It's not Wolf of Wall Street, but it's still pretty damn fun.
An FKD Feature exclusive

Sure, a custom suit might be a little bit outside of your budget, but thanks to Motif, a custom investment portfolio is something you can totally afford – even on a new-grad salary.

Motif is pretty simple in theory: It gives you an easy way to buy into different sectors of the stock market, that were probably too niche to be easily accessible to most of us. I’m talking about things like marijuana manufacturers and athleisure clothing companies. It’s not like there’s a widely known mutual fund that invests only in lululemon and their direct competitors, right?

That’s where Motif comes in. It makes it easy to invest in specific themes and industries that make sense to you, and to build a totally custom portfolio based on those themes.

How Motif works

Motif is an online brokerage that allows individual investors like you and me to buy and sell individual stocks at a low price. That’s all pretty standard, and nothing new when it comes to the online brokerage game, but Motif puts its own twist on things by allowing you to buy themed groups of stocks as well. It calls those groups motifs (cute) and the coolest part is, you can build them yourself – or choose from thousands of motifs that already exist in the app.

What’s a “Motif”?

If you do decide to buy a “motif” in the app, you should probably know what you’re getting beforehand. A motif is a group of 30 stocks that all follow a specific theme, and that theme can be anything from virtual reality companies to concrete wholesalers.

Motif has thousands of these stock groupings already built within the app. You can search using real-life language to find a motif that fits your needs, instead of relying on the cryptic investment jargon that’s usually used to name ETFs and index funds.

And if you can’t find one that specifically suits what you want? You can build your own, and publish it as a motif that other people can find and buy as well.

Built by pros and users like you

That’s right, not only has Motif built a whole range of motifs you can buy that were built by expert investors, it’s also given individual investors like you the chance to contribute to the platform. When a user can’t find a motif for something in which they want to invest, or if they want to tweak an existing group of stocks? They can.

Not only that, they can then publish their new motif to the community, and allow other people to invest in it as well.

I mean, I’m not saying you’re the Wolf of Wall Street or anything, but that’s pretty cool.

So is this like an ETF?

If you know a bit about investing, this might sound an awful lot like a small exchange-traded fund, or ETF if we want to get acronym-y about it. ETFs are groups of stocks built to represent different segments of the market, and some of them are also built to represent the market as a whole.

"Motifs that you can buy within the app are similar to ETFs in a lot of ways."

Motifs that you can buy within the app are similar to ETFs in a lot of ways. They’re a group of stocks meant to reflect a certain market segment, but there are some key differences. ETFs are traded – and regulated – on the stock market as a whole, and they typically charge a management fee.

On the other hand, the motifs that you buy in Motif’s app aren’t traded on the stock market. They’re just a way for you to invest in that group of stocks by using Motif’s technology, and they don’t come with any underlying management fee. Plus, you can build your own, and good luck building your own ETF.

The coolest thing? You can actually buy traditional ETFs by using Motif as well. If that kind of broad market exposure and regulatory stamp of approval is what you’re into, go for it.

Clear pricing, based on what you buy

As with just about anything, it’s important to know how much it’ll cost you before you dive in. Motif has clear, transparent pricing based on what you want to buy – a stock, a motif or an ETF. You’ll pay $4.95 to trade a single stock or an ETF (which is still cheap af) and if you want to buy a motif, you’ll pay $9.95 per trade.

And just to be clear: a trade is a buy or a sell, so don’t be surprised when you see charges for both.

Beyond just simple buying and selling, Motif also offers services to help you manage your portfolio. Some of them come standard, like their analytics tools and market updates based on what you have in your portfolio, but others like automatic rebalancing are based on a subscription model. Those subscriptions start at $4.95 per month, and they can save you a ton of money by making some routine transactions free.

So if you’ve been looking for a way to put your money behind the industries and trends you think will be really big in the next few years? There’s probably a motif just waiting for you in the app.


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*This piece is meant only to expand awareness of available financial tools and products and should not be considered an official endorsement of the product or its outcomes by GenFKD.


Posted 11.22.2016 - 01:37 pm EDT