Finding the right stocks to include in your portfolio is one of the most challenging aspects of investing. The good news is that there are many stock picking and investment research services that can help.
Two services worth considering are The Motley Fool and Simply Wall St. The Motley Fool has a stock picking service focused on long-term stocks that are poised for explosive growth. Simply Wall St is a self-directed research platform that can help you find value, growth, and dividend stocks.
The two platforms are both very high-quality, but they take distinct approaches to investing. We’ll compare The Motley Fool vs. Simply Wall St to help you decide which of these platforms is best for you.
About The Motley Fool and Simply Wall St
The Motley Fool is an investment media firm that was founded by brothers Tom and David Gardner in 1993. The firm started out offering contrarian investment research before launching its flagship Stock Advisor stock picking service in 2002. The Rule Breakers stock picking service followed in 2004.
The Motley Fool now offers more than a dozen different stock recommendation services. The Stock Advisor service alone has over 750,000 members.
Simply Wall St is a stock research platform that launched in Australia in 2014. It provides automated reports on more than 100,000 stocks and offers in-depth visualizations to convey fundamental stock data. Simply Wall St has 5 million users worldwide.
The Motley Fool Investing Approach
The Motley Fool and Simply Wall St are very different in how they enable investors to approach the market and find stocks to invest in.
The Motley Fool mainly provides stock recommendations. The Stock Advisor service includes two new ready-to-buy stock picks each month. The recommendations are accompanied by brief analyst reports, but The Motley Fool doesn’t provide any in-depth tools to enable you to do your own fundamental analysis. The service is set up so that when a new pick comes out, you can simply add it to your portfolio.
The Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers services both focus on explosive growth stocks. Past picks include Amazon, Tesla, and Netflix, to give some examples. Picks have an investment horizon of around five years, but many have been in the portfolios for more than a decade. Both services also offer lists of evergreen stocks to buy, which is helpful if you’re starting a new portfolio or have some extra cash to invest.
What’s really incredible about The Motley Fool’s recommendations is how well they’ve performed. The Stock Advisor service has returned 400% for investors since launch compared to 119% for the S&P 500 over the same period. The Rule Breakers service has returned 202% compared to 101% for the S&P 500.
Simply Wall St Investing Approach
Simply Wall St is much more self-directed than The Motley Fool. This service provides in-depth fundamental research reports for more than 150,000 stocks. It’s up to you to use these reports and the other tools that Simply Wall St offers to decide what to invest in.
Simply Wall St’s stock reports stand out for their excellent data visualizations. Instead of combing through financial tables, you can view bar charts and graphs showing how key valuation and financial health metrics have changed over time and how they compare to a company’s competitors. However, Simply Wall St’s analysis can feel superficial at times. This isn’t a platform for running your own valuation models, like Stock Rover or Old School Value.
One of the best things about Simply Wall St is the snowflake diagram it offers for every stock. This effectively grades each stock on value, growth, past performance, financial health, and dividend payout. Simply Wall St’s stock screener lets you use these ratings to narrow down your list of stocks to research, which is very helpful if you have an investment thesis in mind.
Simply Wall St also puts together lists of top stocks for different industries or themes. For example, you can find a list of the top five solar energy stocks or the top 10 African stocks. These aren’t recommendations and you still have to carefully research any stocks you find in these lists. But they can be a good starting point for finding investment ideas.
The Motley Fool vs. Simply Wall St: Pricing
The Motley Fool’s list price is $199 per year for Stock Advisor and $299 per year for Rule Breakers. You can buy both services through the Epic Bundle for $499 per year. This bundle also includes the Motley Fool’s Everlasting Stocks and Real Estate Winners services.
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Simply Wall St offers a free plan that gives you access to five stock research reports per month, but doesn’t include the stock screener. You can access the stock screener and get 30 reports per month for $120 per year. Unlimited access to Simply Wall St costs $240 per year.
Motley Fool vs. Simply Wall St: Which Service is Better?
The Motley Fool and Simply Wall St are both excellent services. Which is better for you depends largely on how you want to approach building your portfolio.
The Motley Fool’s services are best if you prefer ready-to-buy stock picks over doing your own in-depth research. Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers have both outperformed the S&P 500 by wide margins, so the truth is that most self-directed investors will have a tough time putting together a better performing portfolio on their own.
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The only caveat is that both services focus on high-growth stocks with five-year investment horizons. It’s important to think about whether a growth-heavy, long-term portfolio is right for your investment goals.
Simply Wall St gives you more flexibility to find stocks that match your strategy. You can use the service to focus on dividend stocks or beaten-down value stocks, for example. You can also invest in themes like emerging markets or green energy using Simply Wall St’s top stocks lists. If you like doing your own stock research and finding picks, you may find more enjoyment in using Simply Wall St compared to simply following the Motley Fool’s recommendations.
Alternatives to The Motley Fool and Simply Wall St
There are several services that offer a combination of stock picking and fundamental research tools.
For example, Zacks Premium offers in-depth fundamental analysis and analyst research reports for thousands of stocks. It also offers a list of top stock picks, which investors can use like a list of recommendations. It’s not quite as turnkey as The Motley Fool, but offers more direction than Simply Wall St. Zacks Premium costs $249 per year.
Another option is Seeking Alpha. This service offers a portfolio you can follow along with tons of tools for doing your own detailed stock analysis. The Seeking Alpha stock screener is incredibly powerful for finding stocks based on a custom investment strategy. Seeking Alpha Premium costs $239 per year.
Conclusion: Motley Fool vs. Simply Wall St
The Motley Fool and Simply Wall St are both strong services that offer very different ways of approaching the market. The Motley Fool’s services offer investment-ready stock picks with a focus on long-term growth. Simply Wall St offers fundamental research reports, a stock screener, and top stocks lists to help you find your own investment ideas.
Which service is right for you depends on whether you’re happy to copy a successful portfolio or prefer to build a custom portfolio around your own ideas.
*Returns as of 2/13/23. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Individual investment results may vary. All investing involves risk of loss.