Aspiration didn't set out to build a bank, they set out to build a better world. That could mean more money in your pocket–and more power to do good in your hands. Aspiration is a new kind of financial partner that puts customers and their conscience first. Aspiration is 100% committed to clean money.
The four biggest banks in America lend more than $240 billion of their customers’ money to fossil fuel projects, every year. That’s a lot of dirty money. Every $1,000 you transfer to Aspiration has the planet-saving climate impact of 6,000 fewer miles driven by the average car. Aspiration offers socially conscious and sustainable cash management services and investment products, so you can make money while making the world a better place. And, unlike the big banks, they don’t use your deposits to fund oil pipelines or turn your fees into campaign contributions to the politicians that work against you.
How you make money
The Aspiration Redwood Fund is a mutual fund whose goal is to help you build value in your portfolio and honor your values – all at the same time. It is built on the belief that you don't have to sacrifice investment results to invest in companies that combine strong fundamentals with sustainable environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices. While there's never any guarantee when you invest in a mutual fund or invest in the stock market generally, this fund aims to select investments that will pay off down the line and may even beat the S&P 500.
The Aspiration Redwood Fund is available exclusively to Aspiration customers and is managed day-to-day by UBS Asset Management (Americas) Inc., one of the largest asset managers in the world. It mirrors a strategy previously only available to UBS’ private wealth clients and parallels the approach of the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board.
You earn cash back rewards automatically by using your Aspiration debit card for purchases at merchants with a high Aspiration Impact Measurement (AIM) score. This AIM feature shows you your own sustainable impact score and the scores of the places you shop at every day. When you make purchases at businesses with the highest AIM scores, you'll earn 0.5% cash back on those purchases. You can also earn up to 10% cash back on purchases by using your Aspiration debit card at businesses that are members of the Conscience Coalition. Aspiration Save Accounts can earn up to 1.00% annual percentage yield (APY) in interest on the first $10,000.00 in their balance.
How Aspiration makes money
At Aspiration, you decide how much to pay. They’re confident enough in their products and in their customers to trust you to make this decision. They call this optional fee “Pay What Is Fair.” Most financial firms impose a flat management or service fee on their customers. That means you pay them a set amount no matter how well the investment does, how hard they’re working, or how much you like what the bank or the company stands for. Not only does Aspiration think this is wrong, they also feel it’s disrespectful to customers. “Pay What Is Fair” gives a daily incentive to work hard for you and live up to their mission; something that no other firm has done before.
For the Spend & Save Account, you choose how much you’ll pay. This ranges from $0 to $20 on a monthly basis. While they hope you choose to pay them, the amount you pay is up to you. For investment accounts, the option is 0-2% annually, and they provide you with the average fee for that kind of investment product (based on data from sources such as Morningstar) within their online application. They also tell you the range of fees that exist elsewhere, so you can make an educated decision on what you think is right to pay. Aspiration also commits to donating 10% of Pay What is Fair profits to charity.
Aspiration also likely makes money from utilizing the cash held in your Spend and Save accounts. Your spend account comes with a debit card in which Aspiration earns from debit card transactions.
Is it safe?
An investment in this fund is subject to investment risks, including the possible loss of some or the entire principal amount invested. There can be no assurance that the fund will be successful in meeting its investment objective. Investment in the fund is also subject to the following risks: market risk, management risk, derivatives risk, futures risk, leverage risk associated with financial instruments, focused investment risk, foreign investing risk, limited capitalization risk, temporary defensive positions, and new fund risk. More information about these risks can be found in the fund's prospectus and summary prospectus.
The Aspiration Spend Account and the Aspiration Save Account are part of a cash management account offering of Aspiration Financial, LLC (“Aspiration”), an SEC-registered broker dealer. An Aspiration Save Account may be opened by itself without opening an Aspiration Spend Account. Through the Aspiration Insured Bank Deposit Program, each business day Aspiration deposits the cash balances in the Aspiration Spend and Save Accounts into deposit accounts at one or more federally insured depository institutions (each a “Bank”) up to $246,500 per Bank. Your deposits at each Bank are eligible for insurance by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to $250,000, subject to FDIC rules on the aggregation of deposits held in the same insurable capacity.