For this review, I subscribed to the Stansberry & Associates Investment Research’s most popular and flagship newsletter — Stansberry’s Investment Advisory. Stansberry Research is the largest independent investment newsletter publication in the world with a reported 500,000 plus subscribers.
I’m not going to get into too much detail about the video, because you can watch it yourself from the link above.
What I will say, is the promotion appears to be all hype, but does have a lot of solid economics and facts within the video. The conclusions of course are Porter’s opinion though.
What You Get When You Sign Up
Once you sign up for the newsletter, you gain access to a member’s only section. This grants you access to all sorts of information, where you can see all of Porter’s monthly reports going back to the founding of his business in 1999.
This is a nice feature and lends transparency to previous calls on how great/poorly they did. I’ve seen many newsletters not do this, and only give you access to the most current newsletter.
You also have access Stansberry’s special reports. Reports such as:
- The Gold Investor’s Manual
- America’s Big Power Shift
- The World’s Most Valuable Asset in a Time of Crisis
I’ll say from the start, I have mixed feelings about this review. In all honesty when I purchased the Stansberry’s Investment Advisory to review, I was expecting complete garbage analysis.
This is based upon the way the material like the “End of America” promotes it. Meaning I was expecting all sizzle, and no steak research. What I found was quite different, and actually very good.
Details of the Newsletter Analysis
For the monthly newsletter, Porter and his editors tell a great story, with detailed analysis of the investments in question. If you haven’t read any other financial newsletters, let me state many are about as interesting as reading a phonebook.
Porter makes reading each newsletter interesting and has the financial, and economic data to back up his position. All of this makes a very compelling argument for the investments he recommends. The newsletter appears to only focus on large cap stocks.
Porter’s investment style is by means of value investing. If you are going to do your own active investing, I believe value investing is really the only method you have any chance of succeeding. So the recommendations he and his staff make are not by some technical indicators.
Is it Worth the Price?
The monthly report is very cheap, with the annual price of $149.95! I’ve read other research reports that weren’t nearly as detailed in their analysis, and were for hundreds of dollars more per year. The monthly reports offer a summary of the macro economic conditions. As well as one-to-three specific stock recommendations for the month. Also included is any update to the current portfolio of stocks.
While Stansberry’s monthly newsletters are very good, the free special reports he offers are, in my opinion, complete garbage. They don’t contain enough actionable information to be usable for a novice, and an advanced investor would more than likely have enough information on such subjects, or you can find more information available on the web for free.
These are the positive aspects of Stansberry’s newsletter. For the negatives, keep on reading below.
The Problem With Predictions
One of the issues I have is the way the material is marketed. While the “End of America” appears to be very well researched and everything Stansberry presents is factual — more than likely the outcome is a black swan event. Or even worse, it’s an event that’s impossible to time.
This is wherein lies the problem with any prediction — financial or otherwise. So more than likely this is a marketing technique to gain attention and attract new subscribers. After all if America wasn’t ending, would you sign up?
That isn’t to say you shouldn’t prepare for black swan events, you most certainly should. Without question, I recommend some portion of your portfolio to outlier events. That’s not to say I believe the world is going to end tomorrow, and from what I can gather neither does Porter.
A Run-in With the SEC
The other issue is Stansberry’s run-in with the SEC in 2003. I’ve read both Porter’s stance and the SEC ruling. Though the case is somewhat perplexing — and actually previously unheard of about a financial newsletter — the SEC stated he performed insider trading, yet never owned the stock, nor did he ever profit directly from the stock.
In addition, the stock did go up in price and the information was correct, just not the timing of it. So directly Stansberry never profited from this information, and only reported this information to it’s subscribers. So take this issue however you see it. Either way, it should be known that the firm has had a run in with the SEC, and if anything likes to push the legal edge in some of it’s research.
Though this is to say Stansberry’s, or any other investment newsletter for that matter, should be taken with a grain of salt — no one can predict the future, and the future can be changed by unexpected forces. So while Porter might be eventually correct in his predictions, the timing can be hard to predict.
As the famous economist John Maynard Keynes once said: “Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.”
Don’t Blindly Take Investment Advice
If you do subscribe to this newsletter, do what I do — for this newsletter or any other financial advice — caveat emptor. I only use an investment newsletter’s recommendations as a starting point for picking my investments. I don’t except what’s recommended blindly, and nor should you.
Specifically read up on the trends the author believes is happening, and at the same time find counterpoints to their argument. What you should understand with any investment advice, is it’s an opinion and nothing more or less.
As an investment newsletter, Stansberry and his team’s goal is to sell you newsletter subscriptions. Since that is where their bread and butter lies, they are going to attempt to hook you in via some controversial marketing tactic. Although Stansberry’s research is independent from any traditional bank or investment house, and their analysts are not allowed to own any of the securities they recommend.
Investment performance of Porter’s newsletter has been hard to find. Unfortunately Hulbert Financial Digest doesn’t track any of Stansberry’s newsletters. The newsletter is cheap enough to purchase annually and should be a no-brainer in terms of cost. If you do get only one investing nugget annually from the newsletter, it’s well worth the subscription.
A No Obligation Way to Get Stansberry’s Advice
If you are on the fence with Stansberry’s research, you do have a completely no obligation way to get some investment ideas — listen to Porter’s podcast. Being a Libertarian myself, the Stansberry Radio podcast is something I really enjoy listening to and actually believe it’s one of the best financial podcasts out there today.
Both the free and premium subscription are a no holds barred on any subject — even some of the traditionally taboo subjects in investing and economics. I personally have no issue with it, but I can see how others could be offended by this podcast.
Though listening to the podcast I have a much different opinion of Porter than previously. I guess you can say I’m a fan — at least listening to his opinion. Acting on his opinion, through his podcast or his newsletter, is another story.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Readers: If you purchased any of Stansberry’s newsletters, what did you think of them?