Investing in the stock market is a key part of putting your money to work for you. But it can be daunting to start investing without advice about where to put your money.
That’s where investment advice websites come in. These online services help you decide what stocks and funds to invest in while still leaving you with the freedom to make your own decisions.
In this guide, we’ll explain how investment advice websites work and why they’re a good fit for many investors. We’ll also highlight several of the best investment advice websites you can get started with today.
What Is An Investment Advice Website?
An investment advice website is an online platform that helps you decide how to invest your money. These can be anything from one-size-fits-all platforms that offer market news and analysis to highly tailored services that assess your investment goals to suggest specific stocks. Some sites, like Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement, provide general financial advice while others provide specific investment advice (i.e. stock picks).
One thing that these sites share in common is that they provide advice, not investing services. It is up to you to make the final decisions about what stocks to buy and sell and how to allocate your investments.
Many investment advice websites are paid services, but you can often access a limited set of features for free.
Why Use Investment Advice Websites?
Investment advice websites can be extremely useful for self-directed investors. These platforms don’t automatically invest your money for you, like a robo-advisor would. Rather, they give you the information and tools you need to make smarter decisions about how to invest. Investment advice websites are particularly well-suited for anyone who wants to invest independently, but who may need a little help figuring out what stocks to invest in or how to build a diversified portfolio.
Notably, a financial advisor can provide some of the same services as an investment advice website. However, traditional financial advisors are typically much more expensive than turning to an online platform for advice.
How To Choose An Investment Advice Website
There are hundreds of investment advice websites and no single platform that’s best for every investor. Which investment advice service will be right for you depends on how independent an approach you want to take to your investing, what your financial goals are, and what kind of information you want to rely on to make investing decisions.
For example, some investment advice sites offer outright stock picks, with explanations of why the analysts behind the platform think a particular stock is worth adding to your portfolio. This can be very helpful if you want to take some of the work out of researching stocks, since much of the discovery and analysis process is done for you. However, these sites won’t necessarily help you build a diversified portfolio, and it’s not always easy to gauge how risky a stock pick is.
If you want to take greater ownership of the discovery and analysis process, there are numerous advice services that can help. These websites may have their own analyst teams that rank stocks or that simply list top picks. Or they may source data from major Wall Street firms that publicly issue buy and sell ratings on popular stocks. In any case, the ranking simply serves as a starting point for discovery – it is still up to you to decide whether a highly rated stock is a good investment in general and, more specifically, whether it is right for your portfolio.
There are also investment advice websites that can help you develop a long-term financial plan and invest to meet your goals. These sites might offer tools like retirement calculators and portfolio diversification analysis, or they may provide nudges to help you keep your investment portfolio on track over time. Often, it’s a good idea to use an investment planner website like this in conjunction with a stock-picking or research site so you can make sure you’re building a stable portfolio that pushes you closer to your goals.
Best Investment Advice Websites
With all that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the best investment advice websites on the market today.
Best For Stock Picks – The Motley Fool
The Motley Fool is a largely free market news and analysis service that focuses on individual stocks. The site publishes new articles each day about stocks that are in the news or that investors may not have heard about and explains why they are or are not a good investment at the moment. The Motley Fool’s analysis is particularly nice because it’s straightforward to understand, even for casual investors.
The Motley Fool also offers several paid stock picking services such as Stock Advisor. For $199 per year ($99 for the first year), the service offers two stock picks per month. The only downside to The Motley Fool is that there’s not much research about stocks the service hasn’t written about recently, so you’re getting a relatively narrow view of the overall market. The company offers more comprehensive services like Motley Fool One and Everlasting Portfolio.
That said, the Stock Advisor program is very affordable and has a stellar reputation. It’s a great starting point for most investors.
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Best For Self-Directed Stock Research – Zacks Investment Research
Zacks Investment Research takes an almost opposite approach from The Motley Fool. Instead of focusing on a select few stocks, Zacks tries to provide as much analysis as it can of every stock. The service rates stocks on multiple scales, including scores for growth, value, and momentum. It also ranks picks on a 1-5 scale based on how the service’s analysts feel about them. Putting Zacks to work requires a fair amount of independent research, but the website provides a great starting point for finding promising stocks.
Much of the stock information on Zacks is free, but you must pay for Zacks Premium if you want all the rating details. The service costs $249 per year.
Best For Analyst Opinions – TipRanks
TipRanks is an extremely capable stock research and investment advice website. The main reason to use this site is that it compiles Wall Street analysts’ ratings for thousands of stocks, so you can quickly see what institutional investors think about any stock’s prospects. But TipRanks also offers a number of other useful tools for investors, including portfolio analysis and a stock screener.
With a paid subscription, you also get access to trending stocks, top picks from TipRanks’ analysts, and a list of stocks that are experiencing high levels of insider buying. Paid plans start at $29.95 per month.
Best For Financial Planning – Personal Capital
Personal Capital is designed to serve as an online financial advisor, helping you do everything from managing your spending to investing for retirement. The site offers a calculator and investing questionnaire to enable you to understand how much you need to save for long-term goals and what investing style suits you best. You can then track all of your brokerage and bank accounts in one place and use the portfolio analysis tool to make sure that your investments are aligned with your goals.
Importantly, Personal Capital won’t help you decide what individual stocks to invest in. The service is best when used as a tool to help guide the investments you make using information from another investment advice website. Personal Capital is completely free to use.
Conclusion: Investment Advice Websites
Using an investment advice website can empower you to make smarter decisions about how to invest your money. These sites not only give you critical information and stock research, but also offer tools and resources for building a portfolio and determining how investing enables you to achieve your broader financial goals. It can be very helpful to use multiple investment advice websites in order to combine different types of investing information.