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Motley Fool vs. Seeking Alpha

As an investor, you have a nearly unlimited number of tools to assist in your investment research.

There are hundreds of websites that provide:

  • Stock recommendations
  • Market forecasts
  • Charting tools
  • Investment research
  • Many other esoteric financial services

Each of these sources is unique in their own way, but which one is best for you?

Two of the most popular and affordable stock recommendation services are Motley Fool and Seeking Alpha.

These two platforms speak to investors in different ways.

Motley Fool aims to “make the world smarter, happier and richer.”  On Motley Fool, investors primarily receive expert stock recommendations and analysis as well as educational resources, access to a community of like-minded investors, and a number of other tools to enhance your investing.

Seeking Alpha describes themselves as “the world’s largest investing community.”  On Seeking Alpha, investors can read investment analysis provided by thousands of contributors plus gain access to Seeking Alpha’s proprietary grading system and Quant Ratings.

While they both offer investment research, the two services were built for very different types of investors. In this article, you’ll find out which one, Seeking Alpha or Motley Fool, is better for you.

At-A-Glance Comparison: Motley Fool vs. Seeking Alpha

Motley FoolSeeking Alpha
Target audienceIndividual investorsIndividual investors
Best forNew investorsAdvanced, analytical investors
Primary serviceStock AdvisorSeeking Alpha Premium
What is it?Stock-picking newsletterIn-depth research and analysis
Discount$199/year $99 for your first year$239/year $189 for your first year
< Try Stock Advisor >< Try Premium >

Keep reading for an in-depth breakdown of each service and learn why I subscribe to both Motley Fool and Seeking Alpha.

Motley Fool

Brothers Tom and David Gardner founded The Motley Fool back in 1993.

Since then, the company has helped hundreds of thousands investors invest better via their done-for-you stock recommendations services, website, educational content, and more.

The Motley Fool is for investors of any skill level.

Here’s a closer look at its most popular services.

Motley Fool Services:

1. The Stock Advisor (SA)

Stock Advisor is The Motley Fool’s flagship service. This stock-picking newsletter is delivered 2x per month to over 500,000 investors, making it the most popular service of its kind in the world.

Why is it so popular? Outperformance.

Since its inception in 2002, the stock picks in Stock Advisor have outperformed the S&P by nearly 4x:

Motley Fool Stock Advisor Returns Chart

Stock Advisor’s team of expert analysts sift through thousands of stocks each year to bring you only their highest-conviction investments each month. These picks, along with the accompanying analysis, are delivered straight to your inbox.

In addition to the stock picks, members receive:

  • Top 10 Rankings – A list of the team’s 10 best stocks to buy now.
  • Investment Articles – Curated content to increase your investing acumen and to help build your net worth.
  • Online Community – Talk to and share ideas with fellow Stock Advisor members.
  • Money-Back Guarantee – If Stock Advisor isn’t for you, cancel within 30 days and get your full membership fee back.

Stock Advisor typically costs $199/year, but you can get it for just $99 for your first year through our link:

Try Stock Advisor

2. Rule Breakers (RB) 

Rule Breakers is The Motley Fool’s 2nd most popular service.

Like Stock Advisor, Rule Breakers is a stock-picking newsletter which has a team of analysts that deliver 2 stocks per month straight to your inbox. This team, however, focuses exclusively on stocks with the potential to disrupt entire industries and become market leaders.

The performance of this newsletter is similarly impressive as Stock Advisor’s: 

Motley Fool Rule Breakers Returns Chart

Former picks include MercadoLibre, Shopify, and Tesla.

Like Stock Advisor, members of Rule Breakers also receive expert analysis, a number of bonus reports, community access, and more. Plus, the service is backed by The Motley Fool’s membership-fee-back guarantee.

This service is slightly more expensive than Stock Advisor at $299/year:

Try Rule Breakers

3. Other

  • Rule Your Retirement (RYR) – Rule Your Retirement was made for those investors nearing, or already, retired. The membership costs $149/year and  includes model retirement portfolios and tips on Social Security.
  • Motley Fool Options (OPT) – Are you looking for some alternatives? Motley Fool Options gives you access to Options University, weekly commentary, and investment recommendations. This service costs $999/year and is tailored  to intermediate and advanced traders.

In addition to all of its service offerings, the Motley Fool also has advanced services tailored for very specific investors. These services range in price from $249/year to $4,999/year.

You can unlock all Motley Fool services with a subscription to ‘One’ for $13,999/year. A more popular bundle is the ‘Epic Bundle’ which includes access to Stock Advisor, Rule Breakers, Everlasting Stocks, and Real Estate Winners for just $499/year.

That said, Stock Advisor is by far the most popular service The Motley Fool has to offer.

Seeking Alpha

Seeking Alpha was founded in 2004.

Its founders liked reading Wall Street analysts’ perspectives on individual investments but realized there was a massive gap in coverage – there weren’t nearly enough analysts to cover every angle on every stock. Plus, most of these Wall Street reports weren’t available to retail investors.

So they launched Seeking Alpha.

Today, more than 18,000 analysts produce over 10,000 investment research articles each month on 7,000+ securities. The breadth of analysis on Seeking Alpha is unparalleled.

Seeking Alpha Main Page

Coupled with its contributors’ investment analysis, Seeking Alpha provides aggregated Ratings of its contributors, Wall Street, and its proprietary Quant Rankings for every stock:

Seeking Alpha Microsoft (MSFT) Analyst Ratings

Its Quant Ratings is based on an algorithm which considers each stock’s profitability, growth, value, EPS revisions, and momentum vs its peers. These attributes earn a stock a grade from ‘Strong Sell’ to ‘Strong Buy.’

Here’s how that system has performed:

Seeking Alpha Quant Ratings Return Chart

Plus, Seeking Alpha provides fundamental data, charting, newsfeeds, and other market data. That’s why more than 20 million people use Seeking Alpha every month.

All of these features can be overwhelming for new investors but are loved by Seeking Alpha’s target market: intermediate and advanced investors.

While you can access a handful of articles for free each month, most users quickly bump into a paywall to upgrade after viewing a certain number of articles or attempting to access its Ratings or Quant Rankings data.

Seeking Alpha Services

1. Seeking Alpha Premium

For unlimited access to premium content which includes:

  • All new and archived investment articles and news
  • Analyst Ratings, Wall Street Ratings, and Quant Ratings
  • Analyst Performance
  • Stock Grades
  • And a number of other features

Investors need to upgrade to Seeking Alpha Premium.

The service typically costs $239/year, but you can take $50 off and get a free week trial with our link:

Try Seeking Alpha Premium

2. Seeking Alpha Pro

Seeking Alpha Pro gives you everything in Premium plus expert-selected analysis, peer networking, small cap research, short opportunities, VIP customer service, and a higher tier of professional investing.

Additionally, Pro members unlock Seeking Alpha’s Top Ideas, 4-6 actionable ideas per day to help you pinpoint under-the-radar investing opportunities.

This service costs $2,400/year, or $200/month:

I’ve never tried Pro, but I’m very content with my Seeking Alpha Premium subscription and believe it’s an excellent money-for-value service.

3. Alpha Picks

Seeking Alpha recently launched Alpha Picks to rival Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor.

Alpha Picks is a stock-picking newsletter which is primarily focused on quantitative analysis and momentum. The investment team which runs the service uses the Quant Rating system plus a number of other filters to find stocks with the potential to outperform.

Since its launch, Alpha Picks has returned +49.70% vs the S&P 500’s return of +19.30%, though the service just began about a year ago.

You can get a special introductory offer ($99 for your first year) through our link:

Try Alpha Picks

Summary: Seeking Alpha vs Motley Fool

The Similarities

Both Motley Fool and Seeking Alpha are investment research services to help you make better investing decisions. They both primarily target long-term investors who want to invest in individual stocks.

Additionally, both Motley Fool and Seeking Alpha’s Quant Ratings have delivered exceptional historical results. Alpha Picks has also generated impressive returns, though the service is just getting started.

The Differences

While on the surface Motley Fool and Seeking Alpha may seem similar, they’re two very different services.

Motley Fool is focused on stock-picking newsletters, a great service for new investors or those looking for a done-for-you investing service.

Seeking Alpha, on the other hand, is jam-packed with in-depth investment analysis written for intermediate investors who want to take a hands-on approach to their investing.

Alpha Picks and Stock Advisor are very similar services, but Alpha Picks is primarily focused on quantitative analysis and momentum whereas Stock Advisor’s team relies more heavily on fundamental analysis. Personally, given the length of Stock Advisor’s track record and their investment approach, I would choose Stock Advisor over Alpha Picks.

The Bottom Line: Is Motley Fool or Seeking Alpha Better For You?

If you want a team of experts, which has delivered exceptional returns for the last 20+ years, to send you 2 stock picks per month to add to your portfolio and no additional work required on your end, The Motley Fool is the better option (more specifically, its Stock Advisor newsletter).

If you want to make all of your own investment decisions but want a nearly unlimited amount of research analysis to help guide those decisions at your fingertips, Seeking Alpha is the service for you (more specifically, Seeking Alpha Premium).

And if you can’t decide, you can just do what I do and subscribe to both.