A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting Your First Investment Account

Last year I made the decision to learn more about investing – how to start, the benefits, and how it could help me on my financial journey. And while I certainly won’t profess to being an expert on the subject, I have found a tool that is great for beginner investors while still being affordable: Motif Investing.

(Obviously you care where your money’s going, otherwise you wouldn’t be here!)


Motif is an online investing platform that allows you to control your investments directly while also educating through the wealth of information and investment strategies that can be found on their blog. Motif investments also do not charge management fees, since you are investing directly into individual companies instead of pooling many different stocks together.

So now that you’re interested, let me walk you through how to get started!

P.S. We just like Motif because of its ease of use – you trade in whole dollars rather than shares – making it ideal for novices who want to learn about trading and those who don't have a ton of money to spend. This Nerd Wallet review of Motif breaks down the pros of the service far better than I ever could. 

Starting Your First Investment Account in 6 Steps

Getting Started with Motif


Applying for a Motif account is pretty similar to just about any other membership or account you create online. Your first step will be to go here and select which type of investment account you’re looking to open. For this example, we’re going to be opening a trading account.


Pro Tip: Motif’s low fees make this a great way to build your investment portfolio!


From there you’ll be prompted to create an account with your email and a password – make sure you keep your password in a secured place so you don’t forget!

Filling Out the Brokerage Application

Next, Motif will ask you a few questions about how you want to set up your account. You can pick between an individual account and an IRA account, which is a great option for those who want to begin saving for retirement! In addition, you’ll be asked whether you want to fund your account through cash (your own funds) or margin, which allows you to borrow money from Motif to purchase stocks. We’ll be selecting cash for this one.

Enter Personal Information

Now you’ll put in a little more personal info such as your address and possible conflicts of interest. More likely than not you won’t check off any of those boxes at the end, but make sure you read carefully just in case!  

Your Financial Objectives & Income

After that, Motif will ask you a little bit about what your financial objectives are and your yearly income. Are you planning on aggressive investing, high risk-high reward? Or maybe you want something more stable like an IRA account in low-risk stocks and bonds. This will help the experts at Motif assess your needs and goals.

Verifying Your Identity

The next step is to verify that you are who you say you are – as well as providing some details that will be used for tax purposes (aka your Social Security Number). This is the same info you would provide a bank when they open an account for you. And if you’re skeptical of inputting sensitive information to the web, worry not! Motif has many different security measures in place to make sure that no one else can access your information.

Complete the NYSE Quote Agreement

Motif will show you real time quotes from the New York Stock Exchange to help you make investment decisions. Awesome right? To be able to do this though, you’ve got to agree to the NYSE Quote Agreement. An FYI: non-professional subscriber is someone who is making personal investments for themselves, not for a business or securities professional.

Submit Your Application!

And you’re all done! You’ll be brought to a page asking you to review Motif’s Customer Agreement. You can also choose to link your bank account to your Motif account, making it even easier to fund your purchases. Once you submit your application, most can expect to know whether or not you’ve been approved in about a day! Then you’ll be ready to start your investing.

Easy, right? Click here to get started with Motif Investing.


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