Motley Fool and Stansberry Research are two of the most well-known and respected investment research companies in the market today. Motley Fool has made a name for itself by offering insightful stock market commentary and running stock picking newsletters that have dramatically outperformed the S&P 500. Meanwhile, Stansberry Research has consistently delivered high-quality investment ideas and offers a wide variety of stock picking newsletters for every investing style and goal.
If you’re looking to sign up for a stock picking service, is Motley Fool or Stansberry Research better for you? We’ll compare Motley Fool’s flagship Stock Advisor newsletter and Stansberry Research’s flagship Stansberry’s Investment Advisory to help you decide.
About Motley Fool and Stansberry Research
Motley Fool is an investment advisory platform founded by brothers Tom and David Gardner. The service launched in 1993 to offer its own unique take on the market and focuses on long-term high-growth stocks in emerging industries. The Stock Advisor newsletter was created in 2002 and has been remarkably successful over the past 20+ years.
Stansberry Research was founded around the same time as Motley Fool by investor Porter Stansberry. Stansberry focuses his investment strategies on shifting consumer preferences and market trends, making his style similar to that of the Gardner brothers. His flagship newsletter, Stansberry’s Investment Advisory, has a strong track record and currently includes some winning positions that have been open for more than 10 years. The company also has other popular newsletter services like True Wealth. However, we will focus primarily on Investment Advisory for this comparison
Motley Fool vs. Stansberry Research: Investing Style
Motley Fool Stock Advisor and Stansberry’s Investment Advisory have surprisingly similar investing styles. Both investment newsletters focus on long-term growth stocks. They lean into new industries that are poised to break out in the years ahead. Neither service attempts to time the day-to-day fluctuations of the stock market, but rather encourages investors to get in early on companies that are likely to succeed for years to come.
As an example, Motley Fool was an early proponent of companies like Amazon and Netflix. Stansberry Research saw the potential of semiconductor stocks and companies like Broadcom in the early 2000s.
Both services are built for long-term stock investors. Picks from Stock Advisor typically last five years or longer. Picks from Stansberry’s Investment Advisory can be open for even longer – one-fifth of the positions in the current portfolio date from 2012 or earlier.
Motley Fool vs. Stansberry Research: Pick Format and Frequency
The Stock Advisor and Stansberry’s Investment Advisory newsletters also have similar formats. Both offer monthly stock picks and alert subscribers to them via email. The systems are extremely easy for even beginner investors to follow.
A Stock Advisor subscription offers two picks per month – one from David Gardner’s team of analysts and one from Tom’s – while Stansberry’s Investment Advisory includes just one stock pick per month.
In each newsletter, the information you need to invest is easily accessible in a summary. There’s no entry price to try to time the market. You can simply buy a particular stock after it’s recommended.
That said, both newsletters go into detail about why new picks were recommended. Motley Fool tends to keep this explanation fairly succinct and focused on fundamentals, although the investment research isn’t data-heavy and is accessible to beginners. Stansberry Research, on the other hand, starts out every newsletter with a long story that ultimately leads into the stock pick. If you want a story behind your stock picks, Stansberry Research spins a better tale.
Portfolio updates are included with each newsletter, offering signals as to when you should consider selling individual stocks from your portfolio. Stansberry’s Investment Advisory subscribers are advised to place 25% trailing stop losses on every pick. Stock Advisor subscribers must rely on email alerts for unexpected sell orders. It can be a good idea to add your own stop losses to Stock Advisor picks, even though the service doesn’t explicitly recommend this.
Of course, you can view the current portfolio for either service online at any time. Motley Fool also includes several additional lists, including one of stocks currently in the portfolio that you should consider doubling down on and another of “foundational stocks” that every growth investor should own.
Motley Fool vs. Stansberry Research: Historical Performance
Stansberry Research doesn’t publish information about its performance over the years, which makes it difficult to gauge just how well its investment strategy has worked. Motley Fool, on the other hand, is upfront about its performance. Since 2002, the service has returned 464% compared to 125% for the S&P 500 (as of June 2023).
Motley Fool vs. Stansberry Research: Additional Services
Motley Fool and Stansberry Research have a lot to offer beyond just their flagship newsletters. Motley Fool is one of the top market news and analysis websites, with free stories daily analyzing the potential of popular stocks. The platform also has alternative stock picking newsletters, including the Rule Breakers newsletter, which is run by David Gardner’s team, and the Motley Fool Options trading service.
Stansberry Research offers a variety of different newsletters for investors with different goals. For example, there is a newsletter that focuses on alternative investments, several that focus on asset classes like commodities and energy, and another that focuses on emerging stocks in China. You can also purchase access to three complete portfolio solutions: the Total Portfolio, Income Portfolio, and Capital Portfolio. These model portfolios draw stock picks from a variety of the newsletters that Stansberry Research publishes.
Motley Fool Stock Advisor costs $99 for the first year (discounted from $199/year), while an annual subscription to Stansberry’s Investment Advisory costs $199. Pricing for the platforms’ other newsletters varies, but most of the stock-picking services are relatively affordable.
Both services offer 30-day money-back guarantees if you are not satisfied with the newsletters.
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Which Service is Better?
Both Motley Fool and Stansberry Research have a lot to offer investors. If you’re comparing only the two flagship products, we think Stock Advisor is a slightly better service than Stansberry’s Investment Advisory. It’s more affordable, at least for the first year, and includes two picks per month instead of one. Stock Advisor also includes lists of stocks that you can invest in at any time, which is especially helpful for boosting your returns if you want to jump into the market during the next dip.
Additionally, the Stock Advisor program is more transparent about its track record and performance. It’s hard to know exactly how well Stansberry’s Investment Advisory has performed.
Both companies offer more niche financial newsletters in addition to their flagship services. You can find newsletters specializing in tech, commodities, options trading, and more. However, we recommend starting with the core services before signing up for one of the specialty services.
Alternatives to Motley Fool and Stansberry Research
Both Motley Fool and Stansberry Research focus on long-term stock picks. They may not be the best platforms available if you want short-term picks for active trading or if you want the tools to do your own research. They also may not help you build a diversified portfolio since they both lean heavily towards tech stocks.
If you want to actively trade stocks based on technical analysis, consider a service like GorillaTrades. This service issues stock picks once a day rather than once a month and signals are based exclusively on price action. The system takes more effort to follow, since you need to be able to act on buy and sell alerts throughout the trading day. GorillaTrades costs $495 per year.
If you want research tools to find your own stock picks, you might prefer Zacks Premium. This research service highlights stocks that are highly rated by its analysts based on value, growth, and momentum qualities. You get access to a wealth of fundamental data and expert commentary for hundreds of US stocks in order to make your own investing decisions. Zacks Premium costs $249 per year.
Do Stock Advisor or Stansberry’s Investment Research cover ETFs?
Stock Advisor does occasionally recommend exchange-traded funds (ETFs), but ETF picks are relatively rare. Stansberry’s Investment Research does not make ETF recommendations.
How much money do I need to invest with Stock Advisor or Stansberry’s Investment Research?
Stock Advisor and Stansberry’s Investment Research both cost $199 per year. To make the subscription fee worthwhile, you should have at least a $10,000 portfolio to invest. Neither service recommends a minimum investment amount and you can still follow the stock recommendations if you have less capital available.
Conclusion: Motley Fool vs. Stansberry Research
Motley Fool and Stansberry Research are among the most popular stock picking services available today. We think Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor newsletter is the best choice for most long-term investors, and especially for those with cash available to invest during a downturn. However, Stansberry’s Investment Advisory is also an excellent choice. Stansberry Research offers more than 20 additional newsletters for investing in alternative assets like real estate or commodities.