q Is the Motley Fool Legit? Is the Motley Fool Credible? (Here are the facts)
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Is the Motley Fool Legit? Is the Motley Fool Credible?

There are many financial services on the internet that offer stock market predictions and stock recommendations. There are many services that come and go as they try to make a name for themselves with their “proprietary analysis” or other “secret” methods.

Few have stood the test of time, and even fewer have actually outperformed the market.

Founded in 1993, The Motley Fool is one of the most popular stock picking services. And with over 500,000 paid subscribers (myself included), The Motley Fool is definitely legit.

The Motley Fool’s most popular services, Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers review, have both outperformed the S&P 500 by a wide margin since they were launched. This is quite remarkable given that 95% of fund managers on Wall Street struggle just to match the market’s return.

Take a look at this chart below. It is really all you need to know about their most popular, which also happens to be their most profitable, subscription service.

Going back to the launch of their Stock Advisor service in 2002, the average return of all 500+ stock picks (that’s 2 stock picks per month) has crushed the S&P 500. As you can see from the chart, their picks spiked in late 2021 but took a hit in 2022 (like most stocks). But over the last 2 years their picks are back on their strong uptrend.

Take a look at their current ad which shows an average return of 600+% vs the market’s 150+% return. No other stock subscription service comes close to that 20 year record.

So are they legit? The answer is an absolute YES. Over 22 years there picks absolutely have outperformed the market by a wide margin.

But the real question you should be asking now is “how are their current picks doing?’

I have also analyzed their 2023 picks. They are also beating all of the most popular stock picking newsletters, as you can see from our extensive analysis below where they win our award for Best Stock Newsletter of 2023.

Our Best-of-the-Best Awards for 2023

Ranking of Top Stock Newsletters Based on 2023 Picks, Dec. 31, 2023

We are paid subscribers to dozens of stock and option newsletters. We actively track every recommendation from all of these services, calculate performance, and share our results of the top performing stock newsletters for under $500 below. The main metric to look for is EXCESS RETURN--that means they are beating the market!

RankStock NewsletterStock
Max %
Min %
Stock Advisor
Summary: 2 picks/month offering long-term potential; Lifetime average return of 703% vs S&P500's 155% since 2002; Retail Price: $199/yr.
Read our Stock Advisor Review.
Current Promotion: Save $110 with this COUPON
Everlasting Stocks
Summary: Only sold as part of Epic Bundle (includes Everlasting Stocks, Stock Advisor, Rule Breakers); 2 picks/month; Tom Gardner's service with the same team that has beaten the market by 3x; Retail Price: $299/yr.
Read our Epic Bundle Review.
Epic Bundle ($1000+ Value): Now Just $319
Moby.co Premium
Summary: 2 or 3 picks/week from Moby analysts in a variety of sectors; Launched in 2020; every year they have beat the SPY; Retail Price: $199/yr.
Read our Moby Stock Picks Review.
Current Promotions:
Get #1 Pick for Free or Save $100 on Premium
Alpha Picks
Summary: 2 picks/month based on Seeking Alpha's Quant Rating; Launched in July, 2022; 2022 picks are beating the market by 108%; Lifetime average return of 68% vs S&P500's 21% since 2022; Retail Price: $499/yr.
Read our Alpha Picks Review.
Current Promotion:
Save $50
Value Investor
Summary: 10-25 stock picks per year based on Zacks' Quant Rating; Retail Price: $495/yr. Read our Zacks Review.Current Promotion:$1, then $495/yr
Rule Breakers
Summary: 2 picks/month focusing on disruptive technology and business models; Lifetime average return of 266% vs S&P500's 118% since 2005; Retail Price: $299/yr. Read our Rule Breakers Review.Current Promotion: Try it for $99/yr
7.Real Estate Investors1214.6%11.9%2.7%83%44%-11%
8.Cramer's Action Alerts Plus10110.6%11.1%-0.5%48%96%-51%
9.Zacks Top 101023.2%26.2%-3%60%120%-24%
10.Top Under $1059-2.4%2.8%-5.2%36%130%-44%
11.Home Run Investor46-1.8%3.6%-5.4%50%49%-29%
12.Dogs of the Dow1014.5%26.2%-11.7%70%95%-25%
13.IBD Top 50 Leaderboard5013.5%26.2%-12.7%n/an/an/a
Top Ranking Stock Newsletters based on their 2023 stock picks' performance as compared to S&P500. S&P500's return is based on average return of SP from date each stock pick is released. NOTE: To get these results you must buy equal dollar amounts of each pick on the date the stock pick is released. Investor Business Daily Top 50 based on performance of FFTY ETF.

As you can see from above, the Motley Fool Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers picks are once again performing really well in 2023, easily outperforming the market. They are beating the other services listed above. FYI–the Everlasting Stocks (part of their Epic Bundle) is also a Motley Fool product.

In case you are wondering where I get all of this information, I am a subscriber to ALL of these services and another dozen or so. For example, I have been a paid subscriber to their stock newsletter services for over 8 years now. You can see my results in that table.

So why else do I know they are legitimate?

  • Because I have called them on occasion to ask about their other services and it is easy to get through to talk to a real person.
  • I have also called to cancel my service to see if they would give me a refund. They did. And then I re-subscribed.
  • Because I have met their staff at their Alexandria, Virginia offices and at various stock education and marketing conferences around the country.

And, most importantly, because I have purchased about $1,500 of every single one of their Stock Advisor stock picks since January 2016 in my ETrade account, and those picks have been super profitable and have absolutely crushed the S&P 500 returns. Take a look…

Here is a little more information about the Motley Fool, including a screenshot of my ETrade account.

  • Since inception, the Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor picks have an AVERAGE return of 500+% vs the market’s 130%
  • their 2020 stock picks included TSLA being up 884% for me since I bought it following their recommendation on January 2, 2020. Tesla has backed off a bit in price, but it is still a top winner. Here is a screenshot of my ETrade account as of January 1, 2024 where it is up 868% (I bought it at $28.59, split adjusted, on January 2, 2020 when they recommended it.)
  • their 2019 stock picks are up 85% compared to the market’s 71%
  • their 2018 picks are up 217% compared to the market’s 83%
  • their 2017 picks are up 259% vs the market’s 110%
  • and their 2016 picks are up an amazing 402% vs the market’s 142%

FYI–their Stock Advisor stock picks have outperformed the S&P 500 each year for the last 5 years. They do this by picking a lot of stocks that double or triple each year.

  • 78% of their picks are profitable
  • 53 out of 120 stocks have more than doubled
  • 33 have more than tripled
  • and 21 have more than quadrupled

Look at those MAX RETURNS in the right column above and you will see how they get these great average returns. A few stocks from each year are simply fantastic (Shopify was their top-performing pick in 2016; Zoom their pick in 2019, etc).

  • TSLA is their 2020 top performer, up 1,320%.
  • HUBS is their top pick from 2019, up 423%
  • SHOP (re-recommended), which is up 1,105% is their top performer from 2018
  • NVDA, which is up 1,059%, is their top pick from 2017
  • SHOP, which is up 4,628% is their top pick from 2016

So the KEY to using the Motley Fool Stock Advisor service is to buy the same dollar amount of each of their stocks when they recommend them. In other words, if you are saving $2,000 a month, you have to buy $1,000 of each of their 2 picks per month.

Yes they do pick a few losers as you can see, but the average of all their picks is crushing the market.

IMPORTANT: The Motley Fool offers many stock newsletters and some have performed better than others. The results I present here are based on my experience with their STOCK ADVISOR service. It is the one that normally sells for $199 a year, but is now being promoted for just $89 for new subscribers. Anybody that says bad things about the Fool clearly has not subscribed to their STOCK ADVISOR service in the last 5 years!

My firsthand experience with their services is how I know that the Motley Fool is LEGIT!

There you go, I just saved you hours of research and countless sleepless nights.

If you came here just to see all of that, then click here to visit their new subscriber page and get their next 24 stock picks for just $89.


There is much more for you to know.

So Why Do They Get Negative Reviews?

Anybody that writes a negative review is definitely NOT following the Motley Fool “rules of investing.”

Sure, some of the picks go down and lose money. And sure, sometimes the market goes down. But the Motley Fool clearly says you should plan on buying at least 25 stocks over a 5 year period and holding stocks for at least 5 years.

The stock market does go down from time to time and if you are investing for just a few months or even a year, then the Motley Fool is NOT for you. It is NOT for day traders or swing traders–It is for INVESTORS that plan on staying invested for at least 5 years.

The Motley Fool naysayers are probably those that are looking for a quick buck and not planning on INVESTING for 5 years.

I have been a subscriber and buying their picks since 2016 and yes I have lost money on some, but OVERALL my portfolio is well ahead of the S&P500.

Motley Fool is definitely a legit investment-advice service that helps you stay on top of trends and conquer the market and it has helped me beat the market since I subscribed.

But it’s very important to have an understanding of the Motley Fool before signing up.

So, without further ado…

…let’s dive into the story and services of the Motley Fool!

The Motley Fool Story

You may be wondering where the name “Motley Fool” comes from. It comes from a Shakespeare comedy known as “As You Like It.”

In this comedy, there is a single character that can speak truth to power.

The “Motley Fool” can say the truth to the king without getting his head chopped off.

And so, the Motley Fool investment company pops up around the idea that someone should speak the truth in the investment space.

The truth helps ordinary people navigate the power of the stock market.

And the Motley Fool actually began with some interesting tactics.

They first gained some attention by publishing an April Fool’s joke with a string of messages about penny stock investing and a sewage-disposal company This led to an article in the Wall Street Journal, and they later got a content partnership with AOL. The company was then featured in the New Yorker that same year.

That was in 1994, before internet investing advice really took off.

In 1996, the founding Gardner brothers published an investing guide which hit the best seller list in the New York Times.

The company picked up attention and notoriety, with fans being polarized over the investing advice.

By 1997, they cut ties with AOL and created a domain of their own.

By 2002, after the dot-com bubble burst, the company moved to subscription revenue and launched its investment advice service.

The company believes that every dollar you invest should be treated with care and responsibility.

They think that finding the great businesses of the world is the best way to make a great return.

By keeping score and remaining transparent in the way that they deliver information, they inspire trust and encourage great investments.

About The Motley Fool

The Motley Fool is not an investment broker, it’s an investment guidance and education service. They provide both stock picks and long-term education around the way that the stock market works.

It’s this balance of evergreen advice and hot off the press news that keeps the Motley Fool so fresh.

If you want to be a great investor, you’re going to need to understand how the stock market works.

We’re talking nuts and bolts.

You have to know how the pieces move and the best way to bring the information to bear on your portfolio.

But you also have to understand the latest news and culture of the world.

Without hot tips in the moments that they break, even the best investors can lose money and miss opportunities.

By delivering both kinds of information, the Fool tries to maximize return.

Motley Fool Branding

Some of the issues with people thinking that the Motley Fool is a scam is that the Motley Fool often markets and brands themselves in ways that might seem a little cheesy.

They are passionate about finances, and not afraid to promise that you’ll make a ton of money. But the thing is…the Motley Fool has made people a ton of money.

The founders and leadership of the company, Tom and David Gardner, both really care about integrity. The marketing they do is great because it is backed up with great investment advice.

If you are promising people great financial returns and special services, and aren’t delivering, then yes, you are ripping people off.

But if you are using marketing gimmicks and cheesy slogans and also making people money–then more power to you. The marketing and entertainment that the Motley Fool brings to investment advice is clearly working. But more importantly, the Motley Fool gets results.

After all, their slogan is “to educate, amuse, and enrich.” Their mascot is literally a court jester, a “fool.” And for all of the shenanigans…the company shows that investing and financial services do not have to be dry and boring to be useful and successful. They certainly amuse people, and they’ve achieved enriching results over the years.

So, don’t be fooled by “the Fool.” Don’t let the jester’s clothing convince you that his act isn’t backed by a great perception of the king’s court. Trust that fools and jesters can give great, market-bending advice for people who are willing to listen!

Motley Fool Results

To learn more about how the Motley Fool stock picks have obtained these remarkable results, click on this image to read our deep dive article that explores their results per year, and their current stock picks.

Motley Fool Services

Before diving into the services themselves, I want to highlight a few features of each of their services:

Long-Term Investments

The Motley Fool is going to be ideal for traders who want to buy great stock and then hold it for a very long time.

They are not day traders trying to make a few bucks off the fluctuations of the market.

The brains behind the Motley Fool focus on long term investing.

Motley Fool investments may lose money initially, but the team has a phenomenal track record of hitting home runs in the long run.

Money-Back Guarantee

The Motley Fool offers a full refund after 30 days, no questions asked.

Additionally, many of their premium subscriptions give you a full year window to get your money back if you aren’t happy with the service.

That kind of money-back guarantee is a great way of signaling to potential customers the amount of value they provide.

People don’t have problems getting their money back either, because the company runs a no-questions asked policy that makes sure that people don’t experience problems.

Now, on to the services themselves…

1. Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Every month, the team carefully vets and selects 2 stock picks that they officially recommend for you to consider picking up.

They also provide 10 stocks that they think are great to buy in the moment.

You also get access to a bunch of education resources, and a great selection of stocks for people who are just jumping into the market.

Stock Advisor lists for $199 a year, but you can sometimes get it for just $89 or less through this link.

When you consider the +500% average return that the service has claimed over about 20ish years, this is well worth the investment if you put in enough money.

2. Motley Fool Rule Breakers

Rule Breakers focuses on higher-growth businesses that the Motley Fool thinks are well-poised to disrupt entire industries.

They provide a couple of stocks that they think are good picks each month, and they also offer 5 stocks out of 200 that they think are the hottest buys at the moment.

You’ll also get recommendations for starter stocks and access to plenty of educational resources.

It lists for $299/year but you can get a significant discount of $99 through this link.

3. Rule Your Retirement

This is an investment service geared toward those in or nearing retirement.

Not only do you get a guide to how you should invest, you get great advice on how to set up your portfolio, rebalance on the fly, and trade mutual funds and ETFs.

With mutual fund and ETF recommendations, you’ll be able to set up a financial portfolio that helps you unfold your retirement over time.

With this service, you also get information about social security and how to maximize benefits moving forward.

That’s great for many of us that don’t really understand how social security works and what we might do with it!

You also get advice on how to set up estate planning and insurance that makes retirement a lot less stressful.

4. Market Pass

One of the biggest premium services, Market Pass is not currently accepting new members.

Subscribers get new stock ideas every single week from both Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers, but you also get access to research on long-term trends and hot ideas.

You’ll get white papers on artificial intelligence and the latest biotech.

5. Options

Also closed to new members, the Options university teaches you the most popular strategies and basic ideas about options and stocks.

You get notifications and recommendations for the portfolio.

You’ll get new commentary and news about options, and you can learn how to generate income even on a flat market.

Here is our review of the Motley Fool Options Service.

6.Total Income

For a couple thousand a year, you can get investment ideas about bonds and high-yield stocks that can help you make passive income.

It also has total income access to the options service, and you can follow different strategies.

The service is currently not open to new members.

7. Supernova

For all the fans of David Gardner’s amazing picks, you can pay $3,000 a year to get specific advice for your portfolio.

You can build a portfolio around the investment strategies that David uses to play the stock market.

8. Explorer

Currently closed to new members, the explorer program features a special team that picks four stocks each month that they think will maximize growth over the future of the stock market.

9. Global Partners

A service focused on stocks and investments outside the United States.

If you love investing in international growth opportunities, then this might be a great service for you.

The Global Partners program is currently closed to new members.

10. Premier Pass

Premier pass lets you access Rule Your Retirement, Rule Breakers, Supernova, Options, Explorer, Total Income, Market Pass, Stock Advisor, Crypto Society, and Marijuana Masters.

It’s $4000 a year, and is currently closed to new members.

Other Motley Fool Offerings and Resources

“Fools” are people who use the Motley Fool to think about the market in unconventional ways that return better than conventional profits.

The Motley Fool has created a number of places to learn about investing and business culture.


CAPS is the name of the Motley Fool community message board that gets fools talking to one another about the market.

They have stock ratings and research that allows you to get the community buzz around different ideas.

You can see active community members who are each ranked by stock performances, and hear what each of these community members are saying.

As community members give advice on stocks, you can round out your portfolio with on-the-ground opinions.


Buzzing soundscapes full of games, gimmicks, and flippancy.

And yet the advice is really serious.

The Motley Fool crew has a group of intelligent, goofy hosts who take the stock market really seriously without taking themselves too seriously.

It’s a nice break from the tone of more serious news.

These people speak candidly about the way that the market is moving and aren’t scared to call out bigger companies and pitch up and coming companies.

They have several podcasts:

      • Motley Fool Money is probably the flagship podcast, where a group of hosts cover the news of each week. They will also interview best-selling authors and take a look at the stocks that are performing well.

      • Market Foolery, meanwhile, is a quick daily look at what is happening in the world of stocks. It quickly keeps you up to date on things in business and can let you know if it’s time to get in or out of a stock that you’ve had your eye on.

      • Industry Focus is another daily podcast by the Motley Fool, and this one focuses on specific industries that you should pay attention to. They talk about the trajectory of given industries–from healthcare to energy–and talk about good and bad stocks within that industry.

      • Motley Fool Answers is a great podcast if you’re still getting your bearings in the world of personal finance–and let’s be honest, who isn’t? The host and personal finance expert bring great wisdom to the real money problems that most of us face. You’re sure to be entertained, and the knowledge that you pick up can help you reduce your stress and anxiety around money moves over time. Want to be more confident in what you’re doing with your finances? Try out this pod.

      • The final, and maybe most impressive podcast, is Rule Breaker Investing, ran by David Gardner. David is the cofounder of the Motley Fool and is a trusted investment advisor. He’s had massive success in the stock game over the years. Each week, he talks about the stock market. Sometimes he’s advising individual stocks and sometimes he’s talking about the biggest companies and his predictions.


    The Motley Fool has a presence on YouTube, producing short form graphic videos and long from interviews about different stocks and education content.

    They’ve interviewed CEOs and investors, but they’ve also done case studies on different kinds of stocks and companies.

    They seek to provide both long-term investment advice and short-term investment news.

    Social Media

    The Fool also provides a ton of information and advice through their social media platforms, like Twitter and Instagram.


    Yes, the Motley Fool is completely legit.

    The company seeks to “make the world smarter, happier, and richer.”

    You don’t have to spend a ton of money on a subscription service to get started (around $100 for Stock Advisor, my favorite of their subscriptions).

    Poke around the community, the blog, and their social media outlets and you’ll find genuine, authentic information and advice. The podcasts are delightfully honest takes on the current state of the market.

    The Motley Fool successfully fulfills its mission to make sure that people learn about the market while laughing a little too.

    And within the paid subscription services, you can get great investment information. Click on the image below to see exactly how they got these impressive results and to see what their hottest stock picks are.

    There are a selection of Fool portfolios and advice columns that have decades of outperforming the market averages.

    If all that sounds like what you’re looking for, click here to save $110 and get a year of Motley Fool picks for only $89.

    What’s the risk? After all, they have great money back guarantees if you aren’t 100% happy with the service.

    But you probably will be–the Fool has some great picks.

    Let us know what you think in the comments.

    And let us know if you’ve tried and loved the Motley Fool services!

    *** Monday, May 27, 2024 ALERT—Motley Fool Picks Still CRUSHING the SP500!****

    The Motley Fool Stock Advisor’s stocks picks, even with this recession, inflation, and COVID recovery have been performing very well as of late.

    I have been a subscriber since 2016 and their average pick of the last 8 years is easily beating the SP500. Keep in mind these FIVE very important tips regarding the Motley Fool Stock Picks.

    Tip #1 is that you need to buy them as soon as you get the alert because the stocks typically rise 2-5% in the first 24 hours of the pick being released.

    Tip #2 is that I buy about $2,000 of each pick and I immediately place a 20% stop loss order to control risk.

    Tip #3 is that their next stock pick should come out Thursday, so make sure you have subscribe now so you are ready.

    Tip #4 is to always read your emails from the Fool because they also tell you when to sell stocks.

    Tip #5 is to save $110 and get a Full Year of Stock Picks for only $89 (new members only)