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Motif Investing Review

securely through Motif Investing's website

1 Minute Review

Motif’s website reads: “Motif is a technology-driven thematic investing company.” Hang in there. That techno-jargon simply means that a motif makes up a basket of up to 30 stocks or ETFs, intelligently weighted to reflect an investment theme, market insight or innovative trend. To keep it simple, you can invest in your beliefs and customize the list of funds put into those thematic areas.

Best For

  • Do-it-yourself investors who want to save money, or
  • Extreme DIYers with a very specific niche (motif) in which you’d like to invest

Pros

  • Great for investors looking to invest in a particular sector
  • Excellent for conscience-driven investors

Cons

  • Not for active traders
  • No automatic dividend reinvestment

Motif can satisfy both hands-on and hands-off investors in different ways. (Hands-on investors will love it because they can build a very specific motif, just for them. For hands-off investors, the appeal comes in the form of long-term investing that can be chosen just once.

What Motif offers

Motif’s “thematic elements” weave “here and now” trends into targeted investing. For example, one highlighted theme is the aging of America, which is a portfolio crafted around the idea that as Baby Boomers age, there will be more demand for treatments and therapies for seniors, assisted living and government spending on health care.

Another example takes advantage of artificial intelligence (AI) and the increased tech investment opportunities it provides, from software to services. Motif allows you to invest in companies that develop or interact with AI in some way. Other thematic elements you can specifically choose include:

  • National defense
  • Technological innovation
  • Real estate

Each of these thematic elements offers an index in which you can invest. For example, from Motif’s website:

The Motif Capital National Defense Price Return Index (the “Index”) provides exposure to stocks of certain companies concentrated in the aerospace and defense, construction and engineering, construction machinery and heavy trucks, IT consulting and other services, electronic equipment and instruments, and communications equipment sub-industries that may benefit from increased defense-related spending by the United States and foreign governments.

Impact portfolios

Individual, joint and trust accounts are Motif’s non-retirement options. Of course, the company offers retirement accounts in the form of Traditional, Roth and Rollover IRAs.

What’s different about Motif is that it’s designed for you to be able to align your financial goals with your values. For example, if you’re interested in sustainability for the planet, corporate responsibility or fair labor, you can invest in assets that align with these concepts.

Trading account

Again, a motif makes up a basket of up to 30 stocks or ETFs, intelligently weighted to reflect an investment theme, market insight or innovative trend. Motif offers more than 150 motifs to choose from, or you can also create your own motif. If you go that route, you can add, subtract or modify the stocks you’d like to have in your motif.

According to Motif’s website, trading accounts do not have an account minimum. To invest in a motif, you can start investing for as little as $300. To trade on margin, you’ll need a minimum balance of $2,000.

Initial Public Offerings (IPOs)

If you’re interested in investing in initial public offerings, or IPOs, Motif can get you started in the right direction. All customers with a valid individual, joint, or retirement brokerage account are eligible to participate in an IPO.

For example, check out the DERMAdoctor, Inc. IPO that Motif has on its website right now.

Commissions and fees

At a minimum investment of $1,000 and a 0.25% annual fee, Motif can offer a lot of options for a relatively small up-front investment, particularly because you can invest using a dollar amount and purchase partial shares, too.

On its most basic level, Motif charges $4.95 per share and $9.95 to $19.95 per motif. However, it’s important to check out Motif’s complete list of commissions and fees.

Platform and tools

One of the most interesting parts of the website and the most fun to tinker with is the “Motif Catalog,” where investors can explore motifs more thoroughly, from community (those created by individual investors who are willing to share their motifs) to professional motifs (those created by Motif).

There are lots of different kinds of motifs: “Social Networking,” “World of Sports,” “Black Gold”… the sky’s the limit on the different types you can encounter.

Motif also offers a lengthy blog with great information about a variety of topics, and while they’re timeless, the majority of the blog hasn’t been updated recently.

Customer service

You can call a toll free number or email Motif for more help from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.

For more information and education about investing, Motif offers a blog that can help answer a lot of questions as well. Trading ideas, investing insights and Hardeep’s (the founder’s) thoughts are also great resources that can answer basic questions if you’re not interested in waiting for an email back or making a quick phone call.

Ease of use

The entire website on an educational level is simple and intuitive. Motif is easy to use on the actual investing steps as well, which is part of its appeal. It takes the complex process of choosing your motif and distills it into concrete options that fit your situation.

Final thoughts

In January, Motif conducted a national survey of customers and non-customers to better understand Americans’ motivations and behaviors when it comes to investing.

According to the survey, 84% of Americans said personal values were somewhat or very important when putting their money to work. Sixty-four percent of American investors don’t have a clear understanding of their investment holdings and 72% have no idea whether their investments align with their values, according to the survey.

Hooray for Motif for taking note and crafting a company around what investors want and need.