M1 Finance Review 2024: Pros, Cons and How It Compares

With a mix of manual investing and automation tools, M1 Finance could be worth exploring for the long-term investor.
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Written by June Sham
Lead Writer
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Edited by Chris Davis
Assigning Editor
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Our Take

3.1

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

M1 Finance stands out for its unique investment approach, as "Slices" made up of different securities are part of a whole "Pie." But its few educational resources and limited trading windows may be more attractive to hands-off investors who want a long-term investment strategy.

M1 Finance
M1 Finance
Fees
$0
Account minimum
$100
Promotion
Get up to $500
in your new Brokerage Account when you sign up and make a deposit within 14 days. Plus, earn up to $10,000 to invest when you transfer your brokerage account to M1 within 30 days of opening an M1 account.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Commission-free trades for stocks and ETFs.

  • Highly rated mobile app.

  • Dynamic Rebalancing feature ensures cash moving in and out of the portfolio helps maintain target percentages of each investment “Slice.”

  • High interest rate on uninvested cash.

Cons

  • Some features require a premium subscription.

  • Limited educational sources.

Compare to Similar Brokers

NerdWallet rating 

4.9

/5
NerdWallet rating 

4.3

/5
NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5

Fees 

$0

per online equity trade

Fees 

$0

per trade

Fees 

$0

per trade

Account minimum 

$0

Account minimum 

$0

Account minimum 

$0

Promotion 

None

no promotion available at this time

Promotion 

1 Free Stock

after linking your bank account (stock value range $5.00-$200)

Promotion 

None

no promotion available at this time

Learn more

on Charles Schwab's website

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Full Review

Where M1 Finance shines

A mix of customization and automation. M1 visualizes investment portfolios like a pie, with each Slice representing different securities like stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and crypto. Investors can create their own Pie or select and fine-tune pre-built portfolios called Expert Pies, but in essence, there is a huge range of options for the investor who wants to create and automate their investment portfolio.

Dynamic rebalancing. A unique highlight of M1 is its automated Dynamic Rebalancing feature, which ensures that cash coming in and out of your account helps maintain your investment targets. An influx of cash might go toward Slices that are under their target percentages, while a withdrawal of cash might be from Slices that are over. However, while this process is similar to a robo-advisor, it isn’t entirely hands off — you’ll have to initiate the rebalance manually.

Where M1 Finance falls short

No options trading or mutual funds. While most brokerages offer these two options for further diversification and as a feature for advanced traders, investors wanting access to these two products won’t get that with M1.

Restricted trading windows. All M1 customers have one morning trade window that starts when the New York Stock Exchange is open at 9:30 a.m. ET. M1 Plus members with at least $25,000 in their account have a second trade window at 3 p.m. ET. The company says this is to keep costs lower and help users maintain a focus on long-term investing, but it may not be ideal for active traders.

Limited knowledge bank. Experienced investors who want access to stock data and market research may find the two options offered by M1 to be more lean compared with its competitors. There’s also no access to live financial advisors or financial planning advice for beginner investors who may want more assistance throughout the process.

M1 Finance is best for:

  • Long-term investors. 

  • Hands-off investors. 

M1 Finance at a glance

Account minimum

$100 ($500 for retirement accounts).

Stock trading costs

$0.

Options trades

Not available.

Account fees (annual, transfer, closing, inactivity)

No annual fee or incoming transfer fee, but there is a $100 outgoing transfer fee.

Interest rate on uninvested cash

5% in a high-yield savings account with $5 million in FDIC coverage.

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds

None; mutual funds not available.

Tradable securities

Stocks, ETFs, limited OTC securities and crypto.

Trading platform

M1.com and mobile app.

Mobile app

Available for iOS and Android.

Research and data

Quotemedia and Factset.

Customer support options (includes how easy it is to find key details on the website)

Customer support is available through a contact form, email and by phone. With written communication, the response is within 1 business day. The customer care team is available Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET excluding market holidays.

More details about M1 Finance's ratings

Account minimum: 4 out of 5 stars

With M1, you'll need to maintain an account minimum of $100 for the brokerage account and $500 for retirement accounts. These figures may seem nominal, but many other brokers we review require no minimum for opening or maintaining accounts.

Stock trading costs: 5 out of 5 stars

Whether you're an M1 Plus subscriber or not, there are no stock trading costs or commissions for investing on the M1 platform.

Options trades: N/A

No options trading available.

Account fees: 3.5 out of 5 stars

With M1, there are no annual fees or partial transfer fees. However, there is a $100 fee per outgoing transfer and a $100 individual retirement account termination fee. There may be some miscellaneous fees based on what you want to do with your account. Additionally, if your balance drops below $50 and there is no trading or deposit activity for over 90 days, there will be a $50 fee for account maintenance.

Interest rate on uninvested cash: 4 out of 5 stars

Uninvested cash with M1 will be directed to a high-yield savings account with an interest rate of 5%. The account is FDIC-insured up to $5 million.

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds: N/A

M1 does not offer mutual funds on its platform.

Tradable securities: 1.5 out of 5 stars

Compared with many other brokerages, M1’s tradable securities offerings are much more limited.

M1 customers can purchase stocks and ETFs, but only limited over-the-counter securities and cryptocurrencies. M1 does offer fractional shares for those who want to include more expensive stocks in their portfolio without purchasing an entire share.

Investors on the M1 platform have access to over 6,000 securities, some of which start at $1. However, M1 notably does not offer mutual funds, which limits the diversification investors can have in their portfolio. Options trading, which may be a draw to experienced investors who understand the risk involved, is also not offered on the M1 platform.

Crypto offering: Like its selection of other tradable securities, M1 Finance's crypto offering is limited but usable for entry-level investors. It offers no-fee trades of bitcoin, ethereum and litecoin for USD, although it does not offer crypto-crypto trading pairs, staking features, or the ability to use your own wallet.

One thing to be aware of: the minimum deposit to buy crypto is $100, and M1's signup process tries to make you set up recurring deposits by default.

Trading platform: 3 out of 5 stars

Trading can take place on the M1 website and its mobile app, with both accessible to M1 and M1 Plus users. On the platform, users can access features like M1 Finance Auto-invest, which automatically allocates deposits to each Slice of your investment portfolio, as well as Dynamic Rebalancing, which automatically sells and buys stocks (after you've initiated the process) to ensure your portfolio stays within your target allocation.

While M1’s trading platform departs from a traditional broker, its features offer users a fresh way to invest and monitor their portfolio. The mix of automation and manual investing ensures that investors have flexibility over their investment decisions, although the single daily trading window for free users — and even the second afternoon option for premium subscribers — limits users from being more active traders when the market is open.

Getting started within the M1 portal is relatively simple. Plaid integration means users can easily link their bank account, though this may not be an option for smaller banks. Once the M1 account is funded, users can make their investment selections in a process more similar to a robo-advisor, as investing with M1 doesn’t allow for individual stock selections.

Mobile app: 5 out of 5 stars

NerdWallet’s star rating for M1’s mobile app is derived from its scores in the App Store for iOS users and Google Play store for Android users. M1’s mobile app is highly rated and offers the same features on the app that are available on the website.

Research and data: 2 out of 5 stars

M1 provides investors with free stock research from Quotemedia and Factset. Both provide data to help investors make informed decisions, but with only two third-party research platforms to choose from, the research firm offerings are much more limited compared with other brokerages.

Customer support options: 2.5 out of 5 stars

M1 customer support is available through a contact form on its website and mobile app, email and phone. The team is available Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET, unless there is a market holiday.

Other M1 Finance details you should know

The M1 Plus subscription might be useful because of its second trading window. For $10 per month, the subscription also provides on-demand trading for crypto as well as a 5.0% annual percentage yield that sweeps directly into a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-insured, high-yield savings account. However, the subscription model means that it may not be accessible for every investor.

Is M1 right for you?

M1’s automated processes could be a good choice for investors who want a hands-off approach to reaching their investment goals. However, with limited educational resources and customer support, beginner investors may find the learning curve a little steeper if relying solely on the website and app. Additionally, while the single trading window encourages long-term investment planning, it may be challenging for investors who want to make trades on their own schedule.

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