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How to Invest in the Media Sector and Find Stocks to Invest In

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how to invest in the media sector


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The U.S. media industry is worth $717 billion, representing nearly a third of the global industry. It includes everything from movies, to commercials, streaming content, broadcast, radio, video games, publishing, and music. 

As we continue to consume more information on our phones, the demand for media is likely to grow. Learning how to invest in the media sector is just one way to take advantage of this massive industry. 

The Short Version 

  • Media stocks include everything from news, to film, music, and video games.
  • The U.S. media sector is worth approximately $717 billion. 
  • Six companies control about 90% of U.S. media.
  • There are lots of investment opportunities for investors interested in the media sector.

What Are Media Stocks?

In 1964, Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan wrote that the medium is the message, in his seminal work Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. Media is the plural of medium, and refers to the way news, entertainment and communication is disseminated. Media, he argued, transforms human thought and the way we perceive the world.

Nearly 60 years later, the internet dominates the media in ways that McLuhan could not have foreseen. Virtually every media stock has some online component, even if the companies are not online media stocks themselves. 

Media stocks run the gamut, with about 90% of U.S. media coming from one of six companies: Comcast, The Walt Disney Company, News Corporation, Time Warner, Viacom and CBS. Media stocks include: 

Advertising: The advertising sector consists of public relations and marketing companies that connect manufacturers with consumers. If you’ve seen an ad on Facebook or read an advertorial in a magazine, chances are it’s from an advertising firm. 

Book publishing: One of the more traditional media sectors, book publishing continues to be a strong industry. A lot of that is driven by the rise in e-publishing, and also includes educational and professional publishing. 

Film entertainment: The film and television industry has been transformed by the popularity of streaming. Big players such as Disney have created their own services to compete with popular streaming services like Netflix. 

News: From broadcast to newspapers, news was once one of the biggest media players. Today the news is largely concentrated in the hands of several major companies, with many turning online as print becomes too expensive. 

Music: Global recorded music revenue was $23.1 billion in 2020. Music includes everything from streaming, to physical musical sales and sync licensing. Sync licensing includes any service that includes music, whether that’s an ad, a TV show, restaurant, live entertainment or radio.  

Video games: While video games are often considered their own sector, they are part of the media industry. This $65.5 billion industry has a lot of big players including Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts and even Microsoft.  

How to Invest in the Media Sector

You undoubtedly have firsthand experience with media companies. How many streaming services do you currently subscribe to? Are there services you have stopped using and others you can’t imagine doing without? Maybe there’s a particular game developer you really like. Identifying the media companies you consume is a basic way to get started in determining possible media investment opportunities.   

Large media companies are generally preferable to smaller ones. Size correlates with the ability to negotiate the best deals with marketers. Big media operates along a wide spectrum of brands, meaning companies can use one product or service to promote the others. That diversification is another crucial aspect. The more varied a company’s formats, the less likely weakness in one area will affect its bottom line.

If you want to invest in the media sector, it’s best to look for media companies using the latest in digital technology. At the end of the day, media companies are a type of tech company and innovation is critical.

When it comes to streaming stocks, content is king. The demand for content is insatiable, which is why companies supplying good content should continue to thrive. Other things to consider are the size of the company and, of course, the financial statements of the company itself. 

Top Media Companies and Streaming Services to Invest In

There are a number of companies in the media sector that you can invest in. If you want to diversify your portfolio by investing in a media company, then check out some of the companies below. Remember that this list is not exhaustive, nor are we recommending you buy any of these companies. Only you know if these companies make sense for your portfolio. 

1. Amazon (AMZN)

Amazon started out selling books online before branching out into selling virtually everything. Today Amazon Prime has more than 200 million subscribers, which gives them access to Prime Video and fast shipping. The company does not disclose just how many subscribers regularly view Prime Video, though its streaming selection is heavier on quantity than quality.  The company also boasts its own TV and movie studio, Amazon Studios, and has won numerous awards for its shows. 

In addition to streaming services, Amazon Media Group offers advanced advertising, both on and off Amazon’s site, and focuses on large Amazon vendors. Books are still an important part of the scene, with popular movies and TV series based on books bolstering Amazon’s sales.  

2. AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (AMC

The world’s largest movie theater operation managed to weather the pandemic, and now audiences are returning to the movies. In August, AMC CEO Adam Aron said U.S. ticket revenue was on track to reach 45% of 2019 third-quarter revenue, before Covid-19 brought moviegoing to a halt. AMC also has a deal with Warner Brothers for a 45-day exclusive theatrical release of all its films prior to home release, starting in 2022. Also in 2022, moviegoers can pay for tickets and concessions via Bitcoin.

3. Comcast Corporation (CMCSA

Comcast is one of the top players in the entertainment industry.  It’s the parent company of NBC, NBCUniversal, Xfinity, Sky — one of Europe’s leading entertainment companies — DreamWorks Animation, Universal Pictures, Telemundo and many more well known brands.  Due to the diversification of its revenue streams, a downturn in one area doesn’t necessarily impair Comcast’s overall financials.

Comcast also has a strong presence in wireless services, video, high-speed internet and related industries in the U.S. and Europe. Its revenue diversity makes it a popular investment choice, as it usually performs well in good and bad times.

4. Discovery Communications Inc. (DISCA

Discovery and WarnerMedia are planning to merge, which will create the second-largest media company in the world — with only Disney surpassing it in terms of revenue. Currently, Discovery’s brand portfolio includes top names such as the Discovery Channel, Eurosport, Food Network, HGTV, Animal Planet, TLC and the Oprah Winfrey Network. The WarnerMedia  merger adds such cable powerhouses as HBO, Turner Entertainment Networks, CNN Worldwide, The Cartoon Network and a host of others. There’s also the Warner Brothers film and television studios and their dozens of subsidiaries.

Outside of the U.S., Discovery International covers major satellite and cable markets in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.  

5. Netflix (NFLX)

When it comes to streaming stocks to invest in, Netflix has proved a winner. Although its financial performance has fallen since the early days of the pandemic, it has more than 207 million subscribers worldwide as of mid-2021. Over the past five years, Netflix stock has risen 450%.

In July 2021, Netflix announced it will add video gaming to its repertoire, moving beyond film and TV. Netflix plans to offer video games on its platform within one year, at no extra charge to subscribers. Mike Verdu — who previously worked with developers at Facebook to bring virtual reality games to Oculus VR headsets — has been hired as vice president of game development. He is also the former senior vice president at Electronic Arts, where he oversaw major mobile game studios. 

None of Netflix’s streaming rivals currently offer gaming, and Netflix also plans to move into podcasts. The company looks poised to continue its strong run. It remains a content leader, producing Emmy and Oscar-winning material, and its new ventures should add to its revenue.

6. Roku (ROKU)

Roku offers streaming devices where customers pay only for subscription channels or TV shows or film rentals. With the Roku Channel, consumers can manage all of their streaming packages in one place.

Roku devices are relatively inexpensive and account for a small percentage of the company’s profits. Roku makes the bulk of its money through its Platform segment, which includes advertising, content distribution, licensing deals with other platforms and premium subscriptions. If you use a Roku device to stream, you may have noticed the branded buttons on the remote. Click on Netflix, Disney, Hulu or another offering, and Roku makes a bit of money. 

Supply chain problems are affecting the hardware side, but that should straighten out as the global chip shortage is rectified. The shortage has affected stock prices but Roku should continue its robust growth as consumers cut cords and turn to this leader in the field.

7. Walt Disney (DIS

Everybody knows the Mouse, and Disney is synonymous with family entertainment. With its extensive film library and the success of its Disney+ streaming service, Disney is a sound choice for those investing in streaming TV. While the pandemic hit Disney stock hard as its theme parks closed, cruises ceased and movie theaters closed, the company is up and running again.

Launched in November 2020, Disney+ beat its own sign-up expectations, reaching 10 million subscribers in its first 24 hours. It now has more than 103.6 million subscribers and the service is expected to meet its target of 230-260 million subscribers by the end of 2024. That’s a huge difference from its original subscriber predictions in 2019, when the company expected to have 90 million subscriptions by 2024. It is now second only to Netflix in paid subscriptions. 

Disney+ offers popular streaming bundles with ESPN Plus and Hulu, among other top offerings. Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars are other Disney components. 

This is definitely a buy-and-hold stock, with brand name recognition and plenty of franchise opportunities. 

Do Your Research Before You Invest in the Media Sector

Before you invest in the media sector, make sure you do your research on potential stocks. Doing research on media stocks is generally more fun than other sectors. Business fundamentals always apply, but it’s a good sector for those with a nose for pop culture as media companies are the source from which pop culture emanates. If you have a knack for determining the next “in” thing in the entertainment sphere, media stock research could come naturally. 



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Bitwage’s Stellar implementation will improve millions of lives

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Bitwage’s Stellar implementation will improve millions of lives


The CEO of Bitwage CEO said the company would be improving millions of lives after its recent implementation on the Stellar blockchain

Crypto payroll provider Bitwage announced on Thursday, August 11th, that it is now offering the digital dollar (USDC) stablecoin to be distributed via the Stellar blockchain on their platform.

Thanks to this latest development, companies across the world now have a fully compliant, easy-to-use, and frictionless solution when it comes to paying their employees and contractors globally. 

Following this implementation, Bitwage aims to provide a new solution that makes it easier for companies to hire alent across different continents and countries

At the moment, both companies and workers suffer from issues such as the loss of certain percentage of funds when using the global banking systems, the long waiting time to receive payments and more. 

The issue discourages some companies from hiring talents outside their countries. However, Bitwage’s latest announces means that  workers are now able to receive any percentage of their salaries they want in digital dollars, via USDC. 

This latest development means that companies and employees would enjoy lower costs, same-day deposits of their funds, the ability to store their savings in USD, and the ability to get local currency exactly when they need it.

Credit Bitwage CEO Jonathan Chester exclusively told Coinjournal that;

“It’s been great working with the stellar team. Together, we’ll be empowering millions to receive wages in the currencies they want, faster and cheaper than traditional methods”

By taking advantage of USDC on the Stellar blockchain, workers are given access to USDC on a low-fee blockchain that has one of the longest histories in the industry.

Chester added that;

“USDC on the Stellar network has lower fees, so you can receive your money faster, cheaper and keep it as digital dollars for saving. Our users have been asking for low-cost options for stablecoins and we are very excited to deliver. Now, companies can guarantee cheaper, faster and better payment options to all their workforce. This option is fully regulated and compliant so all companies have to worry about is how to keep their employees happy and not worry about payments issues. Thanks to USDC over Stellar, digital dollars will make a huge change to people’s lives.”

Bitwage said although it made a name for itself in the Bitcoin payroll space, empowering people to get paid in USDC is a great alternative. 

The company concluded that using Bitwage for USDC payroll with Stellar gives both individuals and companies a low-risk option to partake in the crypto payroll revolution.

Bitwage is a San Francisco-based company that offersBitcoin, cryptocurrency and stablecoin payroll services including invoicing and benefits services. The company also offers resources to employers, employees, and freelancers with their robust, online platform.



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Crypto.com obtains a monetary licence in the Cayman Islands

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Crypto.com obtains a monetary licence in the Cayman Islands


Crypto.com is now a registered virtual asset service provider in the Cayman Islands a few weeks after obtaining its licence in Dubai. 

Crypto.com, one of the world’s fastest-growing cryptocurrency platforms, announced on Thursday, August 11th, that it had received registration and regulatory approval as a Virtual Asset Service Provider from the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority. 

Tha ks to this latest development, Crypto.com can offer a suite of products and services in compliance with local regulations.

Kris Marszalek, Co-Founder and CEO of Crypto.com, commented that;

“This regulatory approval in the Cayman Islands is the latest example of Crypto.com’s commitment to compliance and our constructive approach to regulator engagement. We look forward to expanding our suite of offerings and services available, and continuing to work with stakeholders across sectors on advancing blockchain technology.”

The cryptocurrency exchange has been expanding its presence globally and now has over 50 million users on its platform. 

Crypto.com said today’s announcement comes after it received in-principle approval for a Major Payment Institution License from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, provisional approval of its Virtual Asset License from the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority, Electronic Financial Transaction Act and Virtual Asset Service Provider registration in South Korea.

Furthermore, Crypto.com is also registered in Italy under the Organismo Agenti e Mediatori (OAM), registered in Greece by the Hellenic Capital Market Commission, and registered in Cyprus by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Crypto.com has been around since 2016 and currently serves millions of traders and investors globally. 

The Cayman Islands is one of the most cryptocurrency-friendly countries in the world. Virtual assets (cryptocurrencies and other digital assets) in the Cayman Islands are accepted as digital representations of value that can be electronically traded and used for investment purposes.

Crypto.com said it is committed to accelerating the adoption of cryptocurrency via innovation and empowering the next generation of builders, creators, and entrepreneurs.



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M1 Finance Review 2022 | A Robo Advisor & Brokerage Hybrid

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M1 Finance Review 2022 | A Robo Advisor & Brokerage Hybrid


Advertising Disclosure
This article/post contains references to products or services from one or more of our advertisers or partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products or services

M1 Finance can perhaps be described best as a hybrid robo advisor and traditional investment brokerage firm. However, we’re going to classify it as the former, since we think this may well be the future of the robo advisor sector.

But this platform also offers the ability to borrow and spend your money alongside investing tools. Our M1 Finance review is covering how all of these features work, the pros and cons, and how to ultimately decide if this hybrid robo advisor is right for you.


Commissions & Fees – 10


Customer Service – 7


Ease of Use – 9


Tools & Resources – 7.5


Investment Options – 9.5


Asset Allocation – 9

8.5

Although it doesn’t offer tax-loss harvesting or mutual fund investing and is not ideal for active traders, M1 is a top-notch robo-advisory service. Its fees are low, it charges no commissions, and there’s no required minimum deposit.

Invest for FREE with M1 Finance

Pros & Cons

pros

  • M1 doesn’t charge broker fees or commissions.
  • A low $100 minimum investment requirement.
  • M1 lets you select your own investments and applies automated portfolio management.
  • There’s no fee for buying and selling securities within each Pie.
  • M1 maintains your investment allocations using fractional shares thereby fully investing your money.

cons

  • M1 doesn’t recognize certain investments, such as employer-sponsored retirement plans.
  • M1 isn’t for active traders like day-traders.
  • No tax-loss harvesting.

What Is M1 Finance?

M1 Finance is a versatile financial services company that began in 2015. It offers both a robo advisor but elements of an online broker, plus the ability to borrow money and use a credit card. The fact you can customize your portfolio but also rely on prebuilt M1 portfolios also makes it one of the more flexible robo advisors out there.

Overall, M1 Finance caters to both hands-off and active investors. And with its low fees and a $100 investing minimum, it’s also very beginner-friendly.

M1 Features

Minimum Investment $0
Fees None
Accounts
  • Taxable
  • Joint
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Rollover IRA
  • SEP IRA
  • SIMPLE IRA
  • 401(k)
  • Solo 401(k)
  • Trusts
  • Limited Partnerships
  • Partnerships
  • Coverdell
  • 529
  • Custodial
  • Non-Profit
  • 401(k) Guidance
401(k) Assistance
Tax Loss Harvesting
Portfolio Rebalancing
Automatic Deposits

Daily, Weekly, and Monthly

Advice Automated
Smart Beta
Socially Responsible
Fractional Shares
Customer Service Phone: M-F 9A-5P CT; Email
  • Dividends — All dividend income will be reinvested in your portfolio once it reaches at least $10.
  • Tax reporting — M1 integrates directly with H&R Block and TurboTax.
  • Margin account status — Since M1 doesn’t hold any of your portfolios in cash, your account is established as a margin account if it has a balance of over $2,000. The margin account status enables you to withdraw money quickly from your account without having to liquidate asset positions.
  • Free consultation — You can schedule a free consultation with a product specialist who will show you around the platform and discuss how it will benefit you.
  • Possible ETFs and stocks used — M1 has over 6,000 ETFs and stocks available for you to choose from, with individual stocks that are available on either the New York Stock Exchange or the Nasdaq (preferred stocks are excluded).
  • Account protection — The SIPC covers up to $500,000, including $250,000 in cash, against broker failure.

How Does M1 Finance Work?

M1 departs from other robo advisors in that it gives you complete control over the investment process in your portfolio. That even includes security selection. M1 manages your ongoing investment flow. But you are in complete control of how your money is invested. You can even make changes after the fact.

M1 Investment Portfolio Templates

M1’s robo investing element provides investment portfolio templates, referred to as “Pies.” The Pies are based on Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT). Most robo advisors use MPT in their algorithms. But unlike other robo advisors, with M1, there’s no questionnaire used to determine your investment risk tolerance.

You can invest all of your money in one of these prebuilt templates or customize it in any way that you want. M1 then automatically manages your account by maintaining your allocations within the Pie through rebalancing and allocating your new contributions.

But M1 works more like a traditional investment brokerage platform in that you can choose your own investments for your Pies. You can even purchase individual stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) within your account — as well as the prebuilt Pies.

M1 Pie Investing

As mentioned above, “Pies” are the basis of investing with M1. During the signup process, you will be offered a suggested Pie with preselected investment categories. Each Pie is a collection of as many as 100 “slices.” Each slice represents an investment — be it a stock, an ETF or even another pie.

M1 Finance: The Author's Pie

The Pie then becomes the tool that you will use to manage your portfolio. M1 has more than 60 pre-built pies for you to choose from. You can also customize them by adding any stocks or ETFs that trade on either the New York Stock Exchange or the Nasdaq.

Once you’ve made your Pie selections, M1 will automatically buy your investments in the correct proportions, both when you initially fund your account and when you add additional funds.

Available Investment Categories

M1 has Pies available from all of the following categories:

  • General Investing — a diversified portfolio based on your own risk tolerance
  • Plan for Retirement — invest for your target retirement date
  • Responsible Investing — options for the socially responsible investor
  • Income Earners — builds a portfolio based on dividends and income returns
  • Hedge Fund Followers — mimics investment strategies from some of the most successful investors and reputable hedge funds
  • Industries and Sectors — enables you to invest in specific sectors
  • Just Stocks and Bonds — builds a diversified portfolio with two ETFs, focused on stocks and bonds
  • Other Strategies — additional investment strategies to help you find what works best for you

Each of these general Pie categories also offers variations. For example, the Just Stocks & Bonds Pie offers nine different Pies. You can choose a mix of 10% stocks and 90% bonds, 20% stocks and 80% bonds, and all the variations up to and including 90% stocks and 10% bonds.

M1 Finance: The Stocks and Bonds Pies
M1 Finance: The Stocks and Bonds Pies

Each Pie listed also includes the dividend yield, historical performance and risk level.

Outlining all of these options helps you pick the Pie composition that best fits your investing goals and level of risk tolerance.

Filling Your Pie

You can also customize your Pie. M1 offers nearly 2,000 ETFs that you can use in its construction. You can just check off the fund from the list and add it to your Pie. You can also add individual stocks from a similar display.

I chose the 70/30 Pie, which accounted for 50% of my custom Pie, and then added three stocks and one bond ETF. The Pie looked like this:

Once you have constructed your Pie, you save the changes, and it forms the basis of your investment portfolio going forward. You can also create different Pies for various investment goals. There’s no limit to how many Pies you can own in your account (yet another departure from other robo advisors).

Other M1 Finance Features

Automated investing with M1’s Pie system is what this robo advisor is known for. However, there are several other banking features you can take advantage of.

M1 Spend

Another feature M1 Finance provides is a free rewards checking account. This account pays 1% cash back and 1.70% APY if you’re an M1 Plus member, which is the platform’s $125 premium annual plan.

This APY is competitive with many high-yield savings accounts, so it’s a nice option for parking idle cash before investing.

You use a Visa debit card for transactions, and you get other perks like:

  • Early direct deposit up to two days early
  • $0 balance requirement
  • One free ATM withdrawal per month (four for M1 Plus members)
  • No foreign transaction fees for M1 Plus members
  • Up to $250,000 in FDIC-insurance

The Owner’s Rewards Card by M1

As part of M1 Spend, you can also open a rewards credit card to maximize your cash-back.

With The Owner’s Rewards Card by M1 you earn up to 10% cash back when you spend money at companies you own. M1 Finance organizes 70+ brands in to three different reward tiers:

  • Tier One (10% Cash Back): Includes companies like AMC, Dollar General, Netflix, Spotify, and Tesla.
  • Tier Two (5% Cash Back): Includes companies like American Airlines, BP, Etsy, Nike, Starbucks, and Wayfair.
  • Tier Three (2.5% Cash Back): Includes companies like Apple, Airbnb, Amazon, DoorDash, and Target.

You only need to own $0.01 of a share in a company to earn cash-back when you purchase from it. And your Owner’s Rewards Card also pays 1.5% cash back everywhere else.

The main downside of this card is cash-back rewards cap at $200 per month. But you can automatically reinvest cash back into your M1 portfolio, putting your money to work faster. And you also get perks from Visa, like Visa Zero Liability and access to its Signature Luxury Hotel Collection.

There’s a $95 annual fee for this card, but M1 waives the fee for Plus members.

M1 Borrow

Customers can borrow money against their investments, with a line of credit equal to 40% of portfolio value. Rates depend on if you’re a regular M1 customer or an M1 Plus customer. Regular customers get a borrowing rate of 4.25% while Plus customers get a 2.75% rate.

You also get a flexible payment schedule; there isn’t a minimum monthly loan repayment amount. You can also create an automated payback schedule to gradually pay off your loan.

Note that M1 Borrow is only available for margin accounts with at least $2,000 invested. It’s not available for retirement, custodial, or trust accounts.

Tax Minimization

M1 doesn’t offer tax-loss harvesting (TLH). But they do offer a new feature called “Tax Minimization” standard on all accounts. This feature enables you to sell asset positions in the most tax-favorable way.

Whenever you sell an investment, M1 prioritizes the sale in a way that will minimize your taxes. The order of assets sold looks like this:

  1. Lots that don’t result in a tax liability
  2. Lots that result in long-term gains
  3. Lots that result in short-term gains

While it’s likely that this strategy will, in fact, minimize your taxes, it doesn’t seem likely to have the same consistent benefit that’s provided by TLH.

M1 Crypto Investing

In July 2022, M1 Finance announced that cryptocurrency investing is coming to the platform. If you have a funded M1 Invest account, you can apply sign up for early access to a M1 Crypto account when it becomes available. This account will offer:

    • Expert Crypto Pies: Create M1 Pies based on different strategies like DeFi, Web3, and various large-cap cryptocurrencies. You can also set target percentages for different pies in your M1 Crypto portfolio.
    • Automated Trading: Since crypto trades 24/7, M1 Crypto users will be able to place their own orders and create automated trading rules to run their portfolio.
    • Dynamic Rebalancing: M1 can rebalance your portfolio when you make a deposit to help keep you on target with your goals.
    • Commission-Free Trading: M1 Crypto doesn’t charge any trading fees. However, Apex Crypto, the custodian that actually securely holds your crypto, charges a 1% or 100 basis points fee to all crypto transactions.

Once you sign up for early access to M1 Crypto, you get notified via the app and email when you’re eligible to start investing.

Branching into crypto alongside stock and ETF trading is a massive improvement for M1 Finance. FTX is leading the charge at the moment for stock and crypto investing under one platform alongside investment apps like Robinhood and Public. But M1 Finance is one of the first hybrid brokers and robo advisors to branch into cryptocurrency trading.

M1 Finance Fees: M1 Basic vs. M1 Plus

M1 Finance doesn’t charge portfolio management fees or trading fees. This is one of its main competitive advantages since most robo advisors charge annual fees.

The main fee you can pay is for M1 Plus, which costs $125 per year. M1 Plus customers get perks like cash-back with their Visa debit card, 1.70% APY on the checking account, and better borrowing rates.

Additionally, M1 Plus customers can use its Smart Transfer feature. This lets you set rules to manage your various accounts so you have the right amount of money when you need it. For example, you can create a rule to deposit a specific amount of money in your checking account to cover monthly expenses but to automatically invest the rest so you’re not over-saving.

Here’s how M1 Basic and M1 Plus compare against one another:

 
M1 Basic
M1 Plus
Annual Cost
$0
$125
Trading Windows
AM only
AM and PM
Borrow Rate
4.25%
2.75%
Checking APY
0%
1.70%
Checking Cash Back
0%
1%
Owner’s Rewards Card Fee
$95 annually
Waived
Smart Transfers
No
Yes

Other potential M1 fees you can encounter include:

  • Inactivity Fee: $20 for accounts with up to $20 and no activity for at least 90 days.
  • IRA Termination: $100.
  • Outgoing Account Transfers: $100.
  • Wire Transfer: $25.

Right now, M1 Finance is giving customers a free year of Plus, so it’s the perfect time to maximize the rewards you can get.

Opening an M1 Account

In order to sign up for an account with M1, you first need to create a password. Once you do, you’ll be directed into the first part of a three-step process:

  1. Build Portfolio
  2. Create Brokerage Account
  3. Fund Your Account

The Build Portfolio part introduces you to the M1 Pie concept. At that phase of the signup, you will determine your portfolio as described above. Once you have created your portfolio, you then complete the application process and fund your account.

How to Contact M1 Finance

You can reach M1 Finance customer support by using the live chat widget or submitting an email support ticket on its website. You can also call M1 Finance at 312-600-2883. Customer support hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 4:00pm ET unless there’s a market holiday.

Is M1 Finance Safe?

M1 Finance is a safe, and the company is a registered broker/dealer with FINRA and a member of the SIPC. This means you get up to $500,000 in SIPC insurance for your investments and up to $250,000 in FDIC insurance for cash in your M1 Spend account.

Furthermore, M1 Finance says all data is encrypted to protect your privacy. Users can also enable extra security features like two-factor authentication to keep their accounts safe.

Best Alternatives

We think M1 Finance is one of the best robo advisors on the market because of its lack of fees and the control it gives you to pick your investments.

However, other robo advisors and wealth management companies might be superior depending on the types of portfolios you want to invest in or if you want human advice. Here’s how M1 Finance compares to Betterment and Personal Capital, two other popular options for investing and building wealth.

Betterment is an excellent alternative that also offers a variety of investment ETF portfolios at an affordable price. Their portfolios are based on modern portfolio theory and they also offer an SRI portfolio called the Broad Impact portfolio. This portfolio focuses more on companies that meet specific social, environmental and governance goals. Betterment costs 0.25% annually but includes features like tax-loss harvesting.

As for Personal Capital, it offers professional wealth management services for clients with over $100,000 to invest. If you want human advice and a tailored portfolio, this is your best option. Plus, Personal Capital also has a host of free tools like an investment fee analyzer, retirement planner, and budgeting software.

The Bottom Line

M1 is one of the more interesting of the automated investment platforms that have been coming out in the last few years. You choose the investments that go into your portfolio.

The platform then performs all of the day-to-day management of your account, including regular rebalancing. Plus, it’s now free. That’s right — there are no longer any broker fees or commissions.

Since you select your own investments (though you could simply default to the pre-built pies), it isn’t quite the fire-and-forget platform that pure robo advisors, such as Betterment and Wealthfront are.

M1 is primarily for buy-and-hold investors who prefer to select their own investments. At the same time, it can enable you to have control over your investments, without having the day-to-day responsibility of managing the portfolio.

If M1 allowed investment in mutual funds, offered tax-loss harvesting, and retirement planning tools, we’d be giving this platform a higher rating. But apart from those three missing pieces, M1 is very much worthy of consideration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is M1 Finance Free?


M1 Financ doesn’t charge commission on stock and ETF trades or annual management fees for its robo-advisor. This makes most of its core offerings free. However, it charges $125 per year for the M1 Plus membership and $95 annually for the Owner’s Rewards Card.

How Does M1 Finance Make Money?


M1 Finance generates money in several ways, including interest on cash, interest on lending securities, M1 Borrow, and payment for order flow. The company also makes money from M1 Plus membership fees.

Is M1 Finance Legit?


M1 Finance is a legitimate company that’s also a FINRA Regulated broker-dealer. It provides commission-free trading and a no-fee robo advisor. The company is transparent about how it generates revenue and what also provides customers with protection like FDIC-insurance on cash balances. Overall, it’s a safe and legitimate way to invest.







The Owner’s Rewards Card by M1 Disclosure – M1 Owner’s Rewards Card by M1 Powered by Deserve and issued by Celtic Bank, a Utah-Chartered Industrial Bank, Member FDIC.

 



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