The number of personal finance tools on the market has exploded in recent years. Overall, this has carried positive impacts because it created new avenues for banking, saving, and investing. However, having so many options can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to understanding the advantages (and disadvantages) of one app over another. To help out everyday investors and savers, Financial Professional has put together a review of one of the newer tools: M1 Finance.
Before we continue, Financial Professional wants to remind you that this review is informational in nature and does not constitute investment advice. Although we may receive financial compensation (at no cost to you) from affiliate links in our reviews, our opinions are our own.
If you’re in the market for new investment opportunities – or even your first – we can help! With Financial Professional’s marketplace, you can research firms and compare opportunities to find the right investment for you.
First up in our M1 Finance Review, let’s cover the basics.
M1 Finance, or “The Finance Super App” as they refer to themselves, is an app and website that lets its users invest, borrow, and spend money. M1 Finance centers its offering around newer investors and aims to appeal to the masses. They describe the process of building wealth as a “marathon,” and thus make it their mission to help as many people cross the finish line as possible “regardless of where you are starting from.”
M1’s investing philosophy is to follow a committed approach of buying stocks regularly and holding a diverse and balanced portfolio for a long period of time. They consider the long-term approach to be one of the best ways to build sustainable wealth. As a result, they discourage day trading stocks on their platform.
M1 Finance was founded in 2015 after CEO Brian Barnes, an investing aficionado was unable to find an adequate tool for his needs. Since then, the company has focused on challenging the status quo in personal finance. They meet this goal by putting the power to invest and control finances back in their user’s hands.
In total, M1 Finances boasts about 500,000 users – not to mention 20,000 5-start ratings on the App Store.
M1 Finance’s platform, when compared to other investment apps, is fairly straightforward. They offer users the ability to do three things: invest, borrow, and spend money.
The regular version of M1 Finance is free; however, they also offer a premium version called M1 Plus for $125 per year.
The regular version of M1 Finance is completely free for all users. This free version includes access to their investing platform, the ability to borrow money at 3.5% (if your account is over $10,000), and the ability to access your cash with a debit card.
M1 Plus costs $125 per year and gives you access to longer trading hours, the ability to borrow at 2% (with a $10,000 minimum), as well as 1% APY and cash-back on their debit card.
Every finance and investing platform is going to have pros and cons. Most of the time, whether a service is positive or negative depends on your needs. That said, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of using M1 Finance’s platform.
M1 Finance advocates that its platform is made for self-directed investor. In other words, you are on your own in terms of what type of return you earn. To their credit, it is a little refreshing that they do not fall into the stereotype of claiming higher than average returns in an attempt to lure users. Their website is free of any guarantees or promises of potential returns. However, this does mean that each user is on their own in terms of doing proper research and committing to their due diligence.
M1 Finance gives you the keys to the car and offers a few driving lessons, but leaves it entirely up to you to get to your destination. This gives you the freedom to drive as fast as you want – but also leaves you responsible if you crash. That said, their platform is no riskier than other platforms on the market. After all, there is always risk inherent with investing.
When you invest, you are using your money to buy something that fluctuates in value (like the price of a stock). Any positive or negative news about a company can lead to investors rushing to buy or divest from the stock, which leads to price fluctuations. Since it’s impossible to be 100% certain whether a stock price will go up or down, it is always risky to buy into the market. However, you can make the decision to invest in stocks that are deemed more or less risky than others. Just make sure that you’re not buying into more risk than you can tolerate!
As a general rule of thumb, the riskier the stock, the higher the potential return and vice versa.
M1 Finance does a good job of highlighting the risks and you can read their full statement of risks here.
Overall, M1 Finance offers a robust platform for beginning investors. They do a good job of educating you on the basics and offer you options for investing, spending, and borrowing money. By far their best feature is the ability to borrow money at a very low rate with almost no questions asked. However, if you are a more sophisticated investor who needs a more powerful tool, there are definitely better options out there.
For more investing platform reviews, as well as other articles on investing, personal finance, side hustles, and more, subscribe below to receive our newsletter, as well as new article alerts.