What is The Motley Fool?
The Motley Fool is an online financial media company that offers a range of unique services. The company was originally founded in 1993 by Tom and David Gardner, two retail investors who started sharing their investment ideas on message boards and newsletters.
The company quickly grew in popularity due to the Gardner brothers’ unique approach to investment advice. Instead of writing technical research reports, the Gardner Brothers decided to speak the language of the people. The Motley Fool steers clear of jargon and overcomplicated investment strategies and speaks directly to casual retail investors who simply want to build a strong investment portfolio.
This approach has made The Motley Fool one of the most popular and trusted financial media companies in the industry. Today, the company employs over 300 people, offers dozens of premium services, and continues to remain an influential voice in the world of online investing.
In this article, we are going to take a look at the company’s most popular premium service: Motley Fool Stock Advisor. If you are reading this review, you’ve likely seen Stock Advisor ads or received a recommendation from a friend. As part of our Motley Fool review, we are going to take an in-depth look at the Stock Advisor service, break down the program’s performance, and help you determine whether or not the subscription is worth paying for.
Let’s get started.
What is the Stock Advisor Program?
The Motley Fool Stock Advisor program is an investment advisory service that help investors find stocks that can outperform the broader market. The goal of the service is to help casual investors get access to the same information that allows Wall Street institutions to generate exceptional returns.
The Stock Advisor service is simple by design. Members can expect to receive simple stock recommendations that can help them build strong investment portfolios.
Service History and Track Record
The Motley Fool Stock Advisor program was launched in 2002 by popular demand. By this point (nearly a decade after the launch of the Motley Fool), the Gardner brothers built a strong reputation in the online investing community. Their followers appreciated the brothers’ investment advice, but wanted something more specific. They wanted to know exactly what the Gardner brothers were buying/selling and when.
The Stock Advisor program was launched as a service for investors who wanted to be told which stocks to buy (and sell) and at what times.
Fast forward to 2021 and the service is more popular than ever. The Stock Advisor program has an incredible track record of outperforming the broader market (i.e. the S&P 500). Over the past two decades, Motley Fool’s stock picks have 4X’ed the returns of the broader market.
The program’s track record of nearly 20-years is what makes it so credible. There are dozens of investment advisors selling services, but many of them are lacking a transparent, time-tested track record. Stock Advisor has generated exceptional returns consistently and the program is still going strong.
How Much Does the Motley Fool Stock Advisor Program Cost?
The Motley Fool Stock Advisor subscription can be purchased for $99 for the first year (using this discounted link). The program renews at $199/year, however the company will often run promotions that can drop the renewal price down to $149.
Is the subscription worth the money? Keep reading our review to find out.
Stock Advisor Program Features
Stock Advisor members have access to a range of unique investment resources, but most members join the service for one main reason – the stock picks. As a member, you will have access to a few different types of stock picks that can help you build and grow a strong investment portfolio.
Let’s take a look at what you get.
Stocks to Build Your Portfolio
Motley Fool’s investment methodology is built on a few key principles, the most important being:
- Diversify Your Portfolio
- Buy and Hold Stocks for at Least 5 Years
- Invest In Growth Stocks That Will Outperform the Market
When you first access the members’ area, Motley Fool recommends that you buy at least 25 stocks that you plan to hold for five years or longer. This methodology helps you build a strong, diversified portfolio that will generate optimal returns.
Motley Fool has stock recommendations ready, whether you are entirely new to investing or building out an existing portfolio.
If you are just starting to build you portfolio (or diversifying your current portfolio), there are two lists of stocks you should take a look at.
First, there is a list of “Stocks to Buy Today.” This list generally has 8-12 stocks that present great buying opportunities right now. Many of these stocks are from previous recommendations that still offer a favorable price. Think of this list as a group of stock recommendations that help you capitalize on the current momentum of the stock market.
You will also find a list of “Starter Stocks.” These stocks are ideal for investors who are building their first portfolios and want to include companies that will stand the test of time. The Starter Stocks list includes 10 stocks of well-established companies that are leaders in their respective industries. These stocks are designed to add some stability to your portfolio.
It is recommended that members add stocks from both lists so they can start building a strong portfolio. From there, members will get access to two fresh stock picks every month.
Monthly Stock Picking Service
The Motley Fool offers two new stock picks every single month. These stock picks allow investors to capitalize on new market trends and find stocks that are set up for exceptional growth. Here are some examples of top picks from previous years:
- Amazon – Up Over 20,000%
- Disney – Up Over 9,000%
- Netflix – Up Over 20,000%
As a subscriber, you will receive an email alert whenever a new stock pick is issued. The alerts are straightforward, easy-to-follow, and backed by research.
Each stock pick comes in the following format:
- The Stock Pick – What stock should you buy?
- The Price Recommendation – What price should you pay? (usually the current price)
- Key Company Data – What does the company do?
- Rationale and Research – Why is this recommendation being made?
The stock pick alerts are designed for simplicity and investors can take either a passive or active approach. Passive investors can simply follow the alert, and active investors can read through the research (and do their own research if they please).
The team will also issue “sell” alerts when it is time to cut a stock.
The monthly stock alerts are what keep members coming back to the service.
Most Stock Advisor subscribers pay for the service because of the stock picks, however there are a few other resources available to members. We won’t go into too much depth on these, but here are a few notable resources:
- Community Forums – A place for members to talk shop, ask questions, and network.
- Motley Fool Live – a members-only livestream that covers market news, stock research, interviews, and more.
- Investing Education – Articles discussing investment methodology, strategy, and tips.
How Do the Stock Picks Perform?
When you sign up for the Motley Fool Stock Advisor service, you are paying for stock picks. The value of these picks is determined by how well they perform relative to the broader market. One critique of many funds and investment advisory services is that they do not outperform the market.
Simply put, investment advice needs to outperform the market in order to justify its price tag. If you could achieve the same results by investing in a simple S&P 500 ETF or Vanguard mutual fund, you’d have no reason to pay for stock alerts.
Fortunately for Stock Advisor members, the program has a track record of beating the market by a large margin for over 20 years. Here’s a sample of the performance of some picks from the past two years (members have access to the full list):
If you simply want to know if Motley Fool stock picks are legitimate, the short answer is, “yes, absolutely.” Since the program’s inception, The Fool’s picks have 4X’ed the returns of the S&P 500.
Here are some detailed stats worth knowing:
- Stock Advisor picks have returned 592.5% (vs. 132.3% for the S&P 500)
- Members have access to a list of every stock pick the company has ever made
- Dozens of stocks have returned over 1,000% from the date of the recommendation
Notable stock picks include:
- Netflix – Up over 20,000% since the initial recommendation
- Amazon – Up over 20,000% since the initial recommendation
- Nvidia – Up over 10,000% since the initial recommendation
- Tesla – Up over 10,000% since the initial recommendation
- Disney – Up over 9,000% since the initial recommendation
- Activision Blizzard – Up over 5,000% since the initial recommendation
- Apple – Up over 2,000% since the initial recommendation
Of course, these are the most exceptional returns so new members should maintain realistic expectations, however the company continues to offer picks that beat the market regularly. Some notable 2020 picks include:
- Zoom – Up over 200% since the 2020 recommendation
- Tesla – Up over 600% since the 2020 recommendation
- Shopify – Up over 300% since the 2020 recommendation
Who is the Stock Advisor Subscription Best For?
Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor service is ideal for long-term investors who want to outperform the market. The company’s track record combined with the low subscription fee makes this service a great fit for just about any investor.
Here are some pointers for success:
- If you are completely new to investing, make sure to build a diversified portfolio by adding stocks on the Starter Stocks list and the “Stocks to Buy Today” list.
- If you are risk averse or nearing retirement, apply your own risk management strategies. For example, you may choose to cut losses when a stock dips 10% or take profits when a stock is up 100%.
- If you are a hands-on investor, feel free to do your own research so you can feel confident in your investments.
How Does the Stock Advisor Program Compare to Other Services?
The Motley Fool Stock Advisor program is one of the most popular (if not the most popular) investment advisory services for a reason – it works. This service checks all of the boxes we look for when analyzing a service like this.
- It outperforms the broader market by a considerable margin
- It has a time-tested track record (nearly 20 years)
- It is fairly priced
It’s difficult to find another service that checks all of these boxes. Motley Fool has 4X’ed the market for nearly 20 years and is available for only $99 for new members.
While there are other services that have unique offerings, Motley Fool Stock Advisor is easily one of the best stock picking services.
Motley Fool Stock Advisor FAQ
By this point in our review, it should be clear that the Stock Advisor program is a great option for any investor who wants stock picks that outperform the market. Below are some answers to some of the most common questions people have about the service. If you still have questions, feel free to contact our team or reach out to The Motley Fool directly.
Is Motley Fool Worth the Money?
At only $99/year for new members, it’s hard to go wrong. Prospective members could rephrase the question as, “will I make more than $99 from this service?” Motley Fool’s track record points to a resounding, “yes.”
Is Stock Advisor the Best Motley Fool Service?
Motley Fool offers a range of premium services, including Rule Breakers, Everlasting Portfolio, Motley Fool Options, and more.
Stock Advisor has the longest track record, optimal performance, and the best pricing. If you are only going to sign up for one Motley Fool service, Stock Advisor is your best bet.
What Stocks is The Motley Fool Recommending?
Out of fairness to paying subscribers, we can’t release information on the latest Motley Fool stock picks. We can, however, share some previous stock picks, which include:
- And more!
Can You Cancel the Motley Fool Subscription?
You can cancel the Stock Advisor subscription at any time by contacting the company. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee on the annual plan, so if you are unhappy with the service in the first 30 days, you can get a full refund. After that period, you can cancel the service if you don’t want it to renew, however the initial payment will not be refunded.
Motley Fool Review: Final Thoughts
Overall, The Motley Fool Stock Advisor is one of the best stock picking services on the market. Members have access to stock picks from a credible team with a time-tested strategy. The service is priced fairly and has beaten the S&P 500 since inception.
Motley Fool Stock Advisor Pros
- 19-Year Track Record
- Two new stock picks every month
- Instant access to “Starter Stocks”
- Instant access to “Stocks to Buy Today”
- Fairly priced
- Money-back guarantee
Motley Fool Stock Advisor Cons
- Upsells can get annoying
- Some stock picks are repeated