M1 Finance Review

Donny Gamble
April 19, 2022
4.5
Personalincome rating

M1 Finance is low-cost, offers great loans, and has no fees on trading your stocks, but it does lack a few features that other platforms offer.

While you aren’t getting external data to help improve your robo-advisor choices, you are gaining access to customized portfolios that help you with long-term growth.

M1 Finance logo
on M1 Finance's website
M1 Finance
FEES
$0
Annual fee
ACCOUNT Minimum
$100
PROMOTION

Up to $2,500 Bonus

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The information provided on this page does not offer any personal financial advice or advocate the purchase or sale of any security or investment for any specific individual.

Key Takeaways

  • Customized Solutions: You like to invest a certain way, and the robo-advisor they offer can help you achieve that without changing up your entire portfolio.
  • Margin Loans: These are additional beyond the zero-commission offering, but M1 Finance has excellent margin loans that can help you propel your investment without much of a fee.
  • Financial Goal Tracking: Track your financial goals to hit milestones and break through barriers that can improve your wealth building.
  • Pre-Built Portfolios: Choose a pre-built portfolio orientation so that you can maximize your investments as early as possible.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • $0 account management and trading
  • Access to flexible line of credit
  • Free digital checking
  • Earn up to 10% cash back
Cons
  • No tax-loss harvesting
  • M1 Plus membership costs a fee

Fees don’t make anyone happy. They’re necessary, the cost of doing business, as they say, but M1 Finance challenged that and changed the industry.

Even though it’s a robo-advisor service, there’s no trade fees or commissions. Instead, they gain money through different means, such as M1 Plus memberships, Owners Rewards Cards, and other financial products.

In fact, if you strictly sign up to use robo-advisor services, you’ll be making out like a bandit by avoiding all other fees on their platform.

This M1 Finance review will tell you everything you need to know about the lowest-cost automated investing program on the market.

About M1 Finance

M1 Finance is one of the most respected names in personal finance companies on the market today. With their financial products, they primarily make money off of low levels of interest, and market their other products to be either free or mostly free, saving you money compared to other institutions.

In 2021, M1 Finance generated $150M in revenue, while holding over $5B in client assets (Sept. 2021 reporting), they continue to be trusted by everyone who wants to take their investment seriously, and changed the way that we bank and invest.

M1 Finance is a financial institution primarily earning revenue off of interest and loans. They offer zero-commission trades and portfolio management for robo-advisor accounts, and state that they are “Empowering you to take control” in their mission statement.

They’re a company that truly understands that without happy finance customers, they’ll be nothing, and they take this humble approach with them through every one of their practices and products.

They are transparent about how your information is stored and used, and overall appear to be a highly ethical company.

Services

  • Margin Loans: Borrow up to 35% of an account once it surpasses $10k in value. Low-interest loans by industry standard, with good flexibility.
  • Cash Management: Digital banking (similar to a CapitalOne account), cash flow allocation, and M1 Spend, a checking account you can merge with your investments.
  • Portfolio Design: Choose from pre-made portfolios, or use the robo-advisor program to construct your own portfolio.

Pricing

  • M1 Plus: This annual fee runs you $125 for the year at the time of writing, although the benefits are worthwhile, and month-by-month, it’s cheaper than a Netflix subscription.
  • Investment Fund Fees: These operate differently than robo-advisor accounts, mind you, and even though they don’t monetize every one of their services, they only charge a maximum of 0.20% on investment fund fees, and they can be as low as 0.06%.
  • M1 Spend Account: $0.00 at all points. There’s no fees associated with these spend accounts, so you can use them without worry.
  • All-in Investing and Banking Fees: Again, a different product than simple M1 Spend accounts. This also runs 0.06% up to 0.20% at an absolute maximum.
  • Account Management Fees: $0.00 - absolutely no cost to you, and there’s no gimmicks or tricks here.

Who is M1 Finance Best For?

M1 Finance is good for beginners if they utilize the robo-advisor product, and intermediate investors who want to control ETF trading, margin loans, and trade stocks independent of an index fund or robo-advisor.

M1 Finance may be limiting for those with significant financial experience who want to invest in numerous financial vehicles all within the same space, since M1 does not currently offer cryptocurrency trading or NFTs.

Compare to Other Advisors

Betterment logo
ANNUAL FEES
0.25%
ACCOUNT MINIMUM
$0
PROMOTION
Up to 1 year of free
Personal Capital logo
MANAGEMENT FEES
0.49%-0.89%
INVESTMENT MINIMUM
$100,000
PROMOTION
6 months of free wealth management
Acorns logo
MONTLHY FEES
$3 to $5
ACCOUNT MINIMUM
$10
PROMOTION
$10 Sign Up Bonus

M1 Finance FAQ's

Is M1 Finance trustworthy?

Yes, M1 Finance is one of the most-trusted financial institutions and robo-advisor programs on the market. Not only do they have excellent protection (no breaches to date since their inception in 2015), but they’re SIPC and FDIC-insured to recoup your losses should your account run into risk.

It’s trustworthy, transparent, and insured; you have nothing to worry about as an M1 Finance customer.

Is M1 Finance good for beginners?

The entire service is fairly beginner-intuitive, so you won’t have to worry about possessing loads and loads of investing knowledge prior to starting.

However, they could stand to have more educational content readily available for anyone who wants to learn. Robo-advisors in general don’t require a ton of knowledge to use and get started with, so if that’s all you’re focusing on, it’s very beginner friendly.

Other features are still presented and priced in a transparent way that is good for beginners, but you should still know what you’re getting yourself into prior to signing up for any additional financial products.

How does M1 Finance make money?

Through interest, primarily. Because they offer zero-commissions on other products, they have to make it up somewhere.

M1 Finance makes money off of loan interest, premium memberships (which comes with perks, like lower interest rates on other financial products so they can have some guaranteed income), and through interest on ETFs.

There’s also interest on stock lending, as well as interest on cash loans that they offer.

Does M1 Finance sell any of my personal information?

M1 Finance doesn’t sell your personal information, which is great, but that doesn’t mean they don’t share it. M1 Finance uses Plaid as a financial service to help with their transactions, and as such, they are sharing your information with Plaid to render services.

In their privacy policy, they talk about their affiliation with Lincoln Savings Bank, who will also end up with some access to your information. 

Basically, it’s no more than any other major financial service will use, and M1 Finance does an excellent job of disclosing all the ways that information is shared, and who it’s shared with, which just happens to be trusted and established companies.

M1 Finance

Build and manage your wealth from the convenience of an automated, intuitive platform. Invest, borrow, and spend, all in one place.

  • M1 Finance
  • Rating: 4.5
  • Reviewed by:
  • On April 19, 2022
  • Last modified:April 24, 2022

Review Summary:

Build and manage your wealth from the convenience of an automated, intuitive platform. Invest, borrow, and spend, all in one place.

Review of: M1 Finance

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4.5
On April 19, 2022
Last modified:April 24, 2022

Summary:

Build and manage your wealth from the convenience of an automated, intuitive platform. Invest, borrow, and spend, all in one place.

About the author 

Donny Gamble

I’m Donny. I’m a world traveler, investor, entrepreneur, and online marketing aficionado who has a big appetite to compete and disrupt big markets. I thrive on being able to create things that impact change, difficult challenges, and being able to add value in negative situations.

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