I received an email today from the Betterment brokerage announcing their new Apple Watch app as, “A smarter way to invest on the go.”
Of course, Betterment’s after the PR value of being among first to the platform, but the underlying idea is silly for a number of reason:
- “Impulse saving” isn’t a thing. Investing, particularly according to the Betterment approach, is a long-term systematic activity of regular savings. Generally it’s done automatically, but even if done manually, nobody—nobody—will be in such a rush to “invest” that they couldn’t wait to do it from the comfort of a desktop or tablet environment.
- Betterment knows the psychology behind the general recommendation not to monitor one’s investments frequently. Why? Because on a day-to-day basis the market will be up as often as it’s down, and we know that it’s far more painful to see a loss than it is pleasureful to see a gain. And so even though the value of our portfolios may climb over time, frequent checking usually has a cumulative negative effect over time. So the last thing we want, as smart investors is to have portfolio monitoring on our watches!
I know it’s hard for a marketing department to pass over the idea that, “Wouldn’t it be great to ride the PR around the Apple Watch?” But I find myself a bit disappointed that an organization I’d like to believe to be among the more serious of modern investment firms to go for gimmicks like this.