Motif Investing rating

Motif Investing Review

Motif Investing Commissions, Fees, and Minimum Deposit

Stocks and ETFs $4.95
Creating or rebalancing motif $9.95 total commission for up to 30 stocks or ETFs you choose

Investments stocks, ETFs
Motif Investing minimum deposit to open account: $0. Minimum amount to invest in a motif: $300. Minimum amount for margin account: $2,000
FeesMotif Investing fees

The first section of our 2018 Motif Investing review is broker commissions. The firm is charging very attractive, $4.95 per trade rate to buy or sell stocks and exchange traded funds. You could also buy up to 30 stocks or ETFs at one time for just $9.95. Unfortunately, Motif Investing (member of SIPC) doesn't offer investing in mutual funds, options or bonds.

Minimum deposit required to open an account at Motif Investing is $0 - this applies to both IRA and non-IRA accounts.

What are Motifs?

The "motif" is a collection of up to 30 stocks or ETFs that give investors access to classic, proven money-management strategies without hefty fees. Motifs are very similar to mutual funds only there are no management fees and expense ratios, and anyone can create a motif.

The company offers clients a library of what it calls "investing classics" - motifs designed to shape the core holdings of investors' portfolios. The inaugural set of "classic" motifs includes, for example, one that follows the investing strategy of prominent Ivy League endowment managers, who favor significant exposure to real estate and inflation-protected securities in addition to U.S. and international stocks.

Motif Investing Review: Website

Motif Investing Review: Trading

Another "investing classic" motif is modeled on the investing strategy made popular by the creator of Vanguard mutual funds, Jack Bogle, and his devoted Internet following of "Bogleheads". Some motifs are geared toward investors planning for specific retirement dates. Others are investing in ETFs that link non-correlated assets, like gold and bonds, to create a "permanent portfolio", similar to the approach popularized by investor and author Harry Browne in the 1970s.

Motif Review: App

Within your Motif you can perform the following trades:

  • Buy additional shares of any individual stock or ETF for $4.95
  • Sell partial or all shares of any individual stock or ETF for $4.95
  • Rebalance all holdings for $9.95
  • Sell all shares of all stocks and ETFs for $9.95

Motif Investing Mobile App

Motif Investing offers a beautifully designed mobile app for iPhone and Android smartphones, and for Apple watch. It has one of the highest in the industry, 4.5 star rating from customers in Google Play and iTunes stores. The app offers a long list of features including easy access to market data and interactive charts; creating a portfolio; making trades; ability to monitor, add, and remove securities from motif and stock watch lists.

Motif Investing Review: Pros

  • Few fees
  • Unique system of generating trading ideas
  • No account minimum; low minimum motif investment of $300
  • Simplicity and low price of building diversified portfolio
  • Social platform for clients
  • Pre-built motifs for retirement (Target Date motifs)
  • Very low margin interest rates at 4.25% - 6.75%
  • Fractional shares are available
  • Unlike mutual funds, there are no management fees or expense ratios
  • No account inactivity or maintenance fees
  • No-fee IRAs

Motif Investing Review: Cons

  • Complicated investment approach for some investors
  • Options, bonds and mutual funds are not available
  • Extended market hours trading isn’t available

Motif Investing Review Summary

Motif Investing is an online broker, based in Silicon Valley. It is a registered broker-dealer and a member of SIPC. The company’s investors include Goldman Sachs, Foundation Capital, Ignition Partners and Norwest Venture Partners.

Motif Investing offers its customers a unique system of investing which has several stages. First, the user looks for trends, ideas and world events that could create an investment opportunity. Then Motif Investing finds all related stocks and intelligently weights them based on exposure to the idea. In the third step the user tailors his portfolio: he adds or deletes any stock or ETF until he has what he wants. Last step: investor buys up to 30 stocks or ETFs in one motif for a flat $9.95 commission. Alternatively, investors can simply buy motifs that already exist. Clients can start investing with as little as $300.

Standard pricing of $4.95 will be charged if a user sells shares of an individual stock or ETF within motif, or buys/sells individual stock or ETF without a motif. Investing in a motif means that client actually owns the shares of each security in the motif, and can adjust and trade them at will - this is a huge advantage over mutual funds. User can rebalance the number of shares within motif at any time, and it could be done for a low price of $9.95.

Another advantage motifs have over mutual funds is that there is no cost of owning them. With mutual funds investors are paying management and expense ratio fees EVERY year! Over the years this adds up to an enormous amount. With motifs investors don't pay any fees.

Motif Investing offers eight diversified retirement portfolios that can fit investors’ individual needs. These portfolios depend on investor’s current age and the number of years to retirement. As client moves toward retirement, the allocation to growth assets is gradually reduced in favor of low-risk and conservative assets such as bond ETFs and short-term T-bills. At the target date, growth-oriented assets make up around 25% of the portfolio while fixed-income assets and short-term treasury bills represent 60% and 15%, respectively.

Motif Investing created its own social network to help investors communicate with each other. They can share and discuss investing ideas, and ask questions. Users can invite members they trust most to join their own investing circle, and share only what they want to share, with the members they've chosen.

Another unique feature of Motif Investing is that if you created a motif and other members like it and buy it, the company will share profits with you. No other brokerage firm we have reviewed offers this ability.

In conclusion, Motif Investing is an interesting way to invest with a reasonable pricing. But it's definitely not for everyone. While some people are in love with an idea, others find it complicated. There is only one way to find out for sure how you would feel - try it yourself. Account could be opened with $0 down. If you decide it's not for you - there are no account closing fees to worry about (for non-IRA accounts).

Open Motif Investing Account

Open Motif Account

Motif Investing reviewed by Rating: 3.5