The Motley Fool and Stansberry Research are two of the most well-known and respected investing services on the market today. The 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. Stansberry Research, meanwhile, has been delivering investment ideas since before the digital age. It offers an extremely 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 The Motley Fool or Stansberry Research better for you? We’ll focus our comparison on The Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor newsletter and Stansberry’s Investment Advisory, since these are the flagship products from each service.
About The Motley Fool and Stansberry Research
The Motley Fool is an investment advisory platform run 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 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 The 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, the Investment Advisory, has a similarly strong track record and currently includes some winning positions that have been open for more than 10 years. The company also has other newsletter services like True Wealth, however we will be focusing primarily on Investment Advisory for this comparison
The Motley Fool vs. Stansberry Research: Investing Style
The Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor and Stansberry Research’s Invest Advisory have surprisingly similar investing styles. Both investment newsletters focus on long-term growth stocks, with an eye towards new industries that are poised to break out in coming years. 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, The 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 are open for at least one year, and typically last three years or longer. Picks from Stansberry Investment Advisory can be open for even longer – one-fifth of the positions in the current portfolio date from 2012 or earlier.
The Motley Fool vs. Stansberry Research: Pick Format and Frequency
Stock Advisor and Stansberry Investment Advisory also take a similar form. Both offer monthly alert emails, making the systems extremely easy to follow even for beginner investors. Stock Advisor includes two picks – one from David Gardner and one from Tom – while Stansberry Investment Advisory includes just one stock pick. Neither newsletter includes exchange-traded funds.
In each newsletter, the information you need to invest is easily accessible in a summary. But both newsletters go into detail about why new picks were recommended. The Motley Fool tends to keep this explanation fairly succinct and focused on fundamental data. 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 Investment Advisory subscribers are advised to place 25% trailing stop losses on every pick. Stock Advisors subscribers must rely on email alerts for unexpected sell orders.
Of course, you can view the current portfolio for either service online at any time. The Motley Fool also includes several additional lists, including one of stocks currently in the portfolio that you should consider doubling down on.
The 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. The Motley Fool, on the other hand, is upfront about its performance. Since 2002, the service has returned 504% compared to 95% for the S&P 500.
The Motley Fool vs. Stansberry Research: Additional Services
The Motley Fool and Stansberry Research have a lot to offer beyond just their flagship newsletters. The 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 run by David Gardner alone 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 portfolios draw stock picks from a variety of the newsletters that Stansberry Research publishes.
The 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 offerings.
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Which Service is Better?
Both The 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 Investment Advisory. It’s more affordable, includes two picks per month instead of one, and includes lists of stocks that you can invest in at any time. The list of stocks to double down on can be 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 should be noted that both companies offer other niche services as well (i.e. specializing in tech, commodities, etc.), however, we recommend starting with the core services before choosing one of the specialty services.
We recommend reading our full Motley Fool review and Stansberry Research review to learn more about both of the services.
Alternatives to The Motley Fool and Stansberry Research
Both The 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.
Conclusion: The Motley Fool vs. Stansberry Research
The Motley Fool and Stansberry Research are among the most popular stock picking services available today. We think The Motley Fool’s flagship Stock Advisor newsletter is the best choice for most long-term investors, and especially those with cash available to invest during a downturn. However, Stansberry’s Investment Advisory is also an excellent choice and Stansberry Research offers over 20 other newsletters for investing in alternative assets like real estate or commodities.