M1 Finance is an online brokerage platform offering commission-free stock/ETF trades and a variety of other financial products. There is a low $100 minimum and no portfolio management fees.
M1 Finance was made for long-term investors searching for a lower-cost alternative. Another core feature of M1 Finance is the ability to create your ideal portfolio instead of relying on algorithms to do it for you.
Often, investors must give up much of the control in exchange for portfolio management services. M1 successfully treads the fine line between automation and customization.
The platform’s target customers have longer-term goals for their investments. They can be saving up for their child’s education, for a down payment on a home, or even to build up a solid emergency fund. They may have experience using other traditional online brokerages to invest in stocks and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).
But what stocks and ETFs can you buy through M1 Finance?
A stock is a share in the ownership of a company. It means you have a claim to the company's earnings and assets. Your return on investment (ROI) depends on the success or failure of that particular company.
An ETF is a security that tracks an index, a commodity, a set of bonds, or a group of assets. ETFs bring together certain aspects of mutual funds and conventional stocks. ETFs are pooled investment funds that offer stakeholders interest in professionally managed and diversified portfolios of investments.
ETF shares trade like stocks on stock exchanges and can be bought or sold throughout the trading day at fluctuating prices.
You can buy both stocks and ETFs on M1 Finance 100% commission-free.
In total, M1 offers more than 6,000 exchange-listed securities. They have most (but not all) NYSE, NASDAQ, and BATs traded stocks as well as ETFs.
M1 has been careful to implement volume and price thresholds to protect its users. These thresholds restrict certain types of securities being offered and are in place to help protect clients from taking on too much risk.
The M1 platform does not support mutual funds, bonds, or options trading at this time.
The platform does not offer certain low-volume stocks because there are not enough investors showing interest in them. M1 Finance offers fractional shares, so they need to have enough demand in order to offer that particular stock or ETF.
Once you open your account with M1 Finance, one option to start investing is through buying fractional shares. These are basically like pieces of a pie. They are portions of whole stocks that may come with too high a price tag for you to add to your portfolio.
Not every investing platform offers fractional shares, so you may want to give some thought to taking advantage of this. You can put every single penny to work when you invest with fractional shares. This helps diversify your portfolio easily and avoid idle cash waiting to be invested in whole shares.
M1 gives you the ability to create your own customized portfolio or select from one of the more than 30+ pre-built portfolios. You can create portfolios containing low-cost ETFs or individual stocks, or both.
M1 Finance helps you with the construction and maintenance of your investment portfolio. After you create your portfolio, M1 utilizes its proprietary trading system to automate all of your trading activity. You'll never have to input or execute any trades manually if you don't want to.
Auto-invest is the most frequently used option by M1 users. With auto-invest on, any time your cash balance meets or exceeds $25, M1 will automatically invest your cash balance into your portfolio.
To select this option within the app, turn auto-invest on and set your minimum cash balance to $0.
M1 Finance is a solid online investing platform that will give you considerable bells and whistles. Unless you are specifically looking for bonds or mutual funds, you will find the most common stocks and ETFs offered by M1. Additionally, the ability to buy fractional shares is a significant advantage offered by the platform.