I am an amateur trader for pure hobby because of Robinhood.
Many years ago, I tried to create an etrade account and it was an insanely long process (it may have changed now). I don't even remember what I did after I got an invite from a friend, but I was up and running right away.
I started trading $300 just to see what it was like. The first three months, I learned a bit and lost some money. Fast forward 1 year to now, and I have around 54k in there and am up 16.05% - and that includes the crazyness of December. I have invited some friends and they all trade between $300 to 10k AFAIK. I am in no way rich, but I compare the performance of my retirement portfolio to what I do with a few ETFs, and honestly it has demystified the whole process. Before, I used to login to Clash of Clans when I had a few minutes to spare, now I spend that time browsing Robinhood. To me Robinhood was a game changer for this and many other reasons.
I say this because I honestly don't see how anyone who is serious about financial planning can use Robinhood for anything besides "play market". Case in point: the graphs in Robinhood show no y-axis values. This is insane if you actually care to see how your portfolio has been doing. Yet this is obviously intentional by Robinhood, so it must be designed to obfuscate what is really going on.
When things really start to go south (which they inevitably always do) there is going to be a run on the bank at Robinhood.
and where would you be if you'd just stuffed all your original cash into VTI and not fiddled with things?
You mean when the market dipped and completely recovered in two months? Hardly crazy.
Unlike the stereotypical Robinhood user, I buy and hold a 1-fund portfolio, and I think it works pretty well for that.