Invest here! No, invest there!
There sure are a lot of investing apps these days. So many different online investment platforms to choose from. How the heck are you supposed to pick one?
It all depends on what you’re looking for. We’ve found a really good one that’s designed for long-term investors who want to choose their own portfolio of investments, then set it up to keep growing with automatic deposits.
Best of all, M1 Finance is free. It won’t charge you any commissions or management fees, so it’s one of the most affordable choices out there. Because you’re not paying these fees, you’ll have more money to invest.
M1 is using state-of-the-art technology to make its investing tools powerful yet easy to use. You can build your own custom portfolio of stocks and ETFs — exchange-traded funds, which are collections of hundreds or thousands of stocks and bonds.
Or, if you want, you can choose from dozens of pre-made portfolio options that follow different strategies, like socially responsible investing, hedge fund followers, or target date retirement portfolios.
How To Own a Piece of Amazon or Google — for Less
If you want to invest in companies like Amazon, Google, Netflix or Tesla you’ll also want to consider how much of your overall portfolio you want to allocate to them. Their high stock prices can make keeping your portfolio in balance an expensive math equation. Just check out these prices as of May 2021:
- Amazon: $3,260
- Google (Alphabet): $2,360
- Netflix: $500
- Tesla: $605
Unless you’ve got more than three grand lying around, it’s hard to just buy a share of Amazon.
Ah, but M1 allows you to buy “fractional shares” — pieces of shares — in companies. That way, you can invest in a company like Amazon for less than a dollar. M1 splits every share of stock into 1/100,000th of a share so you can trade exact amounts of each stock based on the targets you set in your portfolio.
How to Get Started Investing with M1
M1’s free investment platform lets you build your own customized portfolio according to your long-term financial goals.
The easy-to-use dashboard breaks investments down into “Pies” to help you visualize how you’re splitting up your investment money.
Each Pie has as many as 100 “slices,” although you don’t have to have that many. Each slice represents a stock, a bond, an ETF, or another Pie. You can choose from roughly 80 pre-built Pies, and you can customize your Pie as much as you want.
Here are some of the categories of Pies that you can choose from:
- A diversified investment portfolio based on your personal risk tolerance
- Investing for retirement, based on your target retirement date
- Socially responsible investing
- Investment strategies that mimic successful hedge funds
- Investments in specific industries
It’s really a simple and intuitive way to manage your portfolio.
‘Set It and Forget It’
M1 Finance is a prime example of the “set it and forget it” type of investment strategy.
It’s easy to buy and sell stocks on the platform, and you can change up your investments whenever you want to.
But the key here is, M1 makes it super easy for you to automate everything and then let the app do its investing work without you. In a way, that’s kind of the whole point of M1. You can set up automatic deposits, weekly or monthly, to steadily funnel money into your investment portfolio. (It’s also easy to switch those off whenever you want.)
Once you set up your portfolio and put your investing on autopilot, any new money you invest will be used to dynamically rebalance your portfolio. With each infusion of new money, M1 will automatically bring your portfolio percentages back in line with your original goals.
Also, once you’ve deposited a total of $1,000, you get a free $30 bonus.
It’s a Lot More than an Investing App
M1 isn’t just an investing platform, however. It comes with its own checking account, so you can set up direct deposits, transfer money and spend using a debit card.
And when your total portfolio value reaches $5,000, you can access a flexible portfolio line of credit with a low base rate of 3.5%. You can use that money for whatever purpose you want, whether it’s for an emergency or for more investing or for refinancing high-interest credit card debt.
It only takes a few minutes to sign up.
Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at Codetic. He’s a long-term investor.
Investing in securities involves risks, including the risk of loss. M1 Finance LLC is an SEC registered broker-dealer. Member FINRA/SIPC.
Borrow rate may vary. Borrowing involves additional risks, including the risk to lose more than deposited. Not available for retirement, custodial, or trust accounts.