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M1 Finance Review 2022

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Investing your money can often be needlessly complicated and expensive. Just the thought of the steep learning curve and the added expense is often enough to turn potential investors away—two barriers that the M1 Finance app aims to break down with their automated investing service.

Available for iOS and Android devices, M1 Finance is an investment tool designed to make it easier (and cheaper) to invest your money. Users can start with a free account and pick from over 80 pre-packaged investment portfolios (dubbed “pies”) that easily let you see exactly what you are investing in. Pies are made up of stocks and ETFs. You can select which pies to invest in, and what percentage of your cash to allocate to each. From there, you can set up automatic deposits into your pies and establish goals for your investments using various criteria. For example, you can choose to invest for short or long-terms gains, and M1 Finance’s robo-advisor will automatically allocate your funds and investments to help you optimally reach your goals.

An M1 Finance Review for 2022

M1 Finance is a great option for beginners who want to get into investing. The pies are clear and easy to understand, while still offering customization based on your investment plans, budget, and risk level. You can buy and sell fractions of shares and all trades are free, unlike many services which charge for every transaction.

M1 Finance also offers a number of options for more experienced investors via the M1 Plus subscription service. For $125 USD a year (free for your first year) users can earn 1% on cash balances, borrow funds at a rate of 2% (vs. 3.5% for regular M1 users), earn cash back via a M1 Visa card, and more.

Top Benefits of M1 Finance

Automation

The top benefit of M1 Finance is the automation process. Unlike many other investment services, M1 has a “set it and forget it” approach. After you select your investment pies and determine a budget and investment goal, M1’s robo-advisor will begin tweaking and rebalancing your investments for you. Since M1 allows for fractional share sales, even a small investment can easily be moved around to take advantage of financial trends, growing your money for you without any extra work on your part.

Customization

While we just listed automation as one of the top benefits of using M1 Finance, the service also allows users to customize their investment portfolios. You can easily select the companies you want to invest in, and with the ability to buy and sell fractional shares, you won’t need to spend a fortune to invest in companies that might have been out of reach otherwise.

M1 Finance Pros & Cons

Pros: The Good Stuff

  • Ease of Use: M1 Finance makes it easy to begin investing without a steep learning curve. It offers over 80 curated portfolios that you can instantly begin investing with, while also allowing you to customize your investments if you so choose. In either case, M1 Financing streamlines the process and lets you begin investing in no time.
  • No trading fees: Unlike many competitors, there are no trading fees with M1 Finance.
  • Fractional trading: The ability to buy fractions of a share is a welcome addition for those looking to invest in their favorite companies with less financial burden.
  • Investment protection: In the event of a broker failure, the SIPC covers a total of $500,000 (inclusive of $250,000 cash)
  • Bonus on transferring to M1 Finance : M1 Finance is currently offering bonuses starting from $250 up to $2,500 in bonuses depending on how much you transfer to M1 Finance from your other brokerages or IRA.

Cons: The Not So Good Stuff

  • Limited investment types: M1 Finance lets you buy and sell stocks and ETFs; if you are looking to invest in increasingly popular crypto currencies, you will need to look elsewhere.
  • No access to human advisors: Unlike other online brokerages, M1 Finance does not give access to human advisors or provide any kind of investment advice.
  • Automated Rebalancing only for new funds: While M1 Finance rebalances funds that are flowing into the account, it does not do the same for funds in already existing investments. You have to manually check the performance of existing investments and ask M1 Finance to reallocate your assets.
  • Charges for dormant accounts: If your account is unused for 90 days and you have less than $20 in your account, then you are charged a fee.
  • No help in setting financial goals: You must set the goals yourself, and M1 Finance does not offer any advice in that regard.

How does M1 Finance work?

M1 Finance is a money-management app that combines traditional brokerage with a robo-advisor component, providing automated investments based on each user’s set needs while offering the ability to customize your portfolio.

Using a proprietary trading algorithm, the M1 robo-advisor will automatically trade on your behalf based on the criteria you set forth when you first start using the app (your investment goals, risk level, etc.)

You can also buy and sell on your own if you prefer the more DIY approach, or opt for a mix of the two investment styles to see which one performs best for you.

M1 Finance Features

M1 Finance offers a number of features in addition to its automated and DIY investment tools.

M1 Spend

You can combine your checking account with your investments with the M1 Finance Visa debit card. You’ll be reimbursed for one ATM fee a month (up to 4 with M1 Plus), and be eligible to access your paycheck deposits up to 2 days early. If you upgrade your free account to M1 Plus, you can also earn 1% cash back on purchases and even send cheques.

M1 Borrow

M1 lets you borrow funds against your investments with low interest rates. You can borrow up to 35% of your investment portfolio with rates ranging from 3.5% on the basic plan down to 2% on M1 Plus (M1’s interest rates are variable, based on the Federal Funds Rate). M1 borrow is only available to accounts with a minimum balance of $5,000.

M1 Finance Fees

While there are no charges for buying and selling via M1 Finance, there are some supplementary rates to keep in mind which vary between the basic program and M1 Plus.

Setting up your M1 Finance account

Setting up your M1 Finance account is a relatively straight-forward process.

The first step is to create your account via the company’s sign-up page. Once you enter your email address and choose a password, you will be sent a link to confirm your email address. Click the verification link in the M1 email you receive; you will then be given the choice to set-up a standard M1 account or to upgrade to M1 Plus, with a free offer for one year.

To continue with the verification process, you will be asked to provide a phone number; enter your number and you will receive a text message with a confirmation code (or you can elect to receive an automated phone call with the confirmation code).

Once you enter the verification code, you will be asked to enter your personal information to start building your account, including your name, mailing address, and social security number. You will also be asked to provide financial information including your salary, your level of investment experience, and your risk level. You will then be asked if you are affiliated or work with a broker, serve as a Public Official, or own 10% or more of a publicly traded company (by law M1 Finance needs to ask these questions, but they shouldn’t apply to most investors).

You will then be presented with the option of funding your account. You will be asked to sign into your online banking which will then link your bank with your new M1 account. The minimum you can transfer as part of a one-time payment is $100.

Once you have your payment info set-up, you can begin selecting your pies! In M1 speak, a “pie” is a collection of stocks and ETFs. You can choose from dozens of curated pies, or build your own. You will also be asked to weigh the importance of each piece of the pie, which will help the algorithm decide what percentage of your total investment you want in each individual stock or ETF.

Once you have your pie/pies set-up, you can click on the Investing tab then select Portfolio to clearly see all of your investments in one hand space and make any changes as you see fit.

Is M1 Finance safe?

Yes, M1 Finance is a safe and trustworthy investment and money managing app. The Better Business Bureau has rated M1 Finance an overall score of A- (on a scale of A+ to F). M1 Finance has been in business for 6 years, which has given it time to grow into one of the most popular investment apps on the market. M1 Finance currently has over 500,00 users, with 4.5 billion in assets. That said, investments always carry risk; while M1 has a very good business reputation, it doesn’t guarantee that you won’t lose money on your investments.

M1 Plus

M1 Plus is a subscription-based upgrade to the standard M1 plan and unlocks a number of additional features. Available for an annual fee of $125 (with the first year free), M1 Plus allows you to trade in both morning and evening windows (as opposed to just the morning window on the basic M1 plan), allows you to borrow at a low-rate of just 2% (instead of 3.5% on the entry plan), and allows you to earn 1% cash back on purchases via the M1 Visa debit card. M1 Plus users can also set up an M1 “Owner’s Reward Card” credit card with no annual fees that delivers anywhere from 1.5-10% cash back (for a maximum of $200 a month).

The Bottomline

The M1 Finance app is a great tool for beginners and intermediate investors looking for an easy-to-use service that automates your transactions while still allowing you customize your investment plan. M1 Finance provides a robo-advisor to move around your investments according to your pre-determined criteria, and also has the flexibility for you to manage your own investments with a more DIY approach.

M1 Finance also offers a number of additional money management tools including the ability to borrow money directly via the service, tie in your banking account, and even set up an M1 credit card.

Users who sign up for the paid M1 Plus subscription service can unlock additional features including lower borrowing rates, cash-back on purchases, and much more.

Overall, M1 Finance is a well-rounded money management service that removes the steep learning curve and excess charges that deter many from starting down a path towards investing in their future.

Frequently Asked Questions

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