Morningstar Premium Review: Is Their Paid Advising Service Worth It?

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Morningstar Premium on computer screen (caption: Morningstar Premium Review)If you’re into DIY investing, several investment advising services should be on your radar. Morningstar is one of the most popular and well-established options — it’s been around for more than 35 years.

You can find a decent amount of information on Morningstar for free, but if you’re a serious investor, you’ll want to consider its premium membership to gain access to the juicy content. But is Morningstar Premium worth $199 per year, or are you better off just investing that money instead?

Visit Morningstar’s Website

Article Overview

Morningstar Premium

4.15 / 5
Morningstar Premium
Reliability & Reputation 4.5
Variety Of Features 4.5
User Interface 4.0
Price 4.1
Customer Service 3.8

Pros

  • Competitively priced
  • Good reputation for reliable in-depth expert advice
  • Industry leader for mutual fund and ETF (exchange-traded fund) research
  • Wide variety of tools and features
  • Feature-rich apps for iOS and Android
  • Good bit of free information
  • 14-day free trial

Cons

  • Difficult to cancel free trial - they automatically start charging you once it's up
  • Some complaints about a glitchy interface
  • Some complaints that customer support is poor and slow to respond
  • Not for short-term investors

Key Features

Like similar investment advice sites (The Motley Fool, Zacks, Seeking Alpha (reviews coming soon), etc.), Morningstar offers a wide variety of features, including the latest investing news, analyst reports, real-time market data, top investment picks, and a portfolio manager. But here are the noteworthy features and tools that set Morningstar apart from its competitors.

  • Mutual and exchange-traded fund (ETF) reports that are widely used by investors to determine the investment quality of 2,000+ funds.
  • Rating method – Morningstar has a proprietary grading system (rated from 1 to 5 stars) for mutual funds and stocks that are based on their performance over time.
  • Stock and mutual fund screeners – tools that allow investors to select stocks and mutual funds based on different criteria, e.g., performance, star ratings, etc.
  • Portfolio X-Ray – looks at your investments to show you how your asset allocation is performing to make sure you’re properly diversified.
  • Valuation – Morningstar uses a propriety model to value companies using a discounted cash flow (DCF) model that’s not publicly disclosed. DCF models estimate the value of an investment today based on projections of how much money it will generate in the future.

Price

What Do People Think Of Morningstar?

Positive Reviews

Decent online database of company financials. Figures are sometimes different to 10Ks and 10Qs but overall a very useful tool for research. – Trung N., Trustpilot 8/1/2017

If for some reason I want to invest in something other than an index fund, I usually go to Morningstar to do research on funds. They have the best and most comprehensive interface that I’m aware of to do fund research. Just be careful not to pay for anything on the site…most everything that is useful should be free. – Wilson G., Sitejabber 4/27/2013

Negative Reviews

I was looking for stock advice and came across Morningstar. I tried the 14 day free premium service and it was a BIG MISTAKE! My 14th day fell on the weekend. I ended up cancelling the following Monday. Once I cancelled, I called to see about the prorated refund. The lady told me that if I would have called to cancel I would get my money back, but since I did it online there was nothing that she could do. – Patrick, Trustpilot 6/8/2020

Some good features but lousey customer support. I wanted to download to a .CSV file, a feature which worked at one time and then failed. I spent 6 months trying to get them to fix it and finally worte a LETTER to their CTO (Chief Technical Officer) That got results! They totally removed the feature!!!! Good service and I am a premium user. Now they are putting ads on the portfolio page which takes up a LOT of screen space, making the facility harder to use. As a premium user, I don’t think I should have have to suffer from advertising. If there was another game in town, I would be there. – Bruce M., Trustpilot 11/6/2019

Morningstar vs Other Services

Here are some key comparisons our experts have conducted between Morningstar and other top investment advice websites.

Morningstar vs The Motley Fool

Two computer screens side by side with investment websites on screens (caption: The Motley Fool vs Morningstar)

  • Morningstar’s mutual fund and exchange-traded fund (ETF) data is arguably stronger than its competitors, while The Motley Fool is a better option for individual stock analysis and advice.
  • The Motley Fool is better for investment beginners, while Morningstar is data-heavy and geared toward experienced investors.
  • Both The Motley Fool and Morningstar have long-time solid reputations and good track records of outperforming the market.

Compare Morningstar and The Motley Fool

Morningstar vs Zacks

Investment prospectus on desk next to laptop (caption: Zacks vs Morningstar)

  • Morningstar is an industry leader in mutual fund and ETF advice, while Zacks is better for trading advice.
  • Morningstar has a better overall track record for reliable investing advice and performance than Zacks.
  • Many users say that Morningstar’s website is easier to navigate than Zacks.
  • Zacks gets slightly better user reviews than Morningstar for customer and tech support.

Compare Morningstar and Zacks

How To Ride Out A Market Crisis

This five-minute video from Morningstar has some excellent advice on how to ride out a market crisis, like when COVID-19 hit, and how to prepare as an investor for future hits.

What’s Our Final Verdict?

Visit Morningstar’s Website

Computer Screen With Financial Charts (Caption: Best Investment Advice Websites)Based on our research, Morningstar is a solid solution for those of you focusing on long-term investments and who want to delve into in-depth qualitative analysis of mutual funds, ETFs, stocks, and bonds. We think Morningstar’s premium membership fee is well worth the money because their expert analysis will help you make better and more profitable investment decisions. And Morningstar’s investment picks have an overall good track record of out-performing the market.

However, if you’re not sure that Morningstar is a good fit for your financial situation or your investing goals, you may want to consider a different membership service. Or, if you have multiple investment interests and needs, you can use Morningstar in conjunction with another site that has a stronger focus on stock picks, for example (see our in-depth review of The Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor membership). And be sure to read our reviews of these and other top investment advice and research websites to see which is best for your unique investment goals.

What are your go-to sites for investment news, advice, and research?

About The Author:

While attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s graduate school for journalism and public relations, Sally began a long career researching and writing about hard-to-understand topics, such as insurance and finance.

Her additional experience in marketing, fundraising, public relations and financial planning at various foundations and nonprofit organizations over the years has given her the practical tools to inform consumers about making the smartest business and personal financial decisions. Her work has appeared in many notable media outlets, including The Washington Post, Entrepreneur, People, Forbes, Huffington Post, and more.

Speaking of smart living — growing up in the (at-the-time) per-capita murder capital of the U.S. (Richmond, VA) taught her a thing or two about the need for personal and home safety. Sally stays on top of all the latest gadgets and services to protect her and her teenage daughters from potential predators and thieves. And she brings this knowledge to every article she writes.

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