Motley Fool Stock Advisor review

It may help cut down on research time, but its returns are hard to gauge.

The Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor delivers two stock suggestions monthly. But the ongoing cost may outweigh the benefit for experienced traders who prefer to perform their own research.

  • Consider Stock Advisor if you’re a beginner or intermediate investor interested in trading individual stocks.
  • Compare other options if you’re an advanced derivatives trader or a passive investor seeking portfolio management.
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$79 per year

Fee

What I think of Motley Fool Stock Advisor

I signed up for the Motley Fool Stock Advisor service to get a better idea of what it offers. Here’s my take on different aspects of the service.

The signup process is quick but expect some upselling

Upon completing my order, I was immediately hit with Motley Fool’s marketing and upselling tactics to upgrade to its Rule Breakers service. This upselling is a frequent complaint among Redditors. But you can simply reject the offer and continue with setting up your account.

Over the next few screens, the Fool asked me to commit to following its two main principles: hold the shares we buy for at least five years and buy shares of 25 or more companies. I was then asked to agree to follow these fundamentals, and if I disagreed, to be aware that it could put my investing success at risk. This is a simple buy-and-hold strategy that many expert investors swear by. Regardless of your selection, you then move on and set up your investing profile by answering a few questions about your investing strategy and goals.

The Stock Advisor account portal is straightforward

After setting up my investing profile, I arrived at the account home screen. Here, I was met with Motley Fool’s Stocks to Buy Today, which comprises the two new stock picks for the month and the Fool’s Best Buys Now recommendations. On this page, you’ll also find a news and analysis section, the day’s top movers and another link to upgrade to Rule Breakers.

The Find Stocks dropdown menu in the navigation menu presents the “Best Buys Now” stocks list, your watchlist, a stock screener and the performance of all previous recommendations going back to 2002. On the “Best Buys Now” page, you’ll find the recommended “Timely Stocks,” “Foundational Stocks” and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Recommended stock and ETF prices are high

The least-expensive stock on these lists trades at just over $105 per share as of market close on November 18, 2021. The most expensive is well over $3,000 per share. ETF prices range from around $60 per share to over $240 per share.

If you’re a beginner investor without a lot of money to invest, many of these stocks might seem expensive. If this is the case and you want to move forward with the Fool’s Stock Advisor service, consider opening an account with a broker that offers fractional share investing. That way, you can benefit from Stock Advisor but won’t need the entire amount of the share price to invest.

Motley Fool Stock Advisor performed well from 2016–2020

Here’s a breakdown of the results of the Fool’s picks over the last five years.

YearPicks per yearStock Advisor average returnS&P 500 average returnAverage vs S&P 500Stock Advisor picks with % return > 0% winnersMax returnMin return
202024100.27%50.73%49.53%1666.67%1165.50%-65.60%
201923119.92%69.04%50.87%1878.26%457.70%-91.90%
201824256.81%80.87%175.95%2291.67%1191.80%-33.00%
201723286.37%108.90%177.47%2191.30%1589.70%-2.70%
201621506.84%147.27%359.57%1990.48%4967.50%-53.20%
2016–115254.04%91.36%162.68%9683.67%4967.50%-91.90%
2020–

This data is pulled from the Stock Advisor Performance page. The Fool notes that the return for the S&P 500 shows what you would have gotten if you invested in the S&P 500 instead of each pick.

The Fool’s 115 stock picks between 2016 and 2020 have an average return of over 254%, compared to the S&P 500’s 91.36%. You can see how much returns increased over time, which goes back to its recommendation that you buy and hold its recommended stocks.

Our verdict

Motley Fool Stock Advisor can help you find new stock picks that tend to deliver strong returns over the long term.

The Fool’s Stock Advisor service delivers two fresh stock recommendations monthly, plus a list of essential stocks and ETFs updated either monthly or quarterly. Subscribers also get unlimited access to Motley Fool’s library of stock recommendations.

Investors looking for leads on new stock picks who don’t have the time or interest to do their own analysis should find Motley Fool Stock Advisor to be a useful resource. While not every stock pick will pan out, available data shows they’re right more often than they’re wrong, especially if you hold onto the stock over the long term.

Remember, to invest in the stocks the Motley Fool recommends, you’ll need a brokerage account. Compare your options across multiple trading platforms to find the account that best fits your needs.

What investments does Stock Advisor offer?

None. And that’s because the Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor program operates as a stock recommendation service, not an investment platform.

Through the service, you get two monthly fresh stock picks and access to the platform’s library of past recommendations. To act on the Stock Advisor’s advice and execute trades, you’ll need to open a separate brokerage account.

How does Stock Advisor work?

The Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor program is a stock recommendation service that offers timely investment guidance for investors looking to grow their portfolios. The service launched in 2002 and now has over 700,000 members.

The Motley Fool advertises that its service can significantly cut down the time investors spend researching potential assets to add to their portfolio. Subscribers receive:

  • 2 fresh stock picks — one on each the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month
  • 25 “Best Buys Now”
    • 10 timely stocks, updated monthly
    • 10 foundational stocks, updated quarterly
    • 5 exchange-traded funds (ETFs), updated quarterly
  • Unlimited access to the Motley Fool’s library of stock recommendations

Trades can’t be executed through the Motley Fool platform — the service exclusively offers recommendations.

Who is Stock Advisor best for?

The Motley Fool Stock Advisor program may be a good fit for:

  • New investors. Those new to the market may appreciate the research-driven stock recommendations of the program.
  • Buy-and-hold investors. Investors seeking growth-oriented stocks for long-term investments may be interested in the Fool’s recommendations.

Few traders would turn their noses up at stock recommendations from vetted market experts, but there are a few types of investors the Stock Advisor program is particularly well-suited to.

New investors still getting to know the market may benefit from the structured guidance of the Stock Advisor program, using the Fool’s recommendation library to track trends and strategies. Buy-and-hold investors looking for long-term growth opportunities may also be interested in the program, as it can reduce the time required to conduct market research.

That said, the Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor isn’t for everyone. Experienced options and derivatives investors and active or day traders may find the program’s recommendations too slow for time-sensitive trading. And passive investors who want their assets managed won’t be satisfied with the Fool.

How does Stock Advisor work?

The Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor program is a stock recommendation service that offers timely investment guidance for investors looking to grow their portfolios. The service launched in 2002 and now has over 700,000 members.

The Motley Fool advertises that its service can significantly cut down the amount of time that investors spend researching potential assets to add to their portfolio. A membership gives you unlimited access to the Motley Fool’s library of stock recommendations, plus two fresh stock picks monthly from the platform’s founders, Tom and David Gardner.

Trades can’t be executed through the Motley Fool platform — the service exclusively offers recommendations.

Who is Stock Advisor best for?

The Motley Fool Stock Advisor program may be a good fit for:

  • New investors. Those new to the market may appreciate the research-driven stock recommendations of the program.
  • Buy-and-hold investors. Investors seeking growth-oriented stocks for long-term investments may be interested in the Fool’s recommendations.

Few traders would turn their noses up at stock recommendations from vetted market experts, but there are a few types of investors the Stock Advisor program is particularly well-suited to.

New investors still getting to know the market may benefit from the structured guidance of the Stock Advisor program, using the Fool’s recommendation library to track trends and strategies. Buy-and-hold investors looking for long-term growth opportunities may also be interested in the program, as it can reduce the amount of time required to conduct market research.

That said, the Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor isn’t for everyone. Experienced options and derivatives investors and active or day traders may find the program’s recommendations too slow for time-sensitive trading. And passive investors who want their assets managed won’t be satisfied with the Fool.

Fees and costs

Investors can opt to pay for the Stock Advisor program on an annual or monthly basis:

  • $39 per month
  • $199 per year (for new members)

The program’s annual subscription is considerably cheaper than its month-to-month service, but it’s for new members only. You’ll be asked to pay for the service upfront when you sign up. If the annual subscription feels like too big a commitment, the Motley Fool offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for annual plan members. The 30-day refund window is not offered to those who sign up for its monthly service.

Month-to-month and annual members gain access to the same stock advisory services. The only thing that separates these membership tiers is the frequency and rate at which they’re billed.

Is the price worth it?

The Motley Fool claims an average stock pick return of over 686% as of November 2021. Take this at face value and you only need to invest $11 for an annual Stock Advisor subscription to pay for itself. And compare this to the 10% to 11% average annual return of the S&P 500 and the Fool’s stock recommendations look even more appealing.

But the 686% return quoted on the Fool’s website is somewhat misleading. What you earn on your investment is going to be heavily impacted by outlier stocks that take big swings, like Tesla and Netflix. To get a 686% return, you’d need to buy one of every stock the Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommends — an expensive endeavor.

On top of that, stocks with major growth are often highly publicized. For example, the Motley Fool often cites its popular stock pick, Netflix, which it says is up 22,021% as of September 2020. But here’s the catch: Most people have heard of Netflix, and the company’s growth is no secret — a lot of market-savvy investors bought Netflix outside of the Fool’s recommendation.

It’s impossible to put a dollar amount on the value of the Stock Advisor. It has the potential to outpace the S&P 500 and can be a great tool for new investors looking for guidance. But hands-on investors can uncover a lot of the same information by tracking market movements and performing diligent research. A major factor in the Stock Advisor’s value is simply how much you value your time — because the program’s biggest asset is the research time it can save you.

How do I sign up?

Here’s what to expect from the Motley Fool Stock Advisor signup process.

  1. Select Join Stock Advisor from the Motley Fool homepage.
  2. Enter your full name, billing address, phone number, email address and payment information.
  3. Review Motley Fool’s Terms and Conditions.
  4. Select Submit My Order.

Eligibility

You must meet the following eligibility criteria to sign up for the Stock Advisor program:

  • Valid residential address
  • Valid credit or debit card

Required information

Have the following information ready when you set up your account:

  • Full name
  • Residential address
  • Email address
  • Payment information

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Monthly stock picks. Two new stock recommendations monthly from Motley Fool founders, Tom and David Gardner.
  • Stock recommendation library. Access to the Stock Advisor’s past recommendations.
  • 30-day refund period. The Fool offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for annual subscriptions.
  • Open to international investors. International investors can sign up for the Fool’s Stock Advisor program, but recommendations are limited to stocks that trade on US exchanges.

Cons

  • Risk of loss. Any stock you invest in on the recommendation of the Stock Advisor program — or elsewhere — carries a risk.
  • Upselling. Many complain the Motley Fool attempts to upsell products and programs.

Is the Stock Advisor program legit?

The Stock Advisor program is offered by the Motley Fool, a private financial advice company founded in 1993 and headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia. The company was founded by brothers Tom and David Gardner. While the brothers have no formal trading education, they share a keen interest in finance and have been investing since they were teenagers.

The Motley Fool isn’t accredited with the Better Business Bureau and has no complaints against it with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Motley Fool Stock Advisor reviews and complaints

Motley Fool feedback is mixed. As of March 2022, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) awards it a B rating.

Reviews left on the BBB and Trustpilot complain of the company’s auto-renewal policy and delayed responses from customer service. Numerous reviews also cite ongoing upselling tactics, with complaints of being bombarded by advertisements for other Motley Fool products and programs.

Redditors also show mixed sentiment. Some say they’ve had success using the Stock Advisor service, while others suggest not paying for stock ideas when they’re free in so many other places.

BBB ratingB
BBB accreditedNo
BBB customer rating3.98/5 based on 166 customer reviews
Trustpilot score3.6/5 out of 4,928 customer reviews
Google Play appN/A
Apple app storeN/A
Customer reviews verified as ofMarch 2022

But it’s not all bad. There’s plenty of positive feedback for the Fool, too, including praise for the company’s reliable portfolio guidance and its concise, timely stock recommendations.

Numerous Redditors back the service, claiming competitive returns on Fool recommendations. But others warn that its stock suggestions are biased and that the Fool simply aims to pump up stocks it’s invested in.

How do I contact Motley Fool support?

Reach out to Motley Fool support by:

  • Phone. Call 888-665-3665 weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET.
  • Email. Send an email to membersupport@fool.com for a response from the customer support team.

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