I’ve never been great with money. It’s not that I spend beyond my means or run up crazy debts or anything like that. It’s more that I’ve never felt comfortable with concepts like investing or inflation or…the markets. This didn’t matter when all I needed to know was whether I had enough in my checking account for some instant ramen and a cheap six-pack. But as I’ve gotten older and built a family and a taste for craft IPAs, I’ve come to recognize the importance of saving and growing my money. So now I have an investment portfolio, but I wouldn’t call myself an investor as much as a guy who pays a financial advisor to invest and, ideally, not lose his money.
So far, it’s worked out pretty well. But it has also led me to wonder more than once whether I should take a more hands-on approach to investing. What’s held me back is my still extremely limited understanding of how any of this stuff works. So I was excited to discover Stock Advisor, a premium investment service from The Motley Fool. I checked it out for a couple of weeks to see if I could become a true investor, not just a guy with some investments. Here’s what I found.
How The Motley Fool Works
Even as an investing novice, I was well aware of The Motley Fool. After all, they’ve been pushing investment guidance for more than 25 years. But I hadn’t dug into their individual services like Stock Advisor. In a nutshell, Stock Advisor gives members unlimited access to Motley Fool’s complete library of stock recommendations, plus the team’s top picks each month. The goal is to help make investing easier and multiply members’ net worth. Okay, Motley Fool, you’ve got my interest…
Here’s what it costs and what you get:
- $199 per year (However, starting today, 4/1, new members can purchase the Stock Advisor offer for just $89. Offer ends 6/30.)
- 395%* return with Stock Advisor versus 115% return with S&P 500 over the last 20 years. (Calculated by the average return of all stock recommendations since the inception of the service.)
- Latest stock recommendations including two new stock picks delivered each month
- Top 10 Rankings listing 10 timely buys chosen from more than 300 stocks
- “Starter Stocks” foundational recommendations
- Access to educational materials and investor community
First, I have to praise the Stock Advisor interface and its ease of use. Even as a newbie, I knew exactly what I was looking at upon first signing in. The dashboard shows your portfolio performance alongside a list of recommended stocks. The watchlist feature lets me easily save and track stocks of interest that I hadn’t yet invested in. Some of these were easy adds from the company’s Top 10 rankings — familiar names like Tesla, Airbnb or Walt Disney. Others I only added after making use of what I came to Stock Advisor for: the recommended stocks.
These are the heart of the Stock Advisor tool and are updated constantly. Each month, the list includes two new stocks that Motley Fool analysts believe have the potential for significant growth, based on their knowledge of those companies’ financials, management and industry trends. Clicking on a stock takes you to an in-depth analysis of the company — what it does, key financial metrics like revenue and earnings per share, what to like about it, short- and long-term opportunities, potential risks and, ultimately, a verdict as to why that company is worthy of an investment (and why now). You can also access video “Deep Dives” of Motley Fool analysts discussing individual stocks in detail, and other columns and content to tell you truly everything you could want to know about these recommendations.
I knew I could never process all this information, but I appreciated the hell out of having it all available in such an organized way. I felt secure that The Motley Fool team had taken its time and done all its homework to offer me a genuine analysis and recommendation. Having all that information out there so transparently put me at ease trusting these people I had not ever met to point me in the right direction.
What kind of works
Another feature I was interested in was access to The Motley Fool community. Stock Advisor gave me access to a members-only forum where I would be able to connect with other investors and share insights and opinions. This seemed like a great resource to learn more and get a better understanding of the market from others like me. And it was, to a point. I appreciated the way some of the discussions got me to ask more general questions about my approach to investing and what I really wanted out of it. Where it stopped working quite as effectively was when I started digging deeper into the monthly analysis of member questions, which brought me back to Econ 101 and feeling like everyone else in the room “got it” while I was grasping at straws. I’m not holding it against them, though. With more experience and practice, I’m sure I’ll become more comfortable feeling like I’m part of the community.
Overall, I’d have to recommend Stock Advisor. It’s well-designed, user-friendly, extremely comprehensive and you really can’t argue with the numbers — their recommendations do tend to perform and work out over the long term. I may be new to this, but even I know that no single tool will guarantee success in the stock market. Still, Stock Advisor made me feel like it was possible for me to make an informed investment decision on my own. I don’t think I’ll be bidding farewell to my financial advisor any time soon (shoutout to Bob), but at least now I’ll have a better idea of what the heck he’s talking about when we check in to discuss how my portfolio is doing. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even bring a recommendation or two to the table next time.
*Returns as of 3/27/23. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Individual investment results may vary. All investing involves risk of loss.