Are you the kind of person who dumps their spare change into a jar once a day and smiles mightily when you count it up a few months later and have a few hundred extra dollars saved up? Perhaps you used to do just that but find yourself using cash less and less nowadays? Maybe you’re just looking for a low impact way to set aside some extra cash for that trip to Jamaica that you’ve been eyeing up for months. In any case Mylo might just be what you’re looking for…
What is Mylo?
Mylo is a service that will round-up your daily purchases to the nearest dollar and invest that spare change for you. That spare change will then be invested into low-cost ETFs on your behalf. It allows you to set your own goals to save for the future and gives you options on how you want to contribute to those goals. Maybe you want to save for a trip, pay off your student loans, or buy a new car. Whether you prefer your debit card, credit card, or use both It’s like dumping your pocket change into that jar once a week.
How does it work?
The first step is to create an account with Mylo. You’ll have to answer some questions about your lifestyle, risk tolerance, and financial goals when you do. These will become important later on when you setup a goal.
Next you’ll need to link your bank account where your (weekly) roundups are withdrawn from, and one or more debit or credit cards that you want to trigger the roundups from based on your transactions.
At this point you will need to create a goal. You give your goal a title, target amount, how you would like to contribute to the goal (roundups and/or a recurring deposit), and the date that you want to achieve the goal. You can optionally upload a photo, and you can also set a multiplier per goal to help you save even faster (or to prioritize one goal over another). That’s it, you’re setup and ready to start.
A Mylo portfolio manager will review your goal and the questions you answered when you signed up, and determine the best investment model based on the information you provided. All that’s left to do is to go about your normal spending routines, using the debit or credit card that you linked. Over the course of the week your verified (non-pending) purchases will be rounded up to the nearest dollar and tallied up, and multipliers will be applied if applicable. When Monday rolls around your account will have that weeks total withdrawn and moved into your Mylo account where it will be invested for you.
Example: You link your credit card to your account. You make 2 transactions during the week. The first is for $10.50, the second is $25.00. Your roundup on the first purchase would be 50 cents, and 1 dollar on the second for a total of $1.50 for that week. Suppose you have a 2x multiplier set, this would now be a $3.00 transfer for that week.
Mylo charges a flat fee of $1 per month to use their service. Beyond that you are charged ETF fees known as Management Expense Ratio (MER) that range from 0.05% to 0.37%. Mylo does not make any money from MERs.
When you decide that you want to withdraw your money you can do that at any time, though withdrawals are only processed once per week.
What sort of risk is involved?
In the same way that you could lose principal if you had invested in ETFs on your own, the same is true here. Being honest about your risk tolerance when you sign up will serve you well here, as the portfolio manager will review that questionnaire when determining an investment model for your goal(s).
How do I manage everything?
Mylo is managed via mobile app for both iOS and Android. The app is very straightforward and easy to navigate. The app provides you with the following:
A quick view of your goals and your current progress towards achieving each
View how much your roundups have been for the week ahead of the next scheduled transfer
From here you can refer friends, contact Mylo representatives for help, edit your personal information, modify your investor profile, view important documents, and customize settings on your account
Goal Details Screen
Clicking on one of the goals on the Overview screen shows you a nice chart of your progress along with information on your next upcoming transfer. The ‘…’ in the upper right hand corner gives you goal specific options including:
Adjust your roundup, multiplier, and recurring deposit settings
Modify the title, goal amount, desired achievement date, and goal image
View the details of the investment model as determined by the portfolio manager
Go here when you want to withdraw funds
- Save money while spending as you normally would, without really noticing
- Low fees, only $1 per month
- Option to donate to charity in addition to your savings goals, or exclusively
- Native mobile app is simple and easy to use
- Save towards multiple goals at once
- Low balance rule will stop a withdrawal that would cause your account to be overdrawn
- Fast, helpful customer support
- Depending on your spending habits, saving towards a goal can be slow going, even with multipliers
- Linking your bank accounts and debit/credit cards screen a little confusing (see Closing Thoughts below)
- Depending on your setup you might have some extra overhead in monitoring and making sure that your funding account always has enough money in it
- Updated Aug 14, 2018 – Depending on how your bank handles pending and cleared transactions and their posted dates, transactions that don’t clear before Monday may not be counted towards your weekly roundups. This could effectively mean that only transactions early in the week (Monday thru Wednesday roughly) are applied to your roundups.
Mylo feels like a well oiled machine – from a streamlined simple sign up process to setting up your goals. I think I had completed all of that in a matter of 10 minutes or less. It’s quick, easy, and fast.
My only point of contention was on the ‘Link account’ screen during the sign up process. When signing up you link your bank account by signing in via your online banking. This serves double duty in proving ownership of the account and also in telling your bank that you want to allow Mylo to withdraw money from the account(s) you select. After you log in you are presented with a list of your accounts and you have to select which ones you want to link with Mylo. All of the accounts were checked off by default, and in order to remove the ones I didn’t want linked I had to click a ‘Delete’ button beside each. Now I know that Mylo can’t delete my bank account, but the word ‘Delete’ can be a little disconcerting as it relates to a bank account with hard-earned money in it. After assuring myself that I wasn’t deleting my bank accounts and rather just unlinking them from Mylo, I moved on and everything was fine as expected. I’ve been using the service for several months now, so it’s possible that this process has been improved at this point in time.
All in all, Mylo can be a great way for you to save up for something that you want to see, do, or purchase. The purchase roundups help you save slowly and steadily without noticing a big hit on your pocketbook. It also gives you additional controls to boost your savings towards your goals with roundup multipliers and one time or recurring deposits. The service likely isn’t going to stockpile thousands of dollars away for you each year (unless you heavily use your debit and credit cards), but it can be a great way to have a little reserve on hand for a rainy day, or to cover some unexpected costs that creep up on you.
Disclosure: If you click on the ‘Referral Link’ below and sign up for Mylo and fund your account, both you and I will earn an additional $5 on the platform. There is no additional cost to you by using this link, and the inclusion of this link has not had any impact on the review above. It’s simply a way to earn an extra $5 for yourself and help support this blog at the same time. If you’re not OK with that for any reason, I’ve also included a ‘Direct Link’ which will not act as a referral and means that nether you nor I will receive the promotion.