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Written by Beau Jordan on May 26, 2022
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M1 Finance Fees Explained 2022: What Are The Real Costs?

M1 Finance is building a strong reputation in the investing community. Much of this reputation comes as a result of premium investment opportunities on a commission-free trading platform. 

M1 Finance differs from other investment platforms in that M1 Finance offers investors the opportunity to build custom portfolios for free. M1 Finance also offers a premium selection of expert-created portfolios for the investor hoping to select a pre-created portfolio. 

The M1 Finance platform calls these portfolios investment pies. Each pie can be created or selected to match each individual investor’s investment goals. Some pies can be created with more risk while others can exhibit less risk exposure. 

One of the best benefits of the platform is that these pies can be created in traditional investment accounts, retirement accounts like Roth and Traditional IRAs, as well as margin accounts. 

No matter what account your investment sits in, your custom-built and expert pies are free of management fees! Investors can rest assured knowing that the M1 Finance platform does not nickel and dime investors like other platforms have demonstrated over the years. 

Not only are custom-built pies and expert pies management fee free but they are also commission free! However, even management fee free and commission-free trading accounts have fees (even if they are small)!

To learn more about all of the advantages of M1 Finance, head to our M1 Finance Summary article. While this article will cover some of the advantages of using M1 Finance, the main purpose is to cover all of the fees associated with the M1 Finance trading platform. 

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M1 Finance Fees

M1 Finance Robo Advisor

As introduced above, M1 Finance is truly a commission-free trading platform. However, there are organizations called SROs or self-regulatory organizations that charge fees on all sell orders regardless of brokerage. 

M1 Finance is not exempt from these fees and thus passes them along to the customer. Additionally, M1 Finance has a premium offering called M1 Plus that does come at a cost for interested investors. 

According to the official M1 Finance website, there are three main buckets of fees associated with M1 Finance accounts. The first bucket contains fees that are applicable on all investment platforms (however some platforms may charge the fee differently than others), while the remaining buckets are M1 Finance specific fees. The three high-level buckets are listed below. 

  1. Regulatory Fees
  2. M1 Plus Fees (Optional)
  3. Miscellaneous Fees

Regulatory Fees

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, also known as FINRA, is required by law to pay the regulatory transaction fee to the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). FINRA takes this fee and passes it to its members, including M1 Finance, who then pass the fees to the customers. 

This rate is subject to change throughout the year but is used to pay the government for regulating and supervising the security markets. This fee is to help pay for organizations such as the SEC. 

Luckily this fee only applies to sale orders and is small. For every $1M of sales, the regulatory transaction fee is $22.90. In other words, this fee is 0.00229% of sale orders and is rounded up to the nearest penny. 

The next regulatory fee is the trading activity fee.

FINRA charges the trading activity fee to all brokerage firms to help pay for the regulation and supervising brokerage firms. Unlike the regulatory transaction fee, the trading activity fee is determined by the number of shares sold (rather than a percentage of the sale). 

The trading activity fee is $0.000119 for each equity share sold. This fee will always be rounded up to the nearest penny and is capped at $5.95 per order execution. 

The final regulatory fees are the American depositary receipts (ADR) fees. These are significantly different from the other two fees discussed. ADRs are certificates that are traded on American exchanges that represent foreign stocks. 

The banks that issue ADRs typically charge $0.01 to $0.03 per share. If this charge is applicable, M1 Finance will pass along these fees to the investor. 

M1 Plus Fees (Optional)

M1 Plus is a premium investment offering that costs $125 annually for interested parties. As with any of the fees in this article, M1 Finance has the right to change the fee at any time. 

The M1 Plus perks can be categorized into the following three buckets: invest, borrow, and spend. 

Invest

The investing M1 Plus benefits include extended trading windows. That means that your exclusive afternoon trade window would begin at 3PM ET. 

m1financephone

M1 Plus also enables investors to create custodial accounts and to participate in smart transfers. Smart transfers help investors automatically move money between cash holding accounts and M1 Finance’s taxable investment accounts.

Borrow

The borrowing M1 Plus benefit is great for those hoping to trade on margin. It is important to highlight though that not all investors will qualify for this benefit. However, typically investors with a clean trading record (not heavy in debt) will have no problem qualifying for this benefit. 

Typically investors using the free M1 Finance borrow benefit can borrow money at a 4.25% rate. However, M1 Plus members can have that rate nearly cut in half at 2.75%. This can make a big difference for margin traders! 

Spend

The last category for M1 Plus users is spend. There are a lot of benefits that fall under this category but most of them are just amplified benefits that are currently available to all M1 Finance investors. 

Below are a couple of examples of the benefits. 

  • 1% APY checking account (compared to 0%)
  • 4 monthly ATM fee reimbursements (compared to 1)
  • $0 international fees (compared to 0.8% - 1.0%)
  • $0 M1 Finance annual credit card fee (compared to $95)

The detailed list of M1 Plus benefits can be found on the M1 Plus benefits site

Miscellaneous Fees

The last section of fees are the miscellaneous fees spread throughout the M1 Finance platform. 

One interesting fee on the M1 Finance platform is a $20 inactivity fee. This is a fee that is charged on accounts that have up to $20 of un-invested funds that have been inactive for over 90 days. An easy way to avoid this fee is to make sure that once you create an account to use it!

Another fee to be aware of is a heavy transfer fee out of M1 Finance. Unfortunately, transfer fees are very common when transferring out of a brokerage account now. M1 Finance charges a $100 fee for outgoing transfers. Incoming transfers (money funding your M1 account) are always free though. 

The last miscellaneous fee to be aware of is the mutual fund sales fee. M1 Finance recommends investors take advantage of ETFs rather than mutual funds. This is because ETFs are significantly cheaper for the investor and investment platform. 

As a result, M1 Finance will charge fees when mutual funds are sold on the platform. This fee is $20 for mutual fund sales. 

To see a full list of M1 Finance miscellaneous fees, head to the M1 Finance fee information page

M1 Finance Fees: Final Thoughts

M1 Finance has added a cool twist to the era of the retail investor. Their pies provide investors a simple way to create the perfect investment portfolio tailored to their individual needs. Not to mention, M1 Finance does so as a commission-free trading platform. 

As this article discussed, even commission-free trading platforms have fees that they pass along to customers. However, it is important to recognize that many of these fees originate from entities outside of M1 Finance. In other words, they are common fees among all investing platforms. 

As a quick recap, the three buckets of fees are shown below. 

  1. Regulatory Fees
  2. M1 Plus Fees (Optional)
  3. Miscellaneous Fees

As a commission-free trading platform, investors will never be charged markups on trades or any type of platform usage fees. The main fees that originate from the M1 Finance platform are the M1 Plus membership fees. This fee is completely optional and is not required to use the platform. 

Since creating an M1 Finance account is free, there is no harm in browsing the platform to see if a custom-built or expert pie is right for you. If any of the above M1 Finance highlights caught your eye, create an account today!

Article written by Beau Jordan

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