M1 Finance: Complete Guide to Intelligent Investing

M1 Finance: Your Comprehensive Guide to Investing with an Intelligent Platform

Brief Overview of M1 Finance Online Platform


M1 Finance is a robo-advisor investment platform that offers investors an alternative to traditional brokers. The platform was founded in 2015 by Brian Barnes and has since gained popularity due to its unique features and low fees.


One of the standout features of M1 Finance is its customizable portfolio feature, which allows investors to create their portfolios or choose from expertly curated “pies” based on their investment goals and risk tolerance. The platform also offers automatic rebalancing, ensuring the portfolio stays aligned with the investor’s goals.


In addition to these features, M1 Finance offers a range of investment products, including stocks, ETFs, and bonds. This gives investors plenty of options to diversify their portfolios and make informed investment decisions.

Softwareista Key Takeaways


  1. Pie Investing Concept: M1 Finance introduces a unique ‘Pie’ concept where investors can create their customized investment pie based on their preferred stocks and ETFs. This feature allows for automatic rebalancing and allocation of funds.


  1. Intelligent Automation: M1 Finance provides robust automation capabilities that allow users to set their investment preferences and let the platform handle investing, rebalancing, and money allocation.


  1. Commission-Free Trading: M1 Finance offers commission-free trades, making it an affordable choice for investors, especially those who trade frequently.


  1. Flexibility of Investments: With M1 Finance, users can invest in fractional shares, allowing them to diversify their portfolios without needing large amounts of capital.


  1. Integrated Borrowing and Spending: M1 Finance offers integrated features such as M1 Borrow and M1 Spend, allowing users to borrow against their portfolio and earn interest on checking balances.


  1. User-friendly Interface: M1 Finance’s platform is intuitive and user-friendly, making it suitable for both new and seasoned investors.


  1. Quality Customer Support: M1 Finance provides reliable customer support via email and phone to assist with any issues or queries.



Struggling to choose an online broker? The Softwareista Team has compared the top 20 online brokers just for you: Full Comparison in 2023.

Importance of Online Investment Platforms in Today’s World

The world we live in today is increasingly digital, with more people opting for online solutions for everything from shopping to banking. The same trend can be seen in investing, with online investment platforms becoming more popular than traditional brokers.


Online investment platforms offer a host of benefits over traditional brokers. For one thing, they tend to have lower fees than brick-and-mortar institutions.


They also offer more flexibility regarding investment options and account management. Another advantage of online investment platforms is that they are more accessible than traditional brokers.


With many people needing help to meet face-to-face with a broker, online platforms provide an easy way for investors to manage their portfolios from anywhere at any time. Overall, the rise of online investment platforms has democratized investing by making it accessible and affordable for everyone, regardless of experience or income level.

Getting Started with M1 Finance

Account Creation Process and Requirements


M1 Finance has a simple account creation process, which can be done entirely online. The platform offers individual, joint, and retirement accounts for investors. To create an account on M1 Finance, you will need to provide your personal information, such as name, date of birth, social security number (or tax identification number), and contact details.

Once you have registered and verified your email address, you will be asked to complete a short questionnaire about your investment goals and risk tolerance. This information is used to recommend investment products that match your investment objectives.

Funding Options and Minimum Deposit Amount


M1 Finance offers several funding options, including bank, wire, and ACH transfers. No minimum deposit is required to open an account with M1 Finance, but a minimum balance of $100 is needed to start investing in portfolios the platform manages.


Users can fund their accounts manually or set up automatic deposits weekly or monthly. This automated feature makes it easier for investors who want to invest regularly without any hassle.

User Interface and Navigation


M1 Finance’s user interface is intuitive and easy to use, even for beginners. The platform’s dashboard displays all the necessary information, such as account balance, investment performance, allocation percentages, etc., in a well-organized manner. Navigating the platform’s different sections, such as creating portfolios or buying stocks, is also straightforward.


Investors can access various features from the top menu bar, including Invest, Spend, Borrow, Transfer, etc., allowing them to customize their experience based on their needs. The customizable dashboard allows users to see all their investments in one place, eliminating the need to login into multiple accounts resulting in ease of use for both new and experienced investors.


Overall getting started with M1 Finance, including creating an account, funding options, and using its user interface, is a hassle-free experience for all levels of investors. The informative dashboard and well-designed menu system give users greater control over their investment journey.

Investment Options on M1 Finance

Types of Investment Accounts Available


M1 Finance offers multiple types of investment accounts, including individual, joint, and retirement accounts. Individual accounts are designed for consumers who want to invest using their funds and manage their portfolios.


Joint accounts are typically used by couples or business partners who want to pool their resources together in one account. Retirement accounts, such as traditional and Roth IRAs, allow individuals to save for retirement while enjoying tax benefits.

Investment Products Offered


M1 Finance provides access to various investment products, including stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and bonds. The platform offers over 6,000 stocks and ETFs from leading companies such as Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corporation, Vanguard Group Inc., and more. Bonds offered on the platform include U.S Treasury bonds and corporate bonds from companies such as Coca-Cola Co., Walt Disney Co., and Ford Motor Company, among others.

Customizable Portfolios


One of the standout features of M1 Finance is its customizable portfolio options. Users can create their own portfolios with specific stocks or ETFs they choose using the “Build Your Own Portfolio” feature.


Alternatively, users can select from expertly-crafted “expert pies,” which offer a pre-constructed portfolio built by financial experts based on certain criteria such as risk tolerance or industry focus. Users have full control over the weights assigned to each security in their portfolio, meaning that they can choose exactly how much they want to allocate towards each security in their portfolio – without requiring fractional shares – making it easy for investors of all levels to build diversified portfolios tailored specifically to them.

Expert Pies


On top of user-created portfolios, M1 Finance also offers expert pies which are pre-built portfolios created by experts that are designed to meet certain investment objectives. These expert pies are built upon decades of research and investment strategies so that users can feel confident in the performance of each portfolio. Expert pies range from “General Investing” to “Responsible Investing,” which includes ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) focused investments.


Some other examples include “Dividend Paying Stocks”, “Hedge Fund Followers”, and many more! There is a strategy for every investor’s goals, from long-term growth to short-term income.


Overall, M1 Finance offers various investment products and account types suitable for all investors. With its customizable portfolio feature and expertly crafted offerings, M1 Finance is an ideal platform for beginners and experienced investors.

Fees and Charges on M1 Finance


When it comes to investing, it is important to understand the fees associated with any platform or service. M1 Finance offers a unique fee structure that is transparent and competitive compared to other popular investment platforms.

Overview of Fees Charged by M1 Finance for Various Services


M1 Finance does not charge account opening, closing, or annual maintenance fees. However, some fees are associated with the platform’s specific services or features.


One notable fee is the transaction fee for selling shares of custom pies or individual stocks before they are held in your account for at least 30 days. The fee is $10 per sale, which can increase if you frequently make short-term trades.


M1 Finance also charges a margin interest rate ranging from 2.00% to 3.50%, depending on the size of your margin balance. This rate is competitive compared to other online brokerage firms but should be considered if you use margin frequently.

Comparison with Other Popular Investment Platforms


Compared to other popular investment platforms such as Robinhood and E-Trade, M1 Finance’s fees are generally lower and easier to understand. For example, Robinhood charges no commissions for trades but makes money through order flow payments from market makers. E-Trade charges a variety of different fees, such as trading commissions ($6.95 per trade), account transfer fees ($75), and account inactivity fees ($0-$6.95 per month).


In comparison, M1 Finance’s transaction fee for selling shares before they have been held for 30 days may seem high at first glance but can easily be avoided by holding onto your investments for longer. Additionally, the lack of annual maintenance fees and hidden charges make M1 Finance an attractive platform for cost-conscious investors.


While M1 Finance’s fee structure may not be the absolute lowest in the industry, it is transparent and competitive compared to other popular investment platforms. The lack of annual maintenance fees and the ability to create custom portfolios without additional fees make it a great choice for investors looking to save money on their investments.

Security Measures on M1 Finance


Regarding online investment platforms, security is a major concern for users. M1 Finance understands this concern and has implemented measures to protect its users’ data and funds. In this section, we will explore the security measures employed by M1 Finance.

Encryption technology used to protect user data


M1 Finance uses industry-standard encryption technology to protect user data. All user data is encrypted both in transit and at rest using AES 256-bit encryption, which is the same level of encryption used by banks and other financial institutions. This ensures that even if someone were to intercept the data, they would not be able to read it.


In addition to encryption, M1 Finance employs multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all logins. This means that even if someone were to obtain a user’s login credentials, they would still need access to the second factor (usually a mobile device) to gain access.

FDIC insurance coverage for cash balances


Another security measure employed by M1 Finance is FDIC insurance coverage for cash balances. When users deposit money into their account with M1 Finance, it is held in an FDIC-insured bank account. This means that if the bank fails, the FDIC would insure up to $250,000 per depositor.


It’s important to note that FDIC insurance only covers cash balances, not investments in an account. However, since M1 Finance does not hold custody of assets or lend out customers’ securities or money like traditional banks do – each customer’s assets are protected by SIPC insurance against losses should something happen with Apex Clearing Corporation – its clearing firm.

Maintaining security awareness


While M1 Finance has taken significant steps towards securing its platform and protecting user data, users need to remain vigilant and aware of potential risks. M1 Finance recommends that users regularly monitor their account activity, use strong passwords, and use the multi-factor authentication feature.


In addition, M1 Finance has provided various educational resources on its website to help users identify and prevent potential security threats. These resources include articles on phishing scams, identity theft, and other types of fraud that are common online.

Customer Support on M1 Finance


M1 Finance offers multiple channels for customer support, including email, phone, and chat. These options provide a convenient way for users to get assistance with any issues or questions they may have. The platform also has an extensive knowledge base that contains articles on various topics related to investing and using the platform.

Availability of Customer Support Channels


Users can contact M1 Finance customer support through email or phone during regular business hours (9:00 am – 5:00 pm ET). Additionally, the platform offers a live chat feature that is accessible from the website or mobile application. The chat option is available 24/7, allowing users to receive answers to their queries anytime.

Response Time


M1 Finance boasts quick response times when it comes to customer support inquiries. According to their website, most emails are answered within one business day, while phone calls are answered within five minutes on average. Live chat responses are almost immediate, with users typically receiving an answer in under a minute.

Quality of Service


The quality of service provided by M1 Finance’s customer support team is generally regarded as excellent. Many customers have praised the helpfulness and professionalism of the representatives they interacted with.


In addition to answering questions about account management and investment options, representatives can guide users through technical issues related to using the platform. Overall, M1 Finance’s customer support is reliable and efficient.


With multiple channels available and quick response times, users can rest assured that they will receive timely and helpful assistance whenever needed. Whether you prefer email or live chat communication with customer service representatives or calling them up directly with your questions will determine which channel you use most frequently when seeking help from their team.

Pros and Cons of Using the M1 Finance Online Platform

Advantages such as low fees, customizable portfolios, automatic rebalancing


One of the most significant advantages of using M1 Finance is its low fee structure. Investors can save considerable fees with no account maintenance or trading fees and commission-free trades.


Additionally, investors can customize their portfolios by selecting individual stocks or ETFs and allocating percentages to each holding based on their investment goals. The platform also offers a range of pre-built expert pies that use a mix of stocks, ETFs, and bonds to achieve specific investment objectives.


Another benefit of using M1 Finance is the platform’s automatic rebalancing feature. This feature automatically adjusts an investor’s portfolio to their desired asset allocation.


This means that if one stock performs better than others in the portfolio and throws off the asset allocation, M1 Finance will automatically sell or buy assets in the portfolio to bring it back into balance. M1 Finance also offers fractional shares investing, which allows investors to purchase fractions of shares instead of full shares.


This feature allows investors to allocate smaller amounts across diverse investments while lowering transaction costs. Investors looking for an all-in-one solution for investing might find M1 Finance appealing as it combines both robo-advisory services with self-directed investing.

Disadvantages such as limited investment options


One major drawback in using M1 finance is its limited investment options compared to other online platforms like Robinhood and TD Ameritrade. While they offer stocks from more than 4,000 companies and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), they do not offer mutual funds or fixed-income securities like bonds. Another potential disadvantage is that users need basic knowledge about creating a diversified portfolio with all asset classes generally offered by traditional financial institutions like banks before using this platform for self-directed investing.


While the platform offers pre-built expert pies that can be used as an investment base, these portfolios may not fit certain investors’ specific investment objectives and strategies. M1 Finance could be better for day traders or active investors who must execute trades rapidly.


The platform aggregates orders for trades that are placed at set times throughout each trading day. As a result, it may take longer to fill orders than other platforms that execute trades instantly.

Softwareista Final Word


M1 Finance online platform is a great investment platform that allows investors to create custom portfolios and invest in various stocks, ETFs, and bonds. It offers transparency, control over investments, and low fees compared to other investment platforms. The company also provides excellent customer support, encryption technology to protect user data, and FDIC insurance coverage for cash balances.


M1 Finance is a highly recommended online investment platform for beginners and advanced investors. Its user-friendly interface makes it easy to navigate and manage investments, while its customization feature allows users to tailor their portfolios according to their investment goals.


The expert pies feature is also an excellent tool for those looking for professional portfolio management without the high fees associated with traditional financial advisors. One of its drawbacks is that it only offers US-based securities, which may limit its appeal to international investors seeking diversification outside the United States market.


Additionally, while M1 Finance’s low fees are a major advantage, other investment platforms offer lower or no fees on certain transactions. Nevertheless, the M1 Finance online platform remains an excellent choice for those seeking control over their investments without sacrificing management expertise or paying high advisory fees.


Its customizable portfolios and expert pies provide a unique value proposition that sets it apart from other investment platforms in the market today. With its innovative approach to investing, transparent fee structure, and excellent customer service, the M1 Finance online platform is worth considering as part of your overall investment strategy.

Softwareista FAQ Section

  1. What is unique about M1 Finance’s investment strategy?


M1 Finance introduces the ‘Pie’ investment concept, where users can create a customized pie of preferred stocks and ETFs. The platform automatically handles the rebalancing and allocation of funds.


  1. Does M1 Finance charge commission fees?


No, M1 Finance offers commission-free trading, making it a cost-effective choice for investors.


  1. Can I invest in fractional shares with M1 Finance?


Yes, with M1 Finance, you can invest in fractional shares, allowing you to diversify your portfolio even with smaller amounts of capital.


  1.  Does M1 Finance offer any borrowing or spending features?


Yes, M1 Finance offers integrated features like M1 Borrow, which allows you to borrow against your portfolio, and M1 Spend, which lets you earn interest on checking balances.


  1. Is M1 Finance user-friendly?


Yes, M1 Finance’s platform is intuitive and user-friendly, making it suitable for beginners and experienced investors.


  1. What kind of customer support does M1 Finance offer?


M1 Finance provides reliable customer support via email and phone to assist with technical or account-related issues.



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