Which Broker is better for you: M1 Finance or Acorns?
M1 Finance and Acorns are two relatively different and unique investing platforms. One will fit you better than the other depending on your personal finance mentality.
To not bury the lead — While M1 Finance has lower fees (none) compared to Acorns the fee difference is more or less negligible for most accounts. If you cannot commit to just automatically transferring into M1 Finance every week or month automatically then Acorns may be better for you, however to us it’s just as easy to set up such transfers the day you get your paycheck as it is to have purchases ’rounded up’ with acorns.
Below we’ll go more in detail into the fees and benefits of each platform over one another, but to put things simply Acorns is better is if you aren’t interested in learning about investing or financial planning. If you don’t mind allocating a small portion of your income, even if it’s just $25 a week or $50 a month, you can automatically transfer that into M1 Finance and have more freedom over your investments and no fees, which means you’ll make more money in the long-term. That’s what we personally do — use M1 Finance.
Which Platform has Lower Fees?
As briefly touched on before, M1 Finance charges no fees while Acorns charges low-fees of just a few dollars a month for most accounts — ultimately it’s not a big deal either way due to the fee different being so little. Sure one is no-fee, but the other is practically no-fee, so there’s no reason to fuss over it.
In truth the fees don’t matter all too much for either of them, as Acorns has such a little fee that it’s nearly as low as M1 Finances, but when you can get a better platform with more features for free, why not use M1 Finance instead of Acorns?
At least that’s the way we think of it — we prefer the extra features that M1 Finance offers over the unique ones Acorns offers. If you prefer acorns features more (covered below) then paying a few dollars a month for them isn’t a bad idea. It could be the right choice for you.
Which Platform has Better Features?
This is a toss-up, as it depends on what you value. Acorns has the ability to “round up” everyday purchases you make, thus sneakily stealing money from yourself and putting it into investments, which can be useful for people who have, uhm, “spending problems.” No judgment here though, my parents were always those people, as are most people — unless you are mr krabs or have plenty of extra income it’s hard to save without such a tool.
That’s really the only redeeming feature that Acorns has though; Acorns lacks the ability to invest in individual stocks, many ETF’s and funds, and asset classes that M1 Finance allows. Acorns also lacks the ability to research the stocks in more detail, the ability to withdraw money in a tax advantageous way, and the ability to automatically re-balanced a diversified portfolio you may have with them. They also lack the ability to borrow money against your portfolio at a very low interest rate.
Which Platform has Better Customer Service?
In our experience M1 Finance’s customer service is a tiny bit better — to be specific we’ve had slightly responses from them that are more concise than Acorn’s answers, and quite frankly they’re a bit easier to get in contact with — not only do they have a FAQ and chat feature, but you can also email them or call them. In our experience you can get a near-instant reply/help by calling and usually within a few hours to a day if you email them.
This isn’t to say Acorns has bad customer service, it’s not quite as good in our experience compared to M1’s, however compared to Robinhood’s or other primarily mobile-app companies Acorns has pretty good customer service.
Acorns is easy to contact as well by email or a quick phone call, and in our experience they respond just as fast as M1 Finance — however our issue with them is their support is more ‘broad’ and basic — meaning they aren’t always specialized and able to help if you’re having a brokerage-related issue that’s time-urgent, and thus you may be more delayed in receiving a helpful response if you’re having brokerage-specific issues. Otherwise their customer service is fantastic.
Which Platform has The Better Sign-up Bonus?
While both Acorns and M1 Finance offer sign-up bonus programs currently we can only provide you a link to one of them — don’t worry though, we’ll tell you how to get the other ones sign-up bonus if you do want it. This is because we have recently closed our Acorns account, and only current acorns users can refer new users for them to receive the bonus.
With that being said, Acorn’s signup bonus is generally just $5 for free after opening an account with a small sum of funds — we’d recommend asking friends, family, or a discord chat friend if they want to refer you as they’d get $5 as well — alternatively you can check out a search on reddit that pulls up random folks referral codes, that way you help out a stranger and get your sign-up bonus if you do decide to go with Acorns.
As for M1 Finance, they offer a $30 sign-up bonus for all new users, and sometimes offer a sign-up bonus up to $2500 depending on your initial deposit into your account with them — you can read all about M1 Finance’s current signup bonuses on this page of our website, or you can blindly sign-up through this link and just get their $30 basic sign-up bonus offer.
Which Broker is Better for You?
I’m pretty confident in saying M1 Finance is definitely better than Acorns, as truthfully the only benefit of Acorns is the purchase-roundups, but you can easily mimic that by simply setting up recurring transfers from your bank account every week for a small amount and keep the fee that Acorns would normally take from you.
After-all that fee Acorns takes, while small, it can come out to 3-10% or more of what you get through their “round-ups” over the course of the month. Ultimately the fee in nominal terms is very small, and if you already are with Acorns, and aren’t attracted by M1 Finance’s extra features, then it’s not a big enough deal in my opinion to spend time changing your account over.
However if you aren’t already with Acorns we don’t really see a reason to opt for them over M1 Finance — I suppose the only real reason would be if you want an “all-in-one” brokerage + savings + checking account, but if you want that there’s plenty of other no-fee options as well out there, albeit a bit less user-friendly than Acorns.