Post updated on 1/9/19.
One of the most frequently asked questions I get about investing is what platform to use. We live in a day and age where there are a whole lot of options – apps that invest for you, apps that allow you to invest on your own, online brokerage accounts, Robo Advisors, and the list goes on!
It can get quite confusing and overwhelming, especially for beginners, to decide which platform might work best in order to kick off an investing journey.
Back when I first started investing (summer of 2008) there were only two options – one was visiting a bank or an investment advisor in person and having them manage my money. The other was opening an online brokerage account, learning to invest, and managing my investment myself.
Considering my passion and enthusiasm towards investing, it might not be a surprise that I choose the latter and have been investing and managing my own money for over a decade using an online brokerage account (review coming soon).
Considering we live in a day and age where there are apps for everything – investing included – I get asked about the best apps all the time. I have to say that I haven’t been too impressed with investing apps until I came across M1 Finance. Just wow!
Image: M1 Finance website
Considering I would never tell you about anything I haven’t personally used myself or would recommend to people I care about – I decided to open an account to check out the platform for myself and here is what I am loving so far:
#1 Besides being able to open an individual investing account – the app also gives you the option of opening a Joint account, Retirement account, and even a Trust account. This is very interesting considering that most apps I’ve come across only allow people to open a self-directed individual account. It is nice to know this platform gives the same options as a full-fledged online brokerage account.
#2 There are no transaction fees and the minimum deposit requirement for individual accounts is only $100. This means you can open the account with $100 and start investing and just add more money as you go (if you want). Plus – there are no fees for buying and selling stocks. After the initial $100 deposit there is no other requirement to keep the account open. If you decide to open a retirement account with M1, the minimum requirement is $500.
#3 The interface is user-friendly once everything is set up! I have to admit that as I was setting up the account I was a bit confused when having to select specific stocks to build my “Pie” (more on that below). However, once that was done and I funded the account, the app took care of the rest. Besides being available for Android and iOS devices, M1 is also very user-friendly on a desktop computer.
#4 My ABSOLUTE favorite part about the app so far?! It allows people to purchase partial shares of stock! This is a unique feature that not a lot of investing apps provide. I personally haven’t come across any other than M1 FInance. What does that mean? It means that if you have been wanting to buy shares of stock from companies that might seem too expensive, the app will allow you to buy a percentage of the stock which will be a whole lot cheaper than buying the entire thing. This is especially awesome if you only have a limited amount of money to start investing at the present time and want to make sure you spread out your money across a few different stocks as oppose to just one.
Remember I mentioned the “Pie” concept above? Well, that refers to how the app is set up in terms of allowing you to buy partial shares of various stocks using the money you transfer into your M1 FInance investing account from your selected checking account.
So, for example, let’s say you have 4 different stocks in mind that you would love to buy but only have about $500 available to start investing at the present time. All you’d need to do is allocate your selected percentage to each stock you want.
To keep it simple – let’s say you set up the Pie to allocate 25% of those $500 for each of the stocks, that means that app will buy you $125 worth of each stock. And so, even if some of those stocks cost more than that amount – it won’t matter because the app will buy you partial shares!
Makes sense? If anything sounds confusing, email me your questions: Girlsonthemoney@gmail.com. I am still new to the app but have to say I am quite impressed thus far.
If all of this sounds good to you, think about giving M1 a try!
If you use this link to open your account, you’ll get a $10 bonus which you can use towards your first stock! You’ll then get your own link which you can share with family and friends for additional bonuses.
Here are the FULL requirements to qualify:
- Open the account and make an initial deposit of $100 for an Individual account or $500 for IRA accounts.
- Deposit must be made within 90 days of opening the account.
- The initial deposit cannot be withdrawn for 90 days.
If you end up trying this out, let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Cheers to Health, Love, Success, and Profits!
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