Your choice of investment platform will significantly impact your financial success.
You’re probably here because you’re curious about a company called M1 Finance, which claims to be able to build an investment portfolio for free.
Which one is free?
Is there a catch?
How does M1 Finance stack up against other free brokerage services?
This review will go over M1 Finance to see if it really is the best investment tool out there.
You’ll learn whether stock investing is the right online business for you.
And at the end, you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding M1 Finance and stock investing in general.
If you’re like most of my readers, you came across M1 Finance for one main reason:
You want to make more money than you currently make by leveraging your existing resources.
Maybe you’re even looking for a quick turnaround on some of your cash instead of waiting years or even decades for it to double.
Well, you’re in good company – who wouldn’t want all of that?
There’s one thing you need to watch out for though: legitimate scammers.
The idea of making 10X on your money in a day is obviously something that would entice the masses, and so it naturally attracts a lot of bad actors into the financial products space.
But for purposes of this review, let’s assume these people had the best of intentions.
Even with the most sophisticated systems out there, most experts barely manage to get it right 10% of the time…
Obviously, there’s an argument to be made that 1 winning bet can outshine 10 losing ones…
But if you mess up and miss a trade even once, your month can turn sour pretty quickly.
Suffice to say, there’s a whole lot of stress & uncertainty.
Now don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to lose money. I’m just saying that you need to be aware of what you’re getting yourself into.
But what if you could build a different income stream, and start seeing profits within your first few days?
I’m talking about a system that doesn’t require:
- Obsessively checking your phone and charts
- The emotional turmoil of loss after loss, waiting for that win
- Glorified gambling
Something that you could make anywhere from $2,000 – $10,000 with consistently, month after month?
A stream of income that you can build as high (or low) as you feel like building it, without spending every waking hour watching for alerts and pouring over charts?
If that sounds interesting, you might consider becoming a Digital Landlord.
If you wanna see what M1 Finance looks like on the inside, keep reading.
What Is M1 Finance?
M1 Finance is a financial platform and robo-advisor that combines features from other already-available investing providers.
The company is located in Chicago, Illinois, and was founded in 2015. Its parent organization is M1 Holdings Inc.
The amount of assets managed by M1 has surpassed $3 billion.
The company’s CEO, Brian Barnes, believed it was time for a change and launched M1 because the financial services industry has lacked significant innovation for a long time.
After that, Barnes created a unique, ground-breaking product. If you don’t know how to buy stocks, M1 is a great place to start.
M1 Finance offers automated investing. However, it also allows you to hand-pick your investments, which most other robo-advisors do not.
It is similar to other robo-advisors in that it refers users to a questionnaire that assists in risk assessment.
Other robo-advisors may merely use this questionnaire to establish your stock/bond allocation, while M1 uses it to recommend multiple portfolios.
Those with a lower risk tolerance will hold more bonds, while those with a higher risk tolerance will hold more stocks & exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
However, these are merely recommendations. You can still build your own bespoke portfolio from the bottom up.
M1 Finance is a FINRA member. The SIPC ensures each investment portfolio is up to $500,000 in value.
Furthermore, the FDIC will protect up to $250,000 in cash in M1 Spend. In addition, unlike other popular apps like Robinhood, there is no trading commission.
How Does M1 Finance Work?
M1 Finance offers you the best of both worlds: a traditional online brokerage where you may invest in individual stocks and ETFs with no trading fees, and a free robo-advisor that helps you determine the right asset mix depending on your goals and risk tolerance.
M1 Finance doesn’t charge asset management fees, which sets it apart from other robo-advisors.
Many robo-advisers charge .25 percent in comparison. Financial consultants typically charge roughly 1% annually.
M1 Finance provides brokerage services since you can invest in individual stocks & ETFs (but not crypto). When trading equities or exchange-traded funds, there are no costs.
Aside from selecting which stocks and ETFs to invest in, M1 allows you to design a “Custom Pie” or select from an “Expert Pie.”
M1’s “pie” investment technique is similar to mutual funds in that it helps you diversify your portfolio by allocating portions of it.
You can create unique pies, select professionally curated “expert” pies, or allocate your investments to a combination of both (for example, a pie of pies).
When your cash balance reaches $10 or more, M1 Finance will invest new funds.
M1 Invest: Building Your Portfolio
The primary feature that sets M1 apart from other investing platforms is its investment pies.
Pie investing enables you to build a unique, simple-to-manage portfolio. Additionally, buying fractional shares makes investing profitable and fun.
What Exactly Are Investment Pies?
Investors can create “pies” with each asset representing a single slice by using investment pies. Bonds, stocks, or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) may make up these slices.
Every time you make an investment, M1 will automatically balance each component to fit your goal allocation.
These pies are basically what they say they are: single “slices” of particular stocks, bonds, or affordable ETFs. Additionally, they are adaptable to any level of risk tolerance.
When signing up, you’ll be required to select three stocks, funds, or expert pies.
If you’d like, you can search as well.
M1 Finance’s site contains thousands of different equities, stocks, and ETFs listed on the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq, so you should have no trouble choosing the ones you want to buy.
M1 Finance, however, does not provide mutual funds.
Funding Your Account
You won’t be required to make the first deposit when you go through the setup process. However, you must make a minimum deposit of $100 before you can start investing on the platform.
The first minimum investment for retirement accounts is $500.
It’s also important to remember that if you want to enable automated deposits, there is a $10 minimum for each deposit.
During the setup procedure, you’ll be asked to add your bank account via Plaid. You’ll see a list of popular banks, or you can search for your bank if it isn’t listed.
You can also manually add your bank by entering your routing and account details.
Account Types & Services
M1 Invest allows you to open taxable accounts, joint, custodial accounts, and Roth IRA accounts. You can also put your money into a Traditional IRA, Rollover IRA, or SEP-IRA.
The M1 Invest platform from M1 Finance provides pie templates for various investment categories.
This encompasses all types of investing, such as general, retirement, income portfolios, and hedge fund followers. As a bonus, M1 provides tools for socially responsible investing, allowing you to invest while making a good impact.
M1’s new service, Smart Transfers, was launched in October 2020.
As previously stated, M1 Finance offers the standard taxable and joint account options and Roth, Traditional, and Rollover IRAs.
A minimum deposit of $500 is required to start a retirement account. Each retirement account enables you to select your own investments.
I appreciate how the program incorporates pie portfolios for impact investors. Fortunately, socially responsible investing is not a fad or a trend; it’s here to stay.
Other leading robo-advisors also incorporate socially responsible investing choices into their portfolios.
What are the disadvantages of M1?
I discovered two: there is no provision for tax-loss harvesting, and there’s no possibility to invest in mutual funds. Investors can invest in a wide range of ETFs and purchase fractional shares of stock, so your options aren’t precisely limited.
M1 Borrow, on the other hand, is a low-cost line of credit that enables you to borrow against your M1 Invest balance.
You can borrow up to 35% of your portfolio account value at a base interest rate of 3.5 percent if your total account balance is at least $5,000.
This line of credit can be used as an emergency fund, for a significant purchase, or to consolidate higher-interest obligations. Members of M1 Plus can borrow at a base rate of 2.0 percent.
Borrow can also be viewed as a Margin Account, implying that you can use and reinvest the money you borrow.
Please consider that there are certain additional risks associated with margin accounts, but the idea is that by investing it, you can make more than the borrowing rate (2% – 3.5%).
M1 Finance released its M1 Spend account in mid-2019, a free checking account directly interacting with your other M1 services.
This checking account requires no minimum balance, has no monthly or annual fees, and is FDIC-insured for up to $250,000.
If you like to keep track of your personal finances in one location, M1 Spend is an excellent alternative.
You’ll be able to transfer money between M1 Spend, Invest, and Borrow accounts. M1 will also send you a Visa debit card for stores and ATMs.
And M1 Plus offers cash backs on debit card purchases and ATM fee reimbursement as added perks for this account.
M1 Plus is the premium membership program offered by M1 Finance. You get various benefits for the $125 annual fee:
- Your M1 Spend checking account balance will earn 1% APY
- 1% reward on all purchases made with your M1 Spend card
- The metal tungsten Debit card of M1 Spend
- More trading options in your M1 Invest account
- 1.5% off the interest rate on the M1 Borrow line of credit
Is M1 Finance Trustworthy?
Yes, M1 is a secure & reliable company. M1 is a member of FINRA & your cash deposits are FDIC-insured. In addition, investments are SIPC-insured.
Thus, M1 Finance is trustworthy, and you don’t have to worry that your money isn’t secured.
Even though M1 is pretty new, there is little cause to have worries about the company. Moreover, M1 is an American corporation situated in downtown Chicago, IL—not some distant foreign country.
Is M1 Finance Good For Beginners?
M1 Finance is an outstanding, free robo-advisor for anyone just getting started with investing and others who want to set it and forget it.
Free trades, fractional shares, and simple asset allocation are excellent features that make investing effortless on the platform.
What Are The Cons Of M1 Finance?
There is no access to futures, mutual funds, FX, or options investment. There are also limited charting tools and indicators. Lastly, the basic educational courses cater only to relatively new investors.
Why Is M1 Finance Bad?
If you borrow money through M1, your account may be subject to maintenance calls if the value of your investments falls.
Having too many alternatives can be detrimental at times. While it’s fantastic to have a variety of portfolios to select from, complexity isn’t always a good thing.
Can You Lose Money In M1 Finance?
Investing entails risk, including the danger of losing the money you put up. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.
Utilizing M1 Borrow’s margin account can add to these risks, & users should understand more before borrowing. Regarding your personal finance and cash management, it’s important to seek professional advice.
What Is The Minimum Deposit For M1 Finance?
Below are the initial deposit minimums:
Individual accounts: Minimum of $100.
Retirement accounts: Minimum of $500.
After the initial deposit, you can deposit any amount greater than $10.
Is M1 Finance FDIC Insured?
SIPC (Securities Investor Protection Corporation) safeguards against the loss of cash & stocks held by a client.
SIPC protection is up to $500,000 which includes a $250,000 maximum for cash.
SIPC does not protect you against any drop in the value of your securities. The company’s clearing firm, Apex Clearing, has also obtained extra insurance if SIPC limitations are exhausted.
M1 Spend & M1 Plus accounts are FDIC insured up to $250,000 and further covered by Lincoln Savings Bank.
Is M1 Finance Legit?
M1 Finance is indeed a legitimate company.
But, when it comes to building a business, you have plenty of options.
And even if you’re dead set on becoming an investor, you’ve got way better options than M1 Finance.
Keep in mind that I don’t get paid to promote any of the programs I review. I personally think stock investing is a great business model, but you could end up leaving way too much money on the table.
Can You Make Money With M1 Finance?
Yes, you can make money using M1 Finance app.
There’s a lot that comes along with stock investing that many people struggle with.
Now, don’t get the wrong idea…
It’s not impossible to make money with stock investing, but if you’re gonna put in the amount of grueling work to do this business (which, trust me, isn’t easy), you might as well bring in some REAL money while you’re learning the ropes.
The program that helped skyrocket many online businesses to over $40,000+ per month is so simple that making money really does become second nature.
Are There Alternatives To M1 Finance?
Yes, there are plenty of other business models to choose from if you want to pursue making money online. Here are just a few:
Is M1 Finance A Scam?
Alright, time for the $1,000,000 question: is M1 Finance a scam?
No, not technically. You can 100% make money with it, but it’s not NEARLY as simple as they want you to think it is.
You need to understand that you are taking a very big risk with financial products.
So while it’s entirely possible that you hit the big leagues and retire to a vineyard… the path to get there is so stressful, it might just shave a decade off your life… IF you even get there.
A friend of mine actually writes advertisements for one of the largest financial program advertisers in the world… so believe me when I say that most of the “awesome” numbers they use in their ads & landing pages are borderline false.
What they conveniently leave out are the dozens of losing bets and trades that came before the big win you’re reading about.
Now, most people don’t have the emotional bandwidth to stick out 3 months of back-to-back losses before (hopefully) getting a big win.
I’d rather use that 3 months of work (in my spare time) building Digital Rental Properties, and then collect a handful of nice little $500-$2,000 checks every single month afterward (AKA passive income).
And the cool part is that you can do it in a lot less time than 3-months (I personally did it in my first 2 weeks of being a Digital Landlord).
You can do it from anywhere in the world, so it’s a genuine “laptop-lifestyle” business.
All you need is a laptop and an internet connection.
Some of my friends are Digital Landlords that run their 6-figure businesses from:
- Camping trips at national parks
- Beachfront in Hawaii
- On the road in a camper van (with a pet pig!)
They focus on living an enjoyable life first, and focus on income second. All thanks to this program.
They can take weeks or months off, and money keeps rolling in.
Living happily is the top priority.
If the thought of living perpetually at your dream vacation spot interests you, being a Digital Landlord might be for you!
What Is My Top Recommendation For Making Money Online In 2022?
I’ve personally tried all of the major online business models:
- I’ve traded crypto & purchased a bunch of fancy “insider stock tip” newsletters
- I’ve sold fidget spinners through Amazon FBA
- I’ve drop-shipped a toilet bowl putting green on Shopify
- I’ve sold women’s health supplements via Clickbank affiliate marketing
And I made money with all of them, so trust me when I say: there is no “perfect” business model.
That being said, my #1 recommendation for making real money online is, hands-down: being a Digital Landlord.
Whether you’re a complete newbie, or you’ve been around the block before but have never had that “big win” to propel you forward, becoming a Digital Landlord is for you.
1)Time: If you’ve got a spare hour or two each day, you can do this. If you want to drop everything and go all-in, you can do this. More time obviously means faster results, but even putting in a few hours per day is enough to see real success.
And because of that flexibility, you don’t need to trade your time for money. Once the income starts, it’s recurring.
That means you can take a month off, travel the country, pursue a passion project, chill on the beach, or charter a boat across the world.
But you can only do that once you’ve created an income stream that doesn’t require YOU to be there all day, every day.
2) You Own & Control EVERYTHING: When it comes to the markets, nothing is in your control. You have zero influence over market-shifting macro-economic trends.
The number of people that have ACTUALLY beat the market consistently can be counted on one hand.
Why pour your soul into a business that you realistically have zero control over?
When you’re a Digital Landlord, you literally own all of the assets, which means you have ultimate control.
3) It’s Effectively Copy-Paste: Here’s my favorite part: once you have your first Digital Rental Property up, you can literally copy-paste another version of it and find another willing “renter” in a few days. DOUBLING your income doesn’t get much easier than that…
If you wanted to double your income in the markets, you would need to make twice as many winning trades, or double your profit on each trade. And I can guarantee you that’s a lot harder than a few clicks & a phone call.
4) Make Money Helping Real People: When you make money in the markets, you’re not really helping anyone but yourself. There is a loser on the other end of that trade.
But when you’re a Digital Landlord, you’re helping solve REAL problems that people are ASKING for help with:
Small local businesses around the world need one thing: customers. Without them, their business would fall apart. If you can provide those customers, they’re going to be really happy – and they’re going to pay you for it.
You’re helping a struggling mother or father put food on the table for their families, put their kids through college, or simply live life a little bit more comfortably.
Having this type of impact on the world is what will help you sleep soundly at night.
So, the rest is up to you. You could keep looking at other programs like M1 Finance, which might make you money if you luck out.
You could keep researching and researching for the next few months (or few years), never making a concrete decision.
OR, you can look deep inside, think about those dreams, hopes, & desires, and make the decision to ACTUALLY make it happen, just like it has for thousands of other students before you.
Making a fortune while actually helping real people that need it.
If this sounds like you, click here to see how it all works.