This post is dedicated to the best free investing app out there - M1 Finance. I will provide a super comprehensive review on the platform and help you decide whether or not this app is for you.
It is the most frequently asked review on this blog and on our investment channel.
The Best One Out There
Right off the bat, M1 Finance is supercharged with a lot of features. It is better than any other similar apps out there. (ahem, Robinhood).
M1 Finance lets you invest in partial shares of individual stocks and ETFs. Let’s be honest, not everyone has money to buy the full stock of Amazon and Google. You need to have a ton of money to buy the whole stock.
And, if you are just starting with your investment journey I can understand how hard can it be to accumulate so much money just to invest in one stock. And, even if you do what about the other stocks- how will you be able to diversify your portfolio?!
The answer - M1 Finance.
Free! Free! Free!
M1 Finance is a completely Free to use platform. They charge no commission to invest or to trade. This is wonderful because a lot of platforms and investment advisors charge a hefty fee which in long term eats into your profits and you don’t even realize it.
They just require a minimum deposit of $100 to start investing - to open an account.
Well, if you don’t have even a $100 I would recommend starting a savings goal right now. If you need help, I have gone in details on how to create wealth and save yourself to be a Millionaire. I highly recommend you to read.
It is not for someone who is into short-term or day trading. And, for the same reason, they do not have any penny stocks for trading.
M1 Finance encourages long term investment.
You can pick individual stocks and ETFs that you are interested in. M1 Finance also does not support Mutual Funds at this moment.
Now, let’s dive deeper into how it works.
There are different options you can select from while opening account on M1 Finance. You can choose them based on your financial goal.
This is a regular account. If you are not sure what you want to open, go for this one. You can take out funds whenever you want. Just don’t forget to file taxes on your trades.
Very similar to the individual account - you can open a joint account with someone you trust.
This is just as it sounds. If your financial goal is to save for the retirement - open a Retirement Account. The minimum deposit you need is $500 for such an account.
Rollover Your Previous 401K
If you had a 401K with your previous employer you can roll it over to M1 Finance. This is especially recommended if your previous provider is charging you hefty fees.
M1 Finance has a unique way of setting up your portfolios. When you open your M1 Finance account the first thing you will notice is the pie investing.
If you notice, they look an exactly like a pie chart. The pies become the basis of your investment and show the distribution of your assets into various funds you chose.
You can create custom pies and have full control over them. Meaning you can diversify them as you want.
A portfolio is made up of one or more pies. And each pie can include individual funds or another level of pie altogether.
Reading The Pie
As mentioned above - your portfolio looks a lot like a pie chart. Such a pie chart shows the holding percentage of all your funds.
So, for example, you can dedicate 20% of the pie to Amazon stock, and 15% of the pie to the Tesla stock. And so on.
You can click each part of the pie which will highlight the fund on the list. You can then view the actual amount invested and the profits earned by that fund.
To view more details of the fund - you can click the fund on your list. It will show you the fraction amount of shares bought, the total amount invested in that share, how is share performing in the market, more news about the share to keep you updated on that, total dividends earned on that share, and much more.
You can adjust your portfolio anytime and any number of times you want. It is completely free to do so!
When you add funds to M1 Finance, it automates it based on your percentages. Basically, you have to assign a percentage of your pie to all the funds that you want to add. Then M1 Finance re-balances your portfolio to balance your deposit as per their percentage value.
Additionally, if some stock is already overweight it will balance it out and add more stocks which is a little underweight in your portfolio.
While selling, it does the reverse. It sells from the stock which are overweight first rather than the underweight stocks.
This is all automated and you don’t have to worry about it.
One of the best unique selling points of M1 Finance is expert pies. If you are not much of an active investor or if you are just starting and have limited knowledge - this is your best friend.
We will write more details on it in a future blog. But, essentially, it offers you well-researched pies with a potential of maximum returns. The pies contain well-diversified funds and a wide range of choice you can choose from based on your financial goal.
But, we recommend you get your feet wet and discover the great funds you want to invest in for yourself. M1 Finance offers a great discovery tool you can use to search stocks and ETFs to invest in.
You can study the stock, check out their performance. Look at their market performance on 1-day, 1-year, 3-years, 5-years chart.
They also offer a brief profile of any particular company you want. So, you can check out the latest news about the company and see if the company is worth investing in for the long term.
You can filter by any sector you love. May it be technology, real estate, or any other. Or search by company names like Facebook, Google, Tesla, and so on.
You can get the latest updates on the companies and you can also compare your index with Dow Jones and S&P to see how your portfolio is doing compared to the market.
Pros and Cons
It all sounds so perfect. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons to help you decide if you want to jump on the boat or not.
- The platform is 100% FREE.
- It has complete flexibility to choose what to invest in and how much to do it.
- This is not available in Betterment. Which is always compared with M1 Finance.
- You can buy fractional shares.
- Lower barrier of entry is always great for new investors.
- Now you can buy all your favorite stocks - Amazon, Berkshire, and so on.
- Auto re-balancing
- Auto buy low and Auto sell high
- You can open retirement accounts
- Rollover your previous 401K too for no-fee investments.
- Does not offer tax loss harvesting.
- But, if you are not aware of what it is - chances are this is a moot point to care about.
- Also, M1 Finance does offer tax minimization.
- It is not the best for day-trading.
- It does not support Mutual Funds.
Okay so now that you have looked at the pros and cons - let’s see if this is for you or not.
Who Is It For?
- Beginners who likes to research.
- Who wants to dollar cost average their investment.
- Who does not have enough cash to buy full shares of some expensive companies.
- Who likes to research and take full control of their investments.
Who Is It Not For?
- It is not recommended for wannabe-investors who are not willing to learn about investing.
- It is not for day traders either.
- It is not for penny stock traders.
- It is not for the fans of Mutual Funds.
The bottom line is that M1 Finance offers a good balance between completely automated investment platforms and personally controlled portfolios. If you are willing to learn the basics of investing and keep tracks of the companies you want to invest in - this is the best platform out there for you.
But, all in all - M1 Finance is definitely worth a try.
Wanna sign up for M1 Finance?