might seek these out, whether as a potential revenue stream or just an experiment.

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