The promise: Offers customizable, themed portfolios of up to 30 stocks.
Available on: Website, iPhone
Motif lets you invest in a very narrow sector -- say, clean tech or companies tied to the housing rebound -- using one of 90 themed portfolios. The site requires a $250 minimum and charges a commission of $9.95 per portfolio.
You wouldn't want to use Motif for your retirement fund, but it's a fun way to invest your mad money if you play the market. The service could also be a good introduction to investing for novices, says MIT finance professor Andrew Lo.
Despite rising prices and mortgage rates that are edging upward, buying a home is still cheaper than renting in the majority of the top 100 markets.
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