Motley Fool Stock Advisor Review 2021

An Industry-Leading Stock Picking and Analysis Service

Advertising Disclosure This article/post contains references to products or services from one or more of our advertisers or partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products or services
Motley FoolIf you invest in single stocks, it's not always easy to pick the next winner. The Motley Fool is a well-respected stock picking service with a nearly 30-year track record. According to The Motley Fool website, it has far outpaced the S&P 500. The stock advisor service claims to have beaten that key market index by a factor of four over the last 17 years. Let's take a look at the costs, how it works, and if it makes sense for your investment needs.

Our Rating - 8

8

The Motley Fool is an investment website with a wide range of investment opinions. The Motley Fool Stock Advisor service costs $99 for the first year (for new members). This gives you access to two monthly stock picks from Motley Fool analysts, including co-founders David and Tom Gardner. The service has beaten the results of the S&P 500 by a significant margin over nearly two decades.

Sign up for the Motley Fool Stock Advisor Service

What Is The Motley Fool Stock Advisor?

The Motley Fool is a stock and investment website. It employs many writers and analysts who are constantly combing the market for stock picks and investment ideas. The flagship product for investors is the Motley Fool Stock Advisor service. This paid service gives you access to a more exclusive list of stocks.

  • Customers get two new stock picks per month.
  • Subscriptions cost $99 for the first year (for new members) and then $199 per year going forward.
  • You can try it risk-free for the first 30 days and then cancel for a full refund if you're not satisfied.
  • At any given time, Stock Advisor customers have access to about 10 recommended stocks.

The Motley Fool: “Our Portfolios Gets Higher Gains than Competitors”

The company claims that the portfolios of the founders have returned higher gains than the S&P 500.

  1. Tom Gardner's stocks have returned an average of 201.8%.
  2. David Gardner's stocks have returned an average of 670.6%.

These contrast with a 92.7% average for the major S&P market benchmark (as of this writing). The site generally maintains a lighthearted attitude, as reflected in its subscription newsletter and other services. However, the Motley Fool Stock Advisor service is generally well respected in the investment community.

For investors willing to take a bit more risk, the pricier Rule Breakers subscription costs $299 per year and focuses on growth stocks. The Fool also offers retirement guidance and resources in its Rule Your Retirement subscription for $99 per year, but this review focuses primarily on the Stock Advisor subscription.

Who Should Subscribe to The Motley FoolStock Advisor?

The Motley Fool is best for people who are interested in semi-active trading.

If you are a brand new investor or want to learn more about picking individual stocks instead of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or mutual funds, this service is an excellent resource with a reasonable price tag.

When I dropped in for the first time, I saw a list of stocks that I was most familiar with, and a few that were new to me. But I probably know more companies than the average person, since I'm a finance writer. Of the 11 stocks presented, I had actually considered two of the stocks myself at different times.

Expert investors who like finding their own stocks and passive investors who prefer to buy and hold diverse funds should skip this service.

History of The Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Brothers David Gardner and Tom Gardner founded The Motley Fool in 1993. The Gardners still run the company from its headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, in the Washington, D.C., area.

The original online launch led to widespread coverage, including by The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker, and a partnership with then-booming America Online. It did well in the early '90s. But the company suffered significant losses in the fallout of the dot-com market collapse in 2001.

In the years since, however, the company re-found its footing and expanded to include its own public blog, podcast, and video content, in addition to the Stock Advisor, Rule Breakers (here's how they compare), and Rule Your Retirement subscriptions.

Biases and Controversies

While The Motley Fool Stock Advisor customers who have followed its advice perfectly since inception have done very well, it hasn't always performed well. The dot-com bubble was so bad for The Fool that it ended up laying off 80% of its staff and closing multiple offices.

During this period, The Motley Fool espoused an idea called “The Foolish Four.” This hypothesized that a well-constructed portfolio of just four Dow Jones Industrial Average stocks could beat the markets in the long term. Clearly, this isn't a great strategy, which The Motley Fool has since accepted.

On both the free site and within the paid subscription service, marketing and upselling are very in-your-face. This may deter some potential users.

What to Look for in The Motley Fool

Subscribers should look for the two big stock recommendations from Tom and David each month. Also, the brothers share their recommended “Best Buys” that could help fill out your portfolio. At the time the screenshot below was taken, there were 11 stocks listed on the buy list. New recommendations come out every Thursday.

The Motley Fool Stock Picks
Stock Picks from the Stock Advisor homepage.
(Company names, logos, and tickers have been removed.)

Is Motley Fool Worth It?

As you can tell from this review, we are pretty positive about The Motley Fool. I’ve tried some competing newsletters and services that cost more than double. Motley Fool offers a good balance of interesting investment ideas at a reasonable rate, making it a good value for investors of all skill levels.

Beginner to intermediate investors can learn a lot from reading the details behind each stock pick. More experienced investors can use that information as fodder when making investment decisions of their own.

I have experience managing part of a university endowment fund and seven-figure portfolios, and I have a few stocks from The Motley Fool in my own portfolio. Some are doing great. Some are doing so-so. But on average, they have done well enough to pay for the subscription cost and leave me with a nice little profit.

Why am I talking about myself here? If someone like me with two finance degrees, portfolio management experience, and all day to sit on the computer thinking about money found value from The Motley Fool, you will likely find it worthwhile as well.

Is the Motley Fool Safe and Legitimate?

The pushy advertising style at Motley Fool sometimes makes it feel like a used car lot, but overall The Motley Fool is a safe and legitimate investing service. I’m a subscriber myself and have been very happy with the service overall.

A screenshot of a Motley Fool “Best Buys Now” recommendation for the stock Lemonade. Additional stocks have been obscured.

 

If you read all of the newsletter and investor education content, they even go so far as to admit that some of their investments won’t work out as planned. They proudly show off their winners but don’t hide their losers. I wouldn’t follow their portfolios exactly, but their recommendations are a good data point in building your own investment strategy around individual stocks.

Some have gone so far as to question: Is Motley Fool a pump and dump scheme? A pump and dump scheme is when someone attempts to boost the price of a stock based on false, misleading, and often exaggerated statements. 

The Motley Fool is definitely not a pump and dump scheme. It is a respected investor newsletter and they provide links to their research.  While its large subscriber base may influence stock prices immediately after announcements, leading to some opportunities for market manipulation, The Motley Fool itself operates on the up-and-up. If you want to learn more about pump and dump schemes, check out movies like Boiler Room or The Wolf of Wall Street.

The Motley Fool Stock Advisor Pros & Cons

cons

  • Weekly stock recommendations with expert analysis. Get a weekly stock pick from a market expert with a proven track record.
  • Relatively affordable annual cost compared to some investment newsletters.  The service for new members is $99 for the first year and $199 for future years. That translates to $8.25 per month for the first year and $16.58 per month in future years.
  • Text and email alerts give you quick information. Opt-in for alerts via email and text message, so you don't miss an announcement.

pros

  • Upsales.  The site is heavy on sales and uses strong marketing language to try to sell you additional subscriptions.
  • No stock recommendation is guaranteed. While The Motley Fool team has outperformed the markets overall, not every stock they suggest is a winner.
  • Recommendations can move the market. Stock prices can temporarily spike after the newsletter comes out, which might lead you to buy at a higher price if you're not careful.

Final Thoughts on The Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Most investors shouldn't put their entire portfolio into the suggestions of any single stock picking service (It's better to learn how to invest in stocks). However, among stock subscriptions, this service has a good reputation and a strong track record of success.

In my opinion, the stocks in the current portfolio as of this writing are logical and sound. There's never any guarantee of future performance, of course, but the advisor tends to do well overall.

If you're up for a subscription service that costs $199 per year, the introductory deal is an excellent way to test the waters. With a lower $99 fee (for new members) for the first year and the 30-day refund policy, you can take a risk-free look behind the scenes to decide if it's right for you.

Eric Rosenberg

Eric Rosenberg is a finance, travel and technology writer in Ventura, California. He is a former bank manager and corporate finance and accounting professional who left his day job in 2016 to take his online side hustle full time. He has in-depth experience writing about banking, credit cards, investing and other financial topics and is an avid travel hacker. When away from the keyboard, Eric enjoys exploring the world, flying small airplanes, discovering new craft beers and spending time with his wife and little girls.

Related Articles

29 Comments

  1. I find it amusing that all the angry people post comments. Eric is spot on in his review. I have had tremendous success with Motley Fools service. Yes, there have been some dogs, but the successes far outweigh the dogs, which they readily admit. (No offence meant to dogs). I like their detail and their principles and look forward to hearing their stock picks ( and judging for myself whether I should invest and do further research).

    It’s reasonably priced for an information service that narrows down suggestions for you. My portfolio has beaten the S&P, and I am happy with that!

  2. Motley Fool Investing expert Scott Phillips just revealed what he believes are the 5 best stocks for investors to buy right now… and Marley Spoon wasn’t one of them – INCORRECT Marley spoon is still fool recommendation listed @ 4% positive return @ $2.7 recommendation price, MMM is trading @ $2.1. How this is a positive 4% return, don’t you think they lie enough to the subscribers.

  3. I used their service and cancelled the service within a month. The stock I bought following their recommendation plummeted and still was not recovered. The recommendation was based on lack of proper market evaluation. I felt they were like fortune tellers, not economic analysts. I do not know how they gained a reputation so far. Definitely do not recommend their service.

  4. I joined the stock advisor newsletter only to get spammed 4-5 emails daily that attempts to sell you more products. I’m sure I could have turned them off, but after a few minutes on the site, I canceled the service. I found the service useless and nothing of sustenance that you cannot find for free on the net. I watched their live videos. It’s basically unknown people making stuff up, as they go, just to fill time. After canceling the service, they did credit my card expeditiously. I give them a 5 out of 10. They are not a scam service, just a service with nothing really to teach and have mediocre stock picks. There are far better services available that actually teach you how and what to trade/invest. I read the Fools very first book and still have it. They actually taught you their system and how to pick stocks. It’s a shame to see them go from teachers to lazy multi-marketing money-grubbers.

  5. I did signed up for the services and was extremely Unhappy about it. I was more like I paid them to send me a FLOOD of UPSELL emails. Never got anything for it!! DON’T BE A FOOL, don’t waste you money.

  6. Lots of emails, except for when are going to renew your service at a rate that is six times higher than what you originally bought the service for. However, the customer service rep who handled this issue when I called resolved it right away without trying to sell me anything or convincing me otherwise so that’s a plus.
    There were quite a number of stocks that they recommended which I bought that had significant gains, there were a few that they recommended which had significant losses
    The sneaky way when in which they tried to renew my subscription left a really bad taste in my mouth. I have turned off auto renew on all my services and will not be renewing unless there is a promotional rate which there usually is.

  7. I’ve subscribed to Motley Fool for 2-3 years including a few of their ‘up-sale’ offerings. Although I believe they are a legitimate service and have a long term track record, I have experienced different results. On 2 of their services (10x portfolio and Ownership portfolio), I purchased every recommended stock and so far, these investments have only lost money. I’m committed to holding the stocks for 5 years – hopefully the disappointing performance will turn around. 2 major negatives with Motley Fool – their attempts to sell you more products are relentless. If you ‘take the bait’ and subscribe you get some duplicate recommendations, but are left with too many stocks that are not high-graded. This is very frustrating. I would prefer that they prioritize down to 20-25 stock picks – that would be much more useful. The second ‘flaw’ is that they don’t provide a 1, 3, 5, 10 and ‘since inception’ performance tracking of their portfolio (as a mutual fund will do), so it is hard to understand their recent performance. If you subscribe, stick to the simple subscription for $150-$200, and don’t subscribe to the expensive ‘up-selling’. In fact, I would recommend blocking their incoming email messages and simply track changes in recommendations on their web site.

  8. I am very disappointed. All I seem to get so far is requests for more and more money to get access to more and more features. It feels more like a scam then a legitimate company. They keep claiming a few stocks where they correctly predicted to purchase, that’s just a few stocks over how many years they claim to have “accurately” chosen (and by the way, so did the rest of the world predict those same stocks, so it was not unique to them). To give benefit of the doubt I did some investments based on their strong suggestions, 3 of 4 were a mistake. Had I done my own “free” online searches, I would have learned 2 of them were in downward spirals and I would have at least waited for the bottom before loosing so much money. Yes, the 4th is a winner so far but my average is a significant loss. I was doing my own free research, I will reply more upon that than a company which just keeps asking for more money (which they did not disclose when I paid the first amount, or the 2nd amount, just to receive request for eve more money within 24 hours for yet another feature). Scams as far as I am concerned

  9. I joined TMF in September of 2020. This has been my experience so far, I’ll try to keep it concise: I really enjoy TMF investing philosophy of choosing GOOD companies and buying them with a 3 to 5 year time horizon (although you could even shorten this a bit to two to three years). Their main focus is on the company, its product, and its performance. Their belief is simple: Good companies with strong earnings and large runways for growth will be successful and if you invest in them you will be successful. They are not concerned much at all about market timing, strike prices or price targets, relative strength lines, long or short calls, etc. They believe that stuff is terribly hard to predict and time, and that it’s pretty useless if you’re focused on a 3 to 5 year horizon. I agree with them on this, amd it matches my investment style, so I have no problem here. However, if you’re more of the day trader variety, it won’t align with your needs.
    I first subscribed to Stock Advisor for $99, and then Rule Breakers for $199. Both services are good, and worth it, in my opinion. Stock Advisor is excellent, a bargain at $99. Rule Breakers is not as reliable, and shouldn’t cost more than SA, but at $199 it’s not a bad deal, and has some good ideas. SA gives you TWO buy recommendations per month and 10 “Best Buy Now” stocks. They go very in depth with their write ups for the buy recommendations. Rule Breakers gives One buy recommendation per month and 5 Best Buy Now’s. Rule Breakers highlights riskier, more volatile companies. I would highly recommend these services. SA gets a 9 out of 10 from me and I’d give RB a 7/10. Now I’ll tell you about their special, high price member services. These cost anywhere from $900 to roughly $4000 per year. In my opinion, you need to be very careful which service you choose if you decide to subscribe. The ads snd videos can be extremely misleading and even somewhat dishonest, and it seems that for every good service that is actively managed and researched, there are 5 more that are totally overpriced for what they include. The thing is THE MAJORITY OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS THEY PROVIDE IN THEIRCSPECIAL SERVICES THEY HAVE ALREADY PROVIDED IN STOCK ADVISOR OR RULE BREAKERS. They claim that these special services narrow down “the best of the best” but it really just feels like laziness combined with a cash grab. Chances are, if you’ve followed SA or RB, you will already own or know about many of the recommendations in the special services. To make matters worse, they are constantly creating new, some b par services, that they advertise as the next greatest thing. So just when you’ve paid $1300 for one, thinking you’ve got a great service, they send you ads for three other services they claim are better or just as promising. It really cheapens the value of the services and makes it seem like they’re just doing it for your money. And there are a lot of shared recommendations between services. My recommendation is just to stick with Stock Advisor snd Rule Breakers. If you are tempted to buy into another service, be very careful. Ask around on Reddit and TMF community boards, and do some research until you really are sure you found the one that’s right for you. I subscribed to 3 services: Rising Stars, Blast Off 2021, and Discovery 10x. Blast Off is a rip off: all the recommendations are from SA and RB snd it’s very passively managed. Rising Stars is decent , but the majority of the recommendations come from SA and RB, and there’s overlap with Blast Off 2021. It’s more actively managed than Blast Off but not by much. Discovery 10x is good, except for the fact that half the companies are already established, large cap stocks that have already multibagged and don’t seem likely to do it again, and these large caps are basically recommended in all the other services. But they at least provide about 50% new ideas with 10x potential, and they manage the portfolio very actively with lots of updates and articles. So that’s my experience. There are at least 10 other services I’d guess, and I’d be willing to bet only one or two are really worth it, a few that are okay, and at least half that are a complete rip off. So be careful if you decide to go this route. Having said all that, I really like the co-founder CEO brothers Tom and Dave and appreciate their outlook on stocks

  10. Absolutely worst analysts, investing advice, stock pickers the industry has ever seen! They’re like 4 year old’s with hard biases and little knowledge about the mechanics of the market. They trash good stocks even if they’re wrong and will tout their good picks as proof of their expertise but never tell you how many times they’ve selected bad stocks.

  11. I have been a member for a lot over a year, not worth your money, especially these expensive services, they sent you thousands of promotional emails. long emails.. I tried one, totally wasted the money, and also felt be tricked to subscribe to the service.
    customer service is horrible, basically, there is not any customer service at all, there is a number to call, but you only can leave a message, then no one will get back to you. I emailed them almost two weeks after 5- 10 emails. eventually, someone emailed back.
    Zoom video is a joke, most of them are just a waste of time..their staff does not even believe and buy the recommended stocks.
    if $150 is not an issue, you may try the stock advisor. that is all.

  12. Motley Fool is the worst spammers for your e-Mail inbox. The information they give you are not essential and if their given information to you is worthwhile, it is worth for their profit first.
    I regret that I signed up for this service. I believed that they ‘d be at least some help but it is just junk, junk and trash that I have to delete every day.

  13. I have been a Motley Fool subscriber for more than 10 years. Yes they do try to upsell you. However if you attend these extra sessions explaining the premium product I get additional investment recommendations beyond the service without necessarily having to invest in them.

    I think that if you are disciplined in how you use Motley Fool it is a very good investment advice service. I am very pleased with the performance of my 30 stock portfolio which was built from their recommendations.

  14. I have been happy with their service. I only buy Tom or David’s recommendations for the most part, The recommendations found in the articles section are interesting and I sometimes research those then make my decision to buy or not.
    I have a basket of about 40 individual stocks I have bought using their recommendations and I’m doing pretty good with them.

  15. Motley Fool Company is run by Fools. There are rookie traders that know more than they do. The Fact about them is that they tell you to buy after the stock has been going up and tell you to sell after the stock has downtrended, what skill is that?. Not because of what the chart could show or credibility of the company they are talking about, solely news and the trend it already headed. in which real stock traders know thats not when to get in. Out of many examples the most recent one was When one of Motley Fool Publishers posted that PFIZER was a buy when the vaccine got approved for emergency use by FDA. Idiots. if they read the chart, they would of known that Pfizer had reached its top and new News sells. Pfizer has been downtrending for weeks now and who ever listened to them lost thousands. They may come back and say Pfizer is a buy for the future and hold, as their defense after it droppped, but we know what they posted and clearly stated a buy when FDA approval came out; if they were a good stock guide, they would of said PFIZER will be a buy after the sell off (drop) they are about to have. Which good traders and good stock guides know will happen.

  16. I have used both Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers from Motley. They are worth the $100 first year fee. In fact, after 3 years many of their recommendations have had over 100% increases..

    HOWEVER, they extensively use these two services to try to get you to upgrade to their Premium services that cost $1,XXX/Yr. Don’t fall for the upgrade and get burned, as I did. Stay with their basic services, as more is not better.

    1. The Motley Fool was, year ago, a fairly good advisor. Not as good as they thought they were but just “fairly good”. Today, they work a SHAM and in my opinion, they work a FRAUD. I was ignorant enough to paid $299 for one of their services that was to include everything – books to be sent in the mail, weekly newsletters, daily emails on the next “hot” buy, etc. etc. That was in January 24, 2020. To date (Dec. 16, 2020) I have received NOTHING. Not even an email acknowledging my payment. (Yes, the payment, by my credit card, was charged to me. Charged to: TMF*MOTLEY.FOOL.COM. I have repeatedly sent them emails. I finally did receive just one email from them. It stated they had no record of my payment. They did admit they had my email address in their records. In summary, STAY AWAY FROM THE MOTLEY FOOL. They, in my opinion, have become a bunch of thieves!!!!

  17. THESE GUYS – A JOKE!! Signed up and they just asked me for more money!! Tried to cancel AUTO RENEW but could not on their website.

    1. Not true, when I signed up, I wasn’t asked for more money, so I don’t know what you’re talking about. I could cancel auto renew by emailing them, there was no problem doing so.

  18. This article/post contains references to products or services from one or more of investorjunkie’s advertisers or partners. They may receive compensation when you click on links to those products or services. This is the disclaimer BEFORE you start reading this article that purports to “review” Motley Fool. Since when have companies written bad reviews about their advertisers? If you want to get investment advice, reading an investment site that is paid by its advertisers to “review” the advertiser’s service is not the place to go. Instead, read the financial press, WSJ, Blumberg, read company news. Find out what companies you are interested in are doing, who is in their industry as competitors, and learn to assess value, like Warren Buffet so you can understand when a company is overvalued (not a time to buy), when it is coming out with new products or services and has few competitors. How can you determine if the MF is touting a stock because they have been paid to run it up or because it is truly a good buy? You can’t! That’s why you need to do your own homework by reading the mainstream financial press (as much as they let you for free) and taking calculated risks when the time is right, and you can afford to lose your hard earned money, but the signals say you will gain, long-term. If you want to subscribe, do so, but know that if you don’t do your own homework, and depending on a service, you will be sucked into advertising, succumb to more hype, pay fees you didn’t intend to, and they will eat into your profits dramatically, over time. That is not why you are investing in a stock picking service, is it?

  19. Pay only $99 for the annual privilege of being bombarded with email spam. Want to know the next great stock pick? Just pay them more money for another service to get more spam email which will promise to give you more great advice if you pay them even more money. This service is just one great big spam machine for which you pay to get spam’d. I was looking for sound investment advice delivered in a professional manner and the Fool only offers spam for fools.

  20. I won’t speak about their stock picking prowess but I will state that you should be careful about your subscription renewals. They will automatically renew after your initial subscription and if you try to cancel by email or by submitting an online form, you will receive no response and they do not assist you for existing services on the phone number listed. This borders on fraud and I am going to report them to the BBB

  21. Motley Fool is exactly what it says it is – a fool. Don’t be hyped into joining them – even for $99.00 as it’s a waste of time and money. I get a lot more out of other FREE sources. I give these guys a big “0” out of 10. Stay away!!

  22. Made some good money, then they went digital. Stopped supporting some of the stocks I had bought. You need to know when to sell, not just buy. It’s like a carnival now; hurry, hurry, hurry, look for our next recommendation. If you need to be spammed, The Motley Fool is your ticket. In twenty days, got 19 emails. If you listen to the emails, you will do exactly what they recommend against.
    Finally, to top it all off, I tried to cancel auto renewal. No option to do this, using the Comcast model. So I changed the credit card info. They still used the old information and renewed anyway. Sent a message about their fraudulence and stated I wanted a refund check. No feedback after three weeks.

  23. Yes, the constant efforts to upsell into new and additional advisory services is off-putting. You could sink thousands of dollars a year into this services, and stay constantly busy at deciding what to buy.

    They also have a managed account, I believe, which might be worth trying for a year or two to test how good they really are.

  24. I would not recommend the Motley Fool. Their recent recommendation of Luckin Coffee was a total disaster and many of their subscribers lost a lot of money. They also tout early investments in Amazon and Netflix but those investments are also over-hyped since it took years for those stocks to take off. The key to good investment advice is timing, not just picking the right stocks. The constant upsells are beyond annoying and I wish I had never subscribed and wasted my money.

    1. I wanted to invest in stocks. After Google Search I find Motley Fool Canada and entered my information. I received email and got annual membership. I am a paid member with Motley Fool and never received reports or recommendation. Instead, they are sending me a lot of advertisement email in order to grab more money form my pocket. I tried to contact them and left a few messages, but the y never respond to my phone calls. Then I sent them emails, and got automatic response that they will contact me in 24 hours. However, they don’t bother to contact once you get membership. Customer service is bad and they don’t care for their members. Please don’t waste your money and time with them. However, Motley Fool US is better as they receive call and provide response. I called them as I got their number from the internet and they responded quickly and advised that I should contact Motley Fool Canada. You can test Motley Fool Canada by calling them but they will not receive your call.

  25. Motley Fool is only good for themselves!! They could ruin a business. They predict a stock will go down and if that does not happen. They keep writing until it goes down!! After they write a review they advertise you should invest in something else and if you click on it it leads you to an ad which will ask you for money. Motley Fool will write articles until the stock bottoms out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button