M1 Finance Review 2021. New Approach, Excellent Option

By: Andrew McShane

M1 Finance is an excellent platform for investors with at least a moderate amount of experience. It does offer robo-advising for hands-off investing as well as several other features.

You are about to learn...

  • What is M1 Finance
  • Who is M1 Finance Best for?
  • Our M1 Finance Review

When quarantine hit, an amazing thing happened in 2020. The market was flooded with first time investors. So much so that those who started investing in 2020, now make up 15% of current retail investors. These new investors are inundated with brand new investing options. Real Estate apps like Fundrise or equity funding sites like Wefunder give the retail investor more options than they know what to do with. But for those investors who are looking for a straightforward, easy-to-use investing platform, a promising investment app that provides a great amount of features and flexibility is M1 Finance. This is our M1 Finance Review .

What is M1 Finance

M1 Finance was founded in 2015. Traditionally, you would still be considered a small, growing company if you had only been around for 6 years. But in today’s market of rapidly deploying investing apps and fintech offering, you can be considered a founding cornerstone with just 6 years under your belt.

M1 finance is a money management platform that automate the investing process. It is closing in on $4 billion in assets under management and has expanded its offerings from its investing platform to banking and loans (more on that below).

M1 Finance takes a unique approach to investing where the user creates what they call “Pies,” where the investor creates a portfolio out of a selection of stocks, bonds, or funds. They can also create Pies based on Expert Pies in a variety of categories, including, General Investing, Planning for Retirement, Hedge Fund Followers. They even have a Pie for those interested in creating an income investing strategy.  

m1 finance pies

M1 Finance automates the construction and maintenance of your custom investment portfolio. After you create your Pie-based portfolio. M1 then automates the trading activity, allowing you to take a hands-off approach to investing. This feature is closely aligned to that of a robo-advisor, like Betterment or Wealthfront, but also allows you to override the automation, should you want to take a more active role in managing your portfolio.

Below, in our M1 Finance Review, we’ll take a closer look at all M1 has to offer, who it is best for, and what makes M1 Finance a good investing app for beginners and experienced investors alike.  

M1 Finance Review

m1 finance review

Our Rating:


M1 Finance

M1 Finance is an excellent investing platform that offers hands-on management as well as robo-advising capabilities. It is best suited for investors with a moderate level of experience due to its limited research functionality. It also offers high APY checking, low interest loans, and debit rewards as expanded features.

best for:

moderate investors, traders, robo-advising

Get M1 Finance Pros & Cons


  • Very low fees and straightforward fee structure
  • Evolving features such as lending and high APY checking
  • Broad access to stocks and funds
  • Robo-advising features
  • Great usability on desktop and mobile
  • Easy transparency around rate of return and results


  • Limited research and education
  • No access to financial advising

At Wealthplicity, we rate and rank our investment apps based upon the most important criteria to the customer. We look to keep this criterion consistent across all reviews but may adjust upon industry or offerings.

  1. Investor Fees – How much does it cost to use the platform? Are there commission fees or fees on trades? How complicated is the fee structure?
  2. Flexibility of Offerings and Features – Does the platform offer a wide variety of securities or deals to invest in? What other features does the platform offer beyond investing?
  3. Investor Requirements – Does the investor need to be accredited? How experienced does the investor need to be? What is the minimum investment required?
  4. Usability – How user friendly is the platform?
  5. Transparency – How hard is to find critical information such as risk and the annual rate of return if relevant?

Who is M1 Finance Investing Best for?

M1 Finance is best suited for those investors who already have a moderate amount of experience. That isn’t to say that beginners cannot use this platform. In fact, the hands-off automation of the investing Pies is quite attractive to those new to investing. However, those who have been investing for several years and have understand how risk, diversity, balancing, sectors, and trading work, will get the most out of the platform.

M1 Finance does offer accessibility for beginners through pre-built pies and breaks them down further by risk profile. This could potentially be a great option for beginners seeking to create initial compound interest through their investments.

m1 finance funds

For beginners who have not yet invested and want to learn as they go, M1 Finance does not offer a lot of educational material. It also does not offer the opportunity to map financial goals. Both of these elements are critical for new investors as they get started on their investing journey.

If you are new to investing and want to map your financial goals or create an optimal path to financial freedom, use our Financial Independence Calculator.

Below is our M1 Finance Review ranked by our criteria.

The M1 Finance Review: Overall Ranking Criteria


M1 Finance has a very straightforward and attractive fee structure. It does not have any management or trading fees. The only fees that apply are regulatory fees and service fees like converting your IRA. The M1 Plus account is $125 per year and portfolios that have ETF’s can incur management fees from those funds.

Accounts that have no trading activity for 90 days or have less than a $20 balance can be charged a fee.

Flexibility of Offerings and Features:

M1 Finance is best in class in its flexibility of offers and the evolution of the features of the platform. M1 Finance offers access to over 6,000 stocks and funds that allows you to build your own custom investment plan. You can also browse the selection of pre-built “Expert Pies” in a variety of categories, including, Hedge Funds, Retirement Planning, Just Stocks and Bonds and More.

Once you have customized your portfolio, you have the option of using M1 Finance as a robo-advisor for those investors who desire a hands-of approach. You also have the options of managing your own portfolio and using it as a brokerage.

M1 Finance offers M1 Plus for yearly fee of $125. This allows you access to

  • New custodial accounts
  • 2% loans through their M1 Borrow Feature
  • Two trade windows
  • 1% APY checking
  • `% Cashback on qualifying debt card purchases

Investor Requirements:

Investors do not need to be accredited nor is there any investment minimum. For those new to investing, it should be noted that M1 Finance does not provide recommendations, investment, tax, or legal advice. It is not an advisory so access to education or help with a portfolio does not exist.


The M1 Finance app is seamless and enjoyable to use. Again, for those investors who are just starting out, it could be a little overwhelming. However, the way M1 Finance uses Pies as their portfolios makes it very intuitive and easy to digest.

Building a portfolio or a Pie is a fun and easy process. They offer a simplified screener which allows you to filter stocks by sector and industry and even apply some fundamentals like Market Cap, Dividend Yield and P/E Ratio.

m1 finance screenner

The entire experience is easily translated on the mobile app and I found no real hiccups or disruption in the process.

m1 finance app

Customer service is a not a top priority for M1 Finance, but I believe that is intentional. A user would have typical access to a customer service team through phone and chat during business hours but that service would be limited to technical questions around account set up, troubleshooting, etc..

As I mentioned, M1 Finance is not for beginners, so for those investors who are looking to learn how to invest or seek advice on their funds, or portfolios, they will be out of luck. There are no financial advisors on hand to help guide strategy.

Any new investor looking for robo-advising with access to financial advice should check out our Betterment Review. That platform offers both of those aspects.


There is a ton of content on M1 Finance that can help an investor get started and better understand the offerings available to them. It wasn’t glaringly obvious how to first access this content but after a bit of digging, I was able to find what I was looking for.

One thing I really liked about M1 Finance transparency was how easy it was to find the rate of return or results of a given portfolio. A lot of platforms make you dig for those insights, but M1 Finance makes that a key feature and allows you to sort by performance. This type of information is key.

m1 finance results


I really like M1 Finance for the medium – experienced investor. I think new and early investor could use this platform and realize success from it as long as they are leveraging other research sites like here at Wealthplicity to educate themselves along the way.

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