Motif Investing Review

Motif is a unique and fascinating startup brokerage platform. Whereas other platforms suffer from user education issues, complicated UIs, and Byzantine quantities of details, Motif creates a one of a kind sweet spot. Remarkably, Motif makes a major point out of ethical investing and offers a quiz to determine the user’s favorite issues so that you can invest in them.

You’re not forced to go along with what Motif claims are ethical choices, but investing ethically is always a bit more exciting. I found this feature to be appealing because it opens an entire field of ethical preferences in a formerly untouchable space.

If you’re anti-war, you don’t have to invest in weapons companies when you use Motif as your brokerage. If you’re pro-labor, you can invest in companies which have proven records of being good to their employees.

Motif makes all this information ready for you to access and pass judgment on, and that’s one of the platform’s major value-adds.

I highly recommend anyone with interest in brokerages or investing strategies to keep reading, because Motif is quite the ride. As far as who Motif is intended for, I’d say that casual users are the target.

There aren’t any technical features to play with on Motif, which is both a boon and a drawback. If you’re looking for a serious contender for managing your accounts for retirement or general wealth growth, I highly suggest checking out Motif.

Motif’s platform isn’t like any other brokerage you’ve ever used or even heard of, and because of that, it requires a bit of explanation before diving into the feature set.

What’s an investment motif?

motif trading explanation In Motif’s parlance, a motif is a collection of roughly thirty stocks or bonds that unite a common theme or industry. The motif is the primary unit of investment for using the platform, and you use the money in your account to buy into various motifs as blocks.

You get to decide which motifs you invest in, and the motifs themselves are generated either by the company, other users, or you. Rather than performing research on individual assets, the user checks out the performance of a motif.

Everything on the platform circles back to moving your money into motifs. There’s no trading of options. There are no tricky trades whatsoever. There’s no exhaustive asset analysis or forecasting. There are motifs and the performance of those motifs.

And for this brokerage platform, that’s just fine. Motif is unique among brokerages that I’ve used because it has a very limited feature set, but doesn’t ever lead to you feeling as though a feature you want is absent. Everything is calibrated to work within the system of investing into motifs.

Getting started

Motif types and returns The signup and login for Motif are quite different from other brokerages. First, you’ll need to pick a pricing package for your account. The three options are BLUE Starter, BLUE Standard, and BLUE Unlimited. Each level up grants more features such as market reports, automatic rebalancing, and real-time stock quotes.

I would like to point out that real-time stock quotes don’t come standard with the Motif package, and that committing to any one of these three packages isn’t the end of your fees.

Once you’ve picked the pricing plan and logged in, it’s time for you to have your ethical preferences and investment goals surveyed. Do you care about sustainable businesses, or do you prefer businesses that have minorities well-represented?

Are you looking to invest in a retirement account, or are you just along for the wealth-growth ride? Don’t worry, you don’t need any paperwork on hand, nor do you need to worry that you’ll be labeled as heartless if you’re agnostic to the ethical preferences the platform offers. If you do give the platform your ethical input, you’ll see a few suggested motifs right off the bat. If not, you’ll still be able to access those motifs anyway.

Picking a motif

motif catgories

Remember, there’s no such thing as “making a trade” per se with the Motif platform. Your primary control surface for your wealth is in your distribution of motifs. Picking a motif is like picking an index fund for a theme or industry, except that all the stocks within the motif pass the “is it ethical?” test.

There’s also no real “research” functionality beyond examining the motifs that interest you. From the hub screen, you’ll see a few suggestions on the hottest motifs of the moment. In my experience, these hot motifs are typically collections of high-risk stocks in industries that have a reputation for wild volatility such as biotech or electronic entertainment.

Let the buyer beware: you’ll get notified of how risky each motif is, but you’ll likely be wowed by the gains that you see. Don’t let your excitement get the better of you. Motifs can lose value just as easily as they can gain value. The system will prompt you to pick a few motifs to start, and then make the necessary trades for you.

Making new motifs

breakdown of motif stock contents

Making a new motif is a feature for advanced users, and it’s not necessary to get the most out of the platform. If you’re creative, you can pick out individual stocks and add them under a brand-new motif.

There’s not much benefit in doing this from what I can tell, but if you’re inspired enough to play investment manager, the option is there for you. Other users will be able to use your motif for their purposes, which may or may not be something that you want. All motifs are public, and all motifs are accessible for all subscribers.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Motif


  • Unique investment planning tool
  • Easy to understand
  • Collaborative with other investors
  • Beautiful and responsive interface
  • Good mobile application
  • Support for IPOs
  • Emphasizes ethical investments
  • Easy to run hands-off
  • Can buy on margin
  • Transparent about risks


  • No technical trading
  • No live stock prices
  • No individual stock trading
  • All investment motifs are public
  • Many additional fees
  • Expensive monthly plan

Is Motif right for you?

Motif investing is a new platform that is still taking shape. I’d highly suggest anyone interested in investing to grow wealth to check out Motif. It’s an awesome platform because it bucks the typical expectations for a brokerage.

Motif is also very abstract in its investment allotment and encourages users to pick from a few high-level options rather than get bogged down in the details. Motif’s approach to ethical investing is a breath of fresh air, and despite its high fees and limited functionality, gets my seal of approval.


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