New digital investing app, Dodl, was launched in April after a well-publicised advertising campaign. First things first, this isn’t a fly-by-night, here-today-gone-tomorrow type of app, this is a new investment app from a long-established financial services publicly listed company called AJ Bell.
AJ Bell already has an investment platform for consumers, but it found that newbie investors were often too scared to make the leap from saving to investing. It launched Dodl to help people start investing with an easy-to-use, pared-down investment app.
Warm and fuzzy
As you can tell by the name, behavioural psychologists have been all over it. It’s got warm and fuzzy monsters everywhere and its strapline is ‘investing needn’t be scary’. There’s no complicated jargon or fancy financial terms, and everything is explained and presented in nice, easy, relatable language.
I tested the app with my daughter. Setting up an account was a dodl and she was soon hooked on exploring the step-by-step guides on topics like how to buy and sell investments in the Learn section. The language and explanations are what we call Goldilocks in style – not too easy, not too hard, but just right to give people the confidence to dip their toes in the water.
Getting started is as simple as downloading the app from Google Play or the Apple store, entering some basic personal information like your name, email address, date of birth, telephone number, and national insurance number. Then you’re good to go. You can spend some time learning and building some knowledge or you can dive right in.
Dodl offers four types of account — ISA, Lifetime ISA, Pensions, and a general investment account. If you’re new to investing, these terms can seem daunting, but Dodl explains how the different accounts work in a simple guide, so you can decide which is right for you.
There are literally thousands of investment funds in the market so picking investments can seem like a mammoth, scary task. But AJ Bell has thought of this too. Its experts have narrowed down the choice to just 30 funds. Seven from its in-house investment team, AJ Bell ready-made funds, which you can choose depending on the level of risk you’re comfortable with, and 23 themed funds on big trends like technology, infrastructure, healthcare, robotics and property.
The themed funds are index-trackers run by other investment companies like Fidelity, Vanguard and Legal & General. Trackers are cheaper as they replicate and track stock-market indices rather than making active investment decisions. My daughter is into tech and robotics so those were the themes she plumped for.
Best of British
Last but not least, Dodl has put together a curated list of 50 shares or companies that are listed on the UK stock market, allowing you to invest in well-known British companies and brands such as BT, Royal Mail, M&S, GSK, Rolls Royce and so on. Most will be household names known to you and that should give you enough confidence to invest, if holding individual company shares is what interests you.
Cheap as chips
One factor that novice investors sometimes don’t consider is that it costs to invest – you pay for the app or platform, and you also pay for the actual investments too. The best way to maximise your returns is by diversifying your investments, investing in index-trackers and keeping your costs as low as possible. The Dodl app is cheap as chips and costs just 0.15% or £15 per year for a £10,000 ISA, on a par with the likes of Vanguard and other low-cost providers.
It’s worth knowing that Dodl charges a minimum fee of £1 a month, so if charges matter to you more than service or the user experience, and you have less than £8,000, then this won’t necessarily be the cheapest.
Similarly, at the other end of the scale, if you’ve got more than £250k invested, you’re probably better off on other platforms. But I’m betting that by the time you get a portfolio of that size, you’ll probably want to broaden your investment horizons and go for something with a few more investment options anyway.
Learning on the job
The learn section is good with great explanations, simple guides and useful financial tips like how to create financial goals and how to get into the investing habit. You can also ask questions on the app live chat feature if you’re unsure about anything too.
For savers considering making a first foray into the investment world, this is a great little app to start with. If you think you’re ready, go for it!
Find Dodl on our calculator here.
Image from AJ Bell