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Motley Fool Stock Advisor vs. Rule Breakers

The only reason that you start buying individual stocks is if you think that you are going to beat the market as a whole.

The S&P 500 generally returns about 10% year after year, and so you’ll have to do pretty well on your individual picks to beat that.

However, the Motley Fool has been able to consistently crush the returns of the market, and if you were a subscriber to either Stock Advisor or Rule Breakers then you would too!

Since the beginning of both Rule Breakers and Stock Advisor, the average returns of their picks have been triple and even quadruple the return of the market.

For example, as of March 1, 2021, Stock Advisor claims their stocks are up 580% versus the S&P500's 117% since inception in 2002.

And as of March 1, 2021 Rule Breakers claims their stocks are up 338% versus the S&P's 99% since inception in 2004.

That means that whatever you get from this article you should walk away knowing that both Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers have an excellent HISTORY for beating the market with individual picks.

Based on those 2 charts, it appears that Stock Advisor is the better service.

But you should be asking yourself the following questions:

  • What are the differences between Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers? 
  • And more importantly, how have they performed RECENTLY?

So let’s look into the different objectives of each, let's review their recent performance, and let's find the best one for you!

Quick Overviews

Stock Advisor

There are two brains at the core of Stock Advisor.

The co-founders of The Motley Fool, Tom and David Gardner, each work with their own great team of analysts to pick a variety of stocks for this service.

Each of the two teams recommends a new stock for the subscribers to buy every single month.  David's team looks for stocks that are poised for long-term trends and have a certain level of what he calls “unquantifiable greatness.”  Tom's team looks for great companies that are in beaten-down industries with strong financial performance and excellent management teams.

Also, once per month, each team reveals the five stocks that they think are the best buys and should be purchased with new money that day.

If you’re just starting out, Stock Advisor is great because it has a continually updating and revolving list of starter stocks that the team thinks should be in every portfolio. Even if you’re coming to Stock Advisor with a lot of money and no investments, then you can get a running start through the Stock Advisor service.

Stock Advisor has been around for almost two decades, and over the last decade they’ve picked a ton of winners.

The stocks that Stock Advisor targets are great for a long term performance. They aren’t looking for something that burns bright and then crashes, they are looking for stocks that are going to perform well over the long run. They pick stocks that they think should be held at least for 5 years.

Each of the teams that contributes to Stock Advisor–team Tom and team David–have their own methods that they use to get you the best long term stocks.

Team Tom focuses on a bunch of stocks that are working in industries that are less popular than they used to be.  Because the markets are not known to be popping and strong, this helps you get great stocks at a bit of a discount. Tom focuses on stocks that have great business models and excellent financials.  With a great management team and great ownership, these stocks can perform really well in the long run.

Team David is a bit less rigorous with the process.  David looks for companies that are situated in different kinds of trends, but that also have some kind of X-factor that can help them succeed over time.  These are the intangible qualities.  These are the companies that have something special about them.  While you can tell that they have a strong business model and a great brand, there’s always something a little bit extra about the companies.

Rule Breakers

Team David doesn’t just work in the Stock Advisor segment.

David and a different team of analysts also work the Rule Breakers service, producing a different type of analysis.

This newsletter, Rule Breakers, seeks to identify “high-growth opportunities that are poised to be tomorrow's stock market leaders.” In other words, they target explosive growth.

The Rule Breakers team is looking to take big swings at the market and hoping to hit a few home runs, and so far their batting average is pretty good!

They are looking for a variety of innovative leaders that are taking over new industries.

If you can find the right person at the helm of a company that is well-positioned in a new industry, then you can get a huge return on the stock.

If you can find a stock that has a great advantage in a given business, then you can find a bunch of money moving forward.

Businesses that have a bunch of competitive advantages might be great for the long-run.

Rule Breakers is also looking for a ton of counterintuitive companies that keep on winning.

If companies beat the conventional wisdom of the market at one point, and have a strong system, they will probably continue to do so.

The Rule Breakers newsletter is also looking for counterintuitive, X-factor companies, just like Team David in the Stock Advisor segment.

These are companies that are positioned really well to beat the market and win by a lot.

Rule Breakers also produces a couple of specific new stock recommendations each month and curates a Best Buys list that helps you consider additional recommendations.

Rule Breakers also has a list of Starter Stocks that can help new investors begin to build a portfolio.

Head to Head Comparison

Time Stamp

Stock Advisor started in 2002 while Rule Breakers started in 2004.

Both of the different portfolios have existed before the crash of 2008, and have survived through that same crash.

Stock Advisor has had a couple of years to increase the total performance numbers, but has also had more time to fall in the charts.

Ultimately, the two year difference between the two newsletters should not cause you to pause too much on either one.

Both of them have had a solid 10+ years to prove themselves.

We have been subscribers to both for over 5 years now and here is how they have performed for us….

Stock Advisor Performance for the last 5 years…

and Rule Breakers Performance for the last 5 years…

Both of them have strong performances, and continue to do so year after year.

So what's the difference between Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers?

  • Over the last 5 years, Rule Breakers is up 323% compared to Stock Advisor 213%
  • 91% of the Rule Breaker stocks were profitable compared to 87% for Stock Advisor
  • 69 out of 120 Rule Breaker stocks have doubled and 57 out of 120 Stock Advisor stocks have doubled
  • The Rule Breakers stocks seem to have both the biggest winner and the biggest loser each year ( this is consistent with trying to identify the biggest growth opportunities–sometimes they are really right and sometimes they are really wrong)
  • Rule Breakers had 5 sell orders and Stock Advisor 0 sell orders
  • They are both currently being offered for $99 a year

New Subscriber Offers:

Try Stock Advisor now and get their next 24 stock picks for just $99.

Try Rule Breakers now and get their next 24 stock picks for just $99.

(there's no risk, they offer 30-day money back guarantee)


The year 2020 was tough in so many obvious ways, but if you were a Motley Fool subscriber you are smiling given that 22 of the Motley Fool's 24 stock picks from 2020 are up; and the average return of those 24 picks thru July 3, 2021 is +93% compared to the SP500's 39%!

Better yet, we have been tracking ALL of the Motley Fool stock picks since January 2016. That's 5 years, 60 months and over 120 stock picks. As of Friday, August 3, 2021, their 2019 picks are up 130%; their 2018 picks are up 232%, their 2017 picks are up 215%; and their 2016 picks are now up 423% for an average return of 218% over the last 5 years. 88% of their picks were profitable and 57 our to 120 have more than doubled! The Fool has done so well because they quickly identify stocks year that will perform well in the current environment. THAT is how the Fool consistently does so well--they adapt and constantly pick stocks before everyone else realizes the opportunities.

  • Tesla (TSLA) picked January 2, 2020 before the crash and it is up 689%
  • Zoom Video (ZMD) picked July, 2019 and it is up 406%
  • Fiverr (FVRR) originally picked September, 2020 and it is up 177%
  • Shopify (SHOP) picked March, 20216 and it is up 4,432%

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Updated as of September 18, 2021 -- The Motley Fool Stock Advisor continues to crush the market, and outperform all of the others stock newsletters we track. In fact, it has been the best source of stock picks for the last 4 years in a row. If you subscribed to the Motley Fool in January 2020 and bought equal amounts of all of their 24 picks for 2020 you now have a 87% return compared to the market's 43%. 18 of those 24 stocks are up, 6 have at least doubled, and 2 have more than tripled. Their top performer from 2020 is TESLA which is now up 780% in a year and a half. >/p>

In fact, over the last 5 years the average Motley Fool stock pick has more than tripled, being up 219%. Impressively, 99 of their 120 picks over the last 5 years are profitable and 54 of those have more than doubled! This time period covers the 2016 election, the Trump administration, the China trade negotiation, COVID, and now the Motley Fool is continuing their excellent stock picks with many of their 2021 stock picks already up double digits.

Now for 2021, with a new President, a COVID vaccine, and the economy roaring back to life, most analysts expect the second half of the year to be the best! So... make sure you have the right stocks in your portfolio so you can CRUSH THE MARKET like their last 5 years of stock picks have done! Here is their schedule for the next few weeks:

  • September 23, 2021 - David's List of 5 Best Stocks to Buy Now List
  • October 7, 2021 - Tom's New Stock Recommendation
  • October 14, 2021 - Tom's List of 5 Best Stocks to Buy Now
  • October 21, 2021 - David's New Stock Recommendation

Remember, 83% of their recommendations from 2016 to 2020 were profitable with an return of 219%. So if you have at least 5 years to invest, we haven't found any better source of stock picks. When you subscribe, you also get full access to all of their recent picks.

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As I mentioned above, Rule Breakers focuses on high-growth stocks and they are looking for things to crush your portfolio out of the park.

If you’re looking for a long and steady stock, the Rule Breakers newsletter might not be the right service for you.

But if you have the patience and you can buy every stock they recommend (you never know which will be the homerun), then based on the last 5 years it definitely has the better results.

On the other hand, the Stock Advisor service recommends stocks that have a longer run and have a little bit less risk and less volatility.   So if you’re building a portfolio and you don’t want to take on a bunch of different risks, or you can't afford to buy every stock they recommend, then Stock Advisor might be the better pick for you!

This means that one of the biggest decisions that you are going to have is around risk aversion.

If you are really risk averse and want to make sure that whether or not you make money, you aren’t losing money, then Stock Advisor might be perfect.

If you don’t mind taking on a bit more risk and you want to have a bigger search for reward, then Rule Breakers might be the perfect service for you to go with.

The Personal Touch

Both services use Tom and David and a team of analysts, but then again they also are a little bit different.

Tom and David have a bit more of a personal touch around the picks that are in Stock Advisor, while the Rule Breakers picks seem to come a bit more from the team of analysts.

If you care a bit more about method and data, then you might be totally okay with the picks that are done in Rule Breakers.

But if you really are interested in the ability of a couple of really smart investors to pick you some great stocks, then Rule Breakers might be the perfect service for you.

Stock Advisor is also the bread and butter of the Motley Fool offering of products.

David and Tom both have their names attached to it, and both guys really want to perform well.

David and Tom are professionals who obviously care about the stocks that they back with their own well-respected names.

So if you want a more personal touch and a well-rounded portfolio, Stock Advisor may be perfect.


Rule Breakers pricing can fluctuate based on the deal that they are currently running.

Sometimes, Rule Breakers is offered for about $299 a year, while sometimes you can get it for only $99 a year.

Sometimes it costs only $19 a month as well.

The subscription is also always backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is really nice.

It is a no questions asked offer, which means that you are going to be able to check out the service and try it out.

If it ends up not being right for your investing strategies, you can cancel it without losing your money.

Obviously, if you plan on long term investing, then you can save money by getting the yearlong subscription at the same time.

Stock Advisors can be found for a standard $199 a year, and it is the flagship service of the Motley Fool.

It has returned ridiculous returns since starting almost 20 years ago, and shows no signs of slowing down.

It’s a great pick, and sometimes you can get it for only $99 a year at the introductory rate.

Just like the Rule Breakers service, you get a chance for a 30-day money-back guarantee.

That lets you try out the different kinds of things that the Stock Advisor service is going to offer without taking on extra financial risk.

New Subscriber Offers:

Try Stock Advisor now and get their next 24 stock picks for just $99.

Try Rule Breakers now and get their next 24 stock picks for just $99.

(there's no risk, they offer 30-day money back guarantee)

Methods of Investing

Hidden gems is probably the best way of describing Rule Breakers.

David and the team are the focus of Rule Breakers, and they focus on finding all kinds of picks that help you find great stocks that aren’t that risky.

Identifying companies that have a good chance of turning a really good rate, then buying them while low, allows people to build a really good portfolio.

But instead of just googling hot companies and finding great growth rates that are untethered to great companies, the Rule Breakers team focuses on finding these things located within companies that are really strong.

If you can find a company that has a great cash flow and a great business model, and it has really strong growth, it can be a great company to own moving forward.

The Stock Advisor program is completely different than the Rule Breakers category in terms of investments and strategies.

The Stock Advisor program is the flagship Motley Fool recommendation service, which allows it to be the most generic.

They also reserve some of the best long-term bets for this recommendation service.

You get great investment advice, but it is also safe and solid.

History of Returns

The big difference between Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers is going to be performance.

While Stock Adviser is up 580% since inception in 2002, Rule Breakers is up 338% since 2004. But the last 5 years Rule Breakers has outperformed.

But there are a few things behind those numbers that you need to understand.

First, the Stock Advisor service has had a couple extra years to pick up on those numbers. Second of all, these are the aggregates of all of the individual picks. It doesn’t mean that every stock in the Stock Advisor service has performed better than every stock in the Rule Breakers service.

In fact, the opposite is true. There have been many stocks in the Rule Breakers service that have actually done really, really well.

But there are also plenty of stocks that have done really, really poorly.

As you might expect, the Rule Breakers has produced some big hits and some big duds.

So Stock Advisor has put together a much better long-term game over all of the different Rule Breaker stocks.

But if you love playing the odds and seeing how individual stocks perform, then Rule Breaker stocks give you access to a ton of different individual picks that can go the distance.

The Services, In-Depth

We've talked quite a bit about the different kinds of philosophies behind the Rule Breakers and Stock Advisor services.

But what do the individual services actually get?

The Rule Breakers members get a ton of different education articles and trading tools.

The big hits of the service are the awesome stock picks that you get every single month.

If you’re getting ready to trade or simply want something new, it’s a great service to have in your back pocket.

If you’re a member of Rule Breakers, then you’ll also get a couple of new stock picks every single month.

Each of these picks also comes with a ton of research.

You don’t simply get a paragraph of buzzwords!

You get a ton of valuable information that you can use to make the correct picks for your individual portfolio.

The Motley Fool actually picked up an audience in the first place by providing great, in-depth research to a ton of different people in the industry.

Their research is still great, and it comes in a couple of different forms.

You get a great quick summary that takes a minute to read.

If you still have more questions after that, you can dive into the full research report.

Stock Advisors may also be something to check out.

The Stock Advisors service also offers you a couple of different stock picks each month, and in-depth research for each of the stocks that you are being offered. You get the same kind of different research metrics but for a different set of stocks.

Why Not Both?

It’s important to realize that these two different advice columns are not offering contradictory opinions on the stock market!

All of the advice and research is generated by Tom and David, along with the whole Motley Fool team.

They can both offer you a variety of different perspectives on what is going on in the stock market.

If you sign up for both, Rule Breakers will give you some more volatile, high-risk and high-reward stocks that can be great for going after the market.

Advisors will give you a great way of balancing your whole portfolio without leaning too far into different kinds of stocks.

If I’m Picking Only One?

If you’re picking only one, then you are going to have a tough decision to make.

The rationale behind the two different services are completely different.

Rule Breakers is for the risk takers who want to get in-depth scouting on stocks that could be huge.

Stock Advisor allows people to dig into a great selection of stocks all over the place.

It has a history of producing big returns as a whole, and is the much better choice if you are going to simply follow the picks without thinking too much about the research.

But if you like rolling the dice on some stocks–then having Rule Breakers makes a lot more sense.


*** Monday, September 20, 2021 ALERT—Motley Fool Picks Still CRUSHING the SP500!****

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

Overall, their 24 stocks picks from 2020 are up 115% compared to the SP500 return of 25%.  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.  Two of their picks got stopped out in the last 12 months.

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 do tell you when to sell stocks.

Tip #5 is to get A Full Year of Recommended Stock Picks Now $99 for New Members


Both Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers have been excellent sources of profitable stock picks over the years. While Stock Advisor has the overall lead in performance, Rule Breakers has been the stronger service over the last 5 years. But you really must by each and every one of their stock picks to get these great returns because of their 24 stock picks each year, several of them will double or more in the first year. And if you missed out on a few key stocks each year, then obviously you want have the same results.

Bottom line…They are both great services so do what I do—I have both. I buy about $1000 of each stock pick each month so that is $4k a month I invest in the market. Having this discipline forces me to save each month and the other benefit is I am dollar cost averaging because I spend about the same each month.

Both of the newsletters are great choices to do just that.

Rule Breakers is really great at giving you growth stocks that help you build a strong portfolio over time.

Stock Advisor offers a bit more perspective, if you are looking for some different angles to approach the market with.

Both of the services can really help you build a portfolio that is much better than the portfolios of your friends!

New Subscriber Offers:

Try Stock Advisor now and get their next 24 stock picks for just $99.

Try Rule Breakers now and get their next 24 stock picks for just $99.

(there's no risk, they offer 30-day money back guarantee)

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