Motif Investing

Reviewed by:
On August 31, 2016
Last modified:September 27, 2016


Motif Investing is a great platform for investors that don't want to spend hours choosing stocks for their portfolio, but want more choices than robo advisors currently offer. The cost is cheap and the value is there. We rate it 4.7 stars. It is particularly good for beginners and intermediate investors.

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What is Motif Investing

Motif Investing is a broker that allows you to create baskets of stocks or ETFs and customize the weights of the basket you have created. Each basket is called a Motif, and can hold up to 30 stocks at once. At its simplest, Motif Investing makes it possible to create and manage your own ETF for a very small fee. The idea behind Motif is that instead of spending upwards of $300 to purchase shares of 30 different stocks, a user can bundle the stocks and pay one fee of $9.95 and get them all.

Each motif is build around a theme of some sort (hence the name). If you are a beginner and would like to just pick a market or theme, Motif has its own professionally created motifs that you can choose to buy into. They claim to build the Motifs around the way everyday people think.

We looked at a few specific examples to get an idea or what Motif means  by “how people think” for this review. We typed in Obamacare and got two professional Motif options. One Motif called “Obamacare” is built around companies that will do better because of the new Obamacare law such as hospitals, pharmacies, and electronic medical records companies.

Review for Motif Investing

The “Obamacare” Motif tracks stocks that will succeed with Obamacare. You can see (and edit) your weights in each Motif. This account was created specifically for this Motif Investing Review.

Another Motif tracks the opposite, choosing to look for companies that will succeed if Obamacare fails and is repealed. This Motif is called “Repeal Obamacare”. This is a great timesaver if an investor doesn’t want to spend hours researching stocks, but believes they have a good idea where a certain sector of the market may go.

Beginners and Experts alike can choose industries and themes that they believe will succeed. They can build their own Motifs around their beliefs, find professional Motifs, or they can choose other Motif Investing users Motifs.

Motif has carved out a great space in the investing niche by creating software that mixes individual stock picking, and index fund investing. It allows you to truly build and manage your own portfolio, but at a fraction of the cost.

Social Investing with Motif

As part of this Motif Investing review we looked into the social aspect of Motif. This allows you to view Motifs that other users have created and invest in the same group of stocks. This is a great feature for beginners that may not feel completely comfortable picking their own stocks or themes.

One of the best features of the social section of Motif is that you can view how other users portfolios are doing. As shown in the screen shot below, you can search and find the current most successful portfolios and choose to invest in the same Motifs if you so wish.

Motif social review for Investors

Motif Investing allows you to view top Motifs over the past 30 days and then invest in those same Motifs.

One interesting feature of Motif is the ability to make money if other users sign up for your custom Motif. Motif offers $1 for every person that signs up for a Motif that you create from scratch. Chances are that you won’t make much of this, but perhaps it could pay trading fees! At the very least you get the good feeling that comes from knowing people respect your expertise!

Motif Review Specifics

Price to Purchase Motif – 9.95 per Motif

Minimum Investment – Technically none, but need $250 to get started trading. Please note that this minimum is a PER MOTIF MINIMUM.

Minimum Investment for Margin Trading – $2,000, which is standard

Withdrawal Fee – No withdrawal fee. Standard ACH withdrawal directly to bank account in 3-5 days

Dividend Reinvestment – Currently no way to reinvest dividends meaning that it must be done manually

Mobile App – Yes, they have a robust mobile app with 95% positive ratings

Insured – Yes, Motif investing is SIPC insured

Account Types – Individual, traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Rollover IRA, Trust, Joint

Maximum Stocks Per Motif – Each Motif can have up to 30 stocks or ETFs

Investing in IPOs with Motif

In 2015, Motif Investing partnered with J.P. Morgan in an attempt to make IPOs accessible to even the smallest of investors. The minimum buy in was said to be $250 (which is Motif’s minimum). Motif has an entire page built around this service, however no IPOs are currently showing and it sounds like there have not been any IPOs as of the date of this Motif Investing Review. We will continue to update if IPOs come available, but do not expect to be investing in IPOs as soon as you set up your Motif account.

Commission-free Investing with Motif

As part of this review we wanted to touch briefly on Horizon Motifs. These are similar to commission-free ETFs. They are for investors that do not want to pay fees, or do not have enough invested to make it worth the fees. Horizon Motifs work similar to target-date funds or robo advisors. They allow you to select a time frame for retirement, and their algorithm will determine the proper allocation of assets for you. This is great for beginners that don’t want to pay commission, and may not understand proper asset allocations.

We looked at their different allocations and they seem to be sitting at very similar returns currently. This is perhaps because the Motifs are relatively new and have not had time to grow apart.

Motif Investing Premium

Note: This was added to the Motif Review later as this is a recent update. Motif recently came out with Motif premium which is more aimed at active stock traders. Rather then the pay-per-trade model, Motif Premium is a subscription model of investing. Motif algorithms will automatically invest and balance your portfolio. You can set it to automatically pull recurring amounts from your bank and invest in Motifs of your choice. The idea is to help keep your investments as close to your original investing strategy as possible.

All trades that are made within the Motif Premium account are commission free, but the monthly fee will likely even things out.


Switch back to regular plan – Yes, Motif will allow you to change plans back to your original Motif Investing plan if you are not happy with the premium plan

Eligible motifs – Not all Motifs are eligible, only professional or custom Motifs

Commission-free limit – Yes, you get one commission-free trade a month with the Premium Plus plan and three with the Premium Unlimited plan.

To conclude this review, Motif Investing has a solid platform that has been well thought out and offers genuine value. It allows investors to build large and diversified portfolios without paying excessive commission fees. It has a good community of users and is quickly adding new features and growing in popularity.

Looking for a more basic online stock broker? Check out our guide on choosing the best online broker for beginners!

Motif Investing is a great platform for investors that don't want to spend hours choosing stocks for their portfolio, but want more choices than robo advisors currently offer. The cost is cheap and the value is there. We rate it 4.7 stars. It is particularly good for beginners and intermediate investors.


  • Mikkie says:

    What does it mean dividend reinvestment?

  • Purchase Remedio says:

    Hi there! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog on my site.
    Is it very hard to set up reviews and such? I’m not very technical
    but I can figure things out pretty quick.

    BTW. I love your reviews and usually will see if you have a review for something before I sign up.

  • Michelle says:

    You think Motif will still be around in 40 years?

  • A Stock Trader – Slow and Steady Always Wins the Race | Ambition Media says:

    There is constantly handful of tools and methods readily available using which a stock investor could play a secure game, yet frequent market variations and also economic situation defy all such tools readily available. In fact, in recent researches, it has been revealed that even one of the most widely accepted fundamental and technical analysis failed to work appropriately, stock prices resulted as opposed to as was illustrated by such evaluation. The reason behind this failing is the unstable nature and unpredictability of the stock market.

  • Will says:

    Now is the best time to make a few plans for the longer term
    and it is time to prepare to retire. I have read this put up and will sign up for Motif I think. There are so many now that it is hard to decide but everyone seems to say Motif investing is solid.

  • ClarenceLRae says:

    Great stuff man! Do you have a review of Betterment? I don’t wanna just try a buch of this. I would rather pick one and have it be right the first time.

  • […] The idea of Motif is that you can have some say in your retirement without being an expert or having to research specific stocks. There is a great explanation and review of Motif here. […]

  • JoeHFischang says:

    Alright I’m gonna try Motif. Reviewer better be right.

  • DavisMErby says:

    I use Motif and have done so for nearly a year. No complaints here. I don’t have a lot of experience with their competitors but no point in fixin what aint broke.

  • Dominga Pu says:

    Have you considered about including a little more than only your articles?

    I love video reviews where I actually get to see the backend and stuff. Loved the details, just love video 🙂

    Awesome blog!

    • Jonathan Delgagio says:

      Great question. Yes, I will be doing video reviews in the future, but we need to get our video dept. set up first!

  • Emelda Aud says:

    Loved the review. One question though. Why invest in a motif when you can just buy an ETF commission-free with TD Ameritrade?

  • I think the Motif gives you a lot more control where an ETF basically chooses all the stocks. A motif is an ETF you create around anything you want. Pretty cool idea really.

  • test says:

    Great post! We will be linking to this review as a reference on our site. Hope that’s okay!

  • Hersh says:

    I actually use Motif Investing for my entire IRA. No issues yet, and killing it with the Obamacare Motif 😉

  • test says:

    Anyone actually used Motif here?

  • OttoPDahan says:

    There’s is certainly a lot to investing that I don’t understand. Do you recommend motif for beginners, or are there ones like robinhood that would be better?

  • Smithf says:

    Wonderful review. Do you have some kind of subscriber or RSS I can use?

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