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If you’re into DIY stock investing, you’ve likely heard of The Motley Fool. This company offers many services related to personal investing and financial planning, but here we’re focusing on its most popular product, The Motley Fool Stock Advisor. Is Stock Advisor worth the cost? Or are you better off going elsewhere?
The Motley Fool
- Eliminates the need to keep a daily watch on how the market is performing (if you follow their advice)
- New subscribers can see every Motley Fool stock pick going back to 2002 to help diversify your portfolio
- Access to expert closed stock recommendations
- Excellent community boards (only available to members)
- Access to premium reports, analysis and articles
- 30-day full refund for annual subscriptions
- Lots of upselling
- Annual subscription auto-renews
- Several customer complaints that they were charged even after canceling
- Not for short-term investors
- Not BBB accredited (but it has a B rating)
The Motley Fool is a financial services company founded in 1993 by current co-chairmen and brothers David and Tom Gardner and Erik Rydholm (who’s no longer with the company). The company provides financial advice for investors through a wide variety of stock, investing and personal financial services.
Track Your Own Stock Portfolio vs The Pros, Free
It’s free to join their highly active CAPS community, where you can get advice on the best stocks to buy (and when to buy) — and which stocks to avoid. You can track your own stock portfolio, make trades, and compete with the market indices and pro investors. Also noteworthy are The Motley Fool’s preferred stock tracking and comparison tools.
In its first decade, The Motley Fool was an advertising-based business. In 2002, they launched their first subscription service. Their website still offers a lot of free stock news and general investing advice, so it’s a helpful resource, especially for beginning investors. But today the company offers more than 15 different premium services, ranging in price from $99 to $3,999 per year (or you can sign up for all services for a whopping $8,500 per year).
Motley Fool Homepage
Stock Advisor is The Motley Fool’s leading subscription service. It helps investors choose long-term growth stocks with the goal of outperforming the market — and it’s had good results based on its overall track record (315% return on the average Stock Advisor pick since 2002 vs 89% for the S&P, according to their website).
To achieve these portfolio returns, however, you have to commit to the Stock Advisor’s buy and sell recommendations through a long-term commitment. This is not a product for day traders or short-term investors.
Here’s what you get with Stock Advisor:
- Two new stock picks per month (one each from the Gardner brothers) with detailed company and stock information
- Weekly advice about the best 10 timely buys for hot-stock commodities
- Starter stock recommendations for newbies
- 4-8 email newsletters per month with new recommendations, the latest stock news and their expert analysis
- Favorites and Scorecard features, so you can keep track of stocks you’re keeping an eye on
- Detailed tables, charts and reports on the latest stock trends, specific industries to focus on, company information and more
- Highly active discussion boards, which include novice and seasoned investors who share a wide variety of advice
Both subscriptions auto-renew, and you get a full refund if you cancel the annual plan within 30 days.
- $19 monthly
- $99 annually
As we mentioned above, The Motley Fool offers 15+ different subscription services. We think our readers may also be interested in additional services beyond Stock Advisor. Some of those services are outlined below.
Rule Your Retirement – $149/Year
The Gardner brothers recommend three different model portfolios to help you create the best mix of high-performance investments, including stocks, mutual funds and ETFs (Exchange Trade Funds). This subscription also gives you social security tips and news and analysis of a variety of retirement funding topics. Click here to learn more about Rule Your Retirement.
Rule Breakers – $299/Year
Rule Breakers offers the same service as Stock Advisor, but it places a greater focus on high-growth stocks handpicked exclusively by David Gardner. Click here to learn more about Rule Breakers.
We’ve compiled a sampling of reviews we found online to help you see what real customers have to say about The Motley Fool. Customer reviews, from beginners to intermediate and seasoned investors, are all across the board.
I love the fool. reading through the negative reviews I find most of these folks have not held stocks long enough to see the results. The fool almost always suggests a 3-5 year minimum with at least 15 stocks in your portfolio. True enough not every stock is a winner but overall my profit is in the 45% range. I have also sold some fool recommendations to [sic] early and regretted it. I belong to stock advisor and rule breakers and have found them, along with my own research, most helpful. You guys rule. – Carole M., Trustpilot 7/27/2019
Great investment advice. I would highly recommend it if you enjoy investing on your own. Stock Advisor has a great track record. – Anthony H., Sitejabber 5/24/2018
Motley Fool is a joke. Their basic service used to be good, but now they’ve watered it down so much it’s ridiculous. Want to know about Small Caps? You have to also join their Small Caps membership. Oil and gas? There’s a separate membership for that. Marijuana? You have to sign up for their weed membership. Hidden Gems? Yep – there’s a service for that too. Now there’s a new one for ipo’s, which you can join for “only” $1500. What’s left for the standard membership? Not much… – Meghan G., Sitejabber 7/3/2019
Some of the Information is good. But the non stop spam to buy more stuff from them is so annoying that it is not worthwhile. In fact you need to contact them to cancel. No online choice on platform. Why ruin the brand by acting like a boiler room sales machine? – Ken K., Trustpilot 7/18/2019
Here are some key comparisons between The Motley Fool and other top investment advice websites.
- The Motley Fool is a better option for individual stock analysis and advice, while Morningstar’s mutual fund and exchange-traded fund (ETF) data is arguably stronger than its competitors.
- 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.
- The Motley Fool’s biggest strength is for individual stock advice, while Zacks’ main advantage is for trading advice.
- Zacks is better suited for seasoned investors; The Motley Fool is ideal for beginners, but it’s also well-suited for intermediate to advanced investors.
- Overall, The Motley Fool has a better reputation among customers for investment performance when compared to Zacks. Many customers say Zacks can be more hit or miss than The Motley Fool.
- The Motley Fool has its own experts who give investment advice and stock picks. Seeking Alpha is a crowdsourced platform with articles by independent authors – many have investment management backgrounds, but their expertise and quality of advice varies pretty widely.
- The Motley Fool is better for beginners or those who don’t want to sift through a ton of content. Seeking Alpha is geared toward intermediate and advanced investors and much of its content is far more technical and in-depth.
- The Motley Fool has excellent online forums where members can share a lot of useful tips and advice. Seeking Alpha allows members to comment on individual articles, but some users complain that Seeking Alpha overly moderates comments, especially when they disagree with an author’s perspective.
Check out this brief CNBC video that features billionaire Warren Buffet’s top tips for playing the stock market.
Based on our research, The Motley Fool can be worth it as long as you take a disciplines approach, have long-term financial goals and are willing to follow their buy and sell recommendations strictly. But go into it knowing that you’ll be subjected to a lot of upselling for their other products, which could be a deal-breaker for some.
If you’re not sure the Motley Fool is right for your financial situation, you may want to consider going with a robo advisor instead. These online platforms are gaining a lot of popularity as a more affordable alternative to using a traditional financial planner. Learn more about them and see our top picks in our robo advisor reviews.
And if retirement savings is your primary goal, be sure to read our best retirement plans article, where we give you detailed information and tips about employer-sponsored retirement accounts, IRAs and more.
Do you have any investing or stock-buying tips for beginners?
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