Finding investments that align with your social values isn't always easy; socially responsible mutual funds have high expenses and minimum investments. Motif is an alternative broker that lets you create baskets of stocks for a single trade commission.

New investors wanting to dip their toes into the markets for the first time face an overwhelming number of complex decisions. For example:

I’ve written before about a few mutual funds that can help you get started with sustainable/green investing here and here.

Mutual funds are a great way to begin investing because they allow you to purchase a diversified group of investments in one transaction and at almost any broker. But mutual funds can have high minimum investment requirements and may not allow new investors to customize a portfolio with a limited amount to invest.

This is why alternative brokers like Betterment may be a better option for new investors. Betterment provides pure and simple index investing with no minimums. With Betterment, you invest in a portfolio that tracks the overall stock and bond markets according to the goal you select. That’s great for investors who crave simplicity, but it doesn’t give you the ability to customize your portfolio to focus on specific sectors or companies that share your values

That’s where Motif comes in. Motif is a alternative investment broker that allows you to purchase buckets of up to 30 stocks for a single $9.95 trade commission. Unlike mutual funds, there are no additional management fees or expenses that are deducted from your returns.

Using Motif for socially responsible investing

With Motif, you can create your own “motifs” of stocks or choose from hundreds of preconfigured motifs in a variety of categories. The following Motifs are ready to go to help you get started with socially responsible investing:

  • Socially Responsible Motif
  • Fossil-Free Motif
  • Climate Change Motif
  • Clean Tech Motif

Here, you can see how the Fossil Free Motif is set up.

You can purchase the Motif as-is or easily customize it by sliding the allocation of individual stocks in the Motif. You can also see how popular the Motif is and get analyst opinions on the outlook for this motif.

Other motifs you can buy

Although many new investors I talk to are concerned about investing responsibly, Motif makes it easy to invest in buckets of stocks in any particular theme.

Choose from motifs that following classic investing ideas like asset allocations, target dates, or dividends. You can also find motifs that are based on different trading theories and social trends.

And, of course, you can find motifs by sector and industry. Love sports? Invest in one of many sports industry motifs. Want to chase the billions of potential consumers in Asia? Pick up an Emerging Consumer Markets motif.

Should you consider Motif?

Motif offers individual and joint brokerage accounts and no-fee IRAs including Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs and Rollover IRA.

If you want a set-it-and-forget-it portfolio that you can be comfortable revisiting a few times a year, stick with a mutual fund or something like Betterment. But if you’re looking to learn about investing and have more control over your investment portfolios but aren’t trading in such volumes that they can afford paying between $5 and $10 to trade individual stocks.

With Motif, you pay a single $9.95 trade commission to buy a motif and then you can buy additional shares for just $4.95. There’s no minimum to open an account but you’ll need $250 to buy your first motif.

Learn more about Betterment or open a free account here

Recommended Investing Partners

  • Recommended M1 Finance gives you the benefits of a robo-advisor with the control of a traditional brokerage. M1 charges no commissions or management fees, and their minimum starting balance is just $100. Visit Site
  • $10 to get started Low fee robo-advisor, only $10 to get started. Offers multiple automated portfolio options Visit Site
  • $500 minimum Wealthfront requires a $500 minimum investment and charges a very competitive fee of 0.25% per year on portfolios over $10,000. Visit Site

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About the author

David Weliver
Total Articles: 285
David Weliver is the founder of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues he faced during his first two decades as an adult. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.