The Motley Fool vs. Morningstar

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A trustworthy investment research service is crucial if you’re investing in individual stocks and funds. The Motley Fool and Morningstar are two of the most popular platforms.

Both services can help you invest successfully. They also have several overlapping features, including analyst reports and portfolio trackers. However, they each cater to different investment styles.

When it comes to comparing The Motley Fool vs. Morningstar, we’ve determined the strengths of each investment site to help you decide which one is better for your investing needs.

Overview of The Motley Fool vs. Morningstar

When evaluating these two platforms, it’s important to understand their background and goals to determine if their philosophy matches your investing strategy.

What is The Motley Fool?

Motley Fool home page

The Motley Fool offers several premium investing services that provide two monthly stock picks plus weekly portfolio updates.

These recommendations include growth stocks with a buy-and-hold investment strategy since the goal is to hold each stock for over five years.

This platform is the brainchild of brothers Tom and David Gardner. Today, its most popular service is Motley Fool Stock Advisor, which balances risk with growth potential to ensure its stock recommendations are a good fit for most portfolios.

Subscribers can read a detailed analyst report for each stock recommendation.

Additionally, a Foundational Stocks list and a Best Buys Now section share some of today’s best investment opportunities to help subscribers buy at least 25 recommendations. 

Unfortunately, the in-depth research doesn’t apply to stocks outside the model portfolio. Luckily, there are many investment ideas within each publication. 

Learn More: Motley Fool Review: Is Stock Advisor Worth It? 

What is Morningstar?

Morningstar was one of the first investment sites for individual investors and offers stock as well as fund research.

This platform is famous for its five-star Morningstar Rating system, which ranks mutual funds and ETFs by performance in relation to other investment options.

You can also subscribe to Morningstar Investor (previously Morningstar Premium) to get in-depth ratings and analyst reports on stocks and funds.

This service doesn’t offer a model portfolio, although its stock screener and rating lists provide more flexibility in researching potential investments. 

Learn More: Morningstar Investor Review: Is It Worth It?

How Do The Motley Fool and Morningstar Work?

As you decide between these two sites, analyzing how they work can help you choose which one is better suited to your needs.

How The Motley Fool Works

To receive premium insights, you will need to subscribe to a specific The Motley Fool subscription service As a result, the in-depth research only applies to stocks within the model portfolio.

There are three entry-level services that you may consider joining:

  • Stock Advisor: Growth stocks and moderate/moderately aggressive risk levels
  • Rule Breakers: High-growth stocks with an aggressive risk tolerance
  • Real Estate Winners: Real estate stocks, includes at least one monthly pick

Furthermore, experienced investors with plenty of free cash may want to subscribe to one of The Motley Fool’s specialty services that hone in on small-cap stocks, technology or ideas for accredited investors.

However, these services may cost at least $1,999 annually.

While each premium service has a different investment strategy, investors can expect these common features.

Monthly Stock Picks

Motley Fool stock picks

You will receive a stock recommendation up to two times per month. Plus, you will get a detailed description explaining the company’s strengths and weaknesses.

Unlike several competing investment newsletter services, the service won’t recommend sector ETFs. Instead, it looks for stocks that they believe can beat the market.

Starter Stocks

In addition to the monthly stock picks and a model portfolio that may have active recommendations from several years ago, there are curated lists of stocks that can be good to add to your portfolio at any point in time.

The Motley Fool recommends that subscribers gradually buy at least 25 stock suggestions. These foundational stocks represent several industries and are usually good to purchase whenever you want instead of waiting for a buy recommendation.

No Stop Losses

The service recommends stocks it believes will outperform the market over the next three to five years.

Other investment newsletters may utilize stop losses and buy-up-to-prices to manage risk. The Motley Fool rarely moves a recommendation to a hold or sell rating based on short term performance unless they think a stock’s long-term integrity is threatened.

Instead, investors should ignore the constantly fluctuating share price and focus on long-term performance. In many situations, stocks and the market go up over several years, and you can make more money versus timing the market.

Watchlist

The Motley Fool lets you track the investment performance of stocks you buy with real money and others on your watchlist that you may paper trade. 

This tool also lets you view the 52-week trading range, share price volatility and five-year performance for Fool recommendations and outside picks.

Stock Screener

Each service has its own stock screener to find stock picks meeting your criteria. This feature is suitable for sifting through the model portfolio.

It’s important to note that you have relatively few search filters, and it won’t look up stocks outside your subscription.

How Morningstar Works

Morningstar Investor is a self-direct research platform that lets you look up stock ratings and in-depth reports for any investment. 

Additionally, this service also offers four premium newsletters that can provide curated investment lists and monthly commentary on a specific investment type.

The newsletters include:

  • DividendInvestor
  • ETFInvestor
  • FundInvestor
  • StockInvestor

Depending on the service, you will pay $145 to $199 per year for a digital subscription. Print subscriptions are also available for a higher cost.

Here are the features you can expect from Morningstar.

Morningstar Ratings

Morningstar Ratings

The iconic Morningstar ratings can simplify your investment research routine for stocks and funds. You will quickly compare the investment performance to its competitors and several other factors.

These include:

  • Economic moat
  • ESG rating
  • Fund manager
  • Price valuation

While past performance doesn’t guarantee future results, this data can be a good way to see how an investment model compares to the industry and stock index benchmarks. Then, you can decide if it’s time to buy, sell or hold an investment.

To make the research process easier, you can browse curated lists, including the best sector ETFs or the top specialized index funds.

While it’s not a model portfolio, you have a surplus of investment ideas to choose from for just about any investment strategy. 

In addition to the stock and fund ratings, you can read an in-depth analysis from one of the platform’s 150+ independent analysts for many companies and funds. 

Stock Screener

Morningstar screener

This platform also offers a robust stock screener that lets you apply several advanced filters to narrow your search results. 

Most of the search criteria are fundamental factors, although you can also apply quantitative ratings for technical analysis. 

Portfolio X-Ray

Morningstar Portfolio X-Ray

The Portfolio X-Ray tool evaluates the asset allocation and risk rating of your current stock and fund holdings.

Better yet, you can track the performance of your investments and easily receive notifications for the newest Morningstar research covering your holdings.

It’s possible to monitor several accounts using this tool, such as your taxable brokerage account and a retirement plan.

The Motley Fool and Morningstar Features

While both services can make investing easier, it’s vital to compare and contrast the best capabilities of each to help you pick the winner.

How Are They Similar?

There are several overlapping features between The Motley Fool and Morningstar.

Educational Content

If you want to expand your knowledge base about investing, new and experienced investors can read articles and listen to content on various investing topics.

In-Depth Research

You may not find the level of research you’ll receive on The Motley Fool and Morningstar on other investing sites. This is particularly true when it comes to the free sites that are less likely to cover the strengths and risks of a particular stock.

Portfolio Tracker

It’s possible to track the performance of your current holdings and watchlist. Plus, you can compare your portfolio or a single investment to the S&P 500. 

Free Research 

Although the free research available on both sites provide limited details, it does give you a taste of what information the research articles contain.

How Do They Differ?

Both services tend to focus on different parts of the investment process.

Investment Strategy

The Motley Fool primarily focuses on growth stocks, while Morningstar applies equal coverage to stocks and funds.

Model Portfolio

Investors wanting a guided experience can benefit from The Motley Fool’s monthly stock picks. 

Alternately, Morningstar is more open-ended and doesn’t maintain a model portfolio. Instead, it maintains many curated lists based on its rating system. 

Stock Screener

Morningstar lets you screen nearly any publicly-traded stock, ETF and mutual fund. 

In comparison, The Motley Fool screener only covers stocks for the services you subscribe to and excludes non-recommended assets.

Plans and Pricing

Both services offer competitive costs for their entry-level premium products.

The Motley Fool Pricing

You will need to pay a separate annual fee for each Motley Fool service since it isn’t a broad-based research platform. 

Motley Fool Stock Advisor costs $79* for new members for the first 12 months and then $199 moving forward. This is the most popular and best service overall if you want to get stock recommendations.

Aggressive investors may also consider Motley Fool Rule Breakers, which is $99* for new members for the first year and then $299.

Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers each have a 30-day membership-fee back guarantee where you can request a refund if the service doesn’t end up being a good fit for your investment style. 

Other specialized services are available as well, but they usually cost more than $1,000 per year, making them too expensive for most investors.

Morningstar Pricing

Morningstar Investor costs $249 annually or $34.95 month-to-month after a seven-day free trial. While this service costs more, you have access to additional research tools as you’re not restricted to one model portfolio.

For added premium research focusing on stocks or funds, you can also subscribe to a Morningstar newsletter that costs $145 to $199 per year.

It’s even possible to subscribe to this service instead of Morningstar Investor if you don’t need the extra research tools.

Customer Service

Both services offer online and phone support to paid subscribers.

The Motley Fool

You can contact The Motley Fool Foolish Solutions team online to receive email help. Phone support is also available Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern.

Morningstar

It’s easy to contact Morningstar online. In addition, premium subscribers receive dedicated phone and email support. 

Who Should Use Each Platform? 

If you’re still unsure whether you should choose Morningstar or The Motley Fool, here is a snapshot of the ideal investor for both services.

Who Should Use The Motley Fool

You should consider using The Motley Fool if you want to invest exclusively in growth stocks over the long term (5+ years). 

Additionally, this service is the better option if you want a model portfolio with monthly stock recommendations that can be easier to act on because you won’t need to run a stock screen to look for potential investments.

Unfortunately, the in-depth research only applies to stocks that the paid subcriptions recommend, and you may need to subscribe to several services for added diversification.

Who Should Use Morningstar

Morningstar Investor is the better fit if you want to research stocks, ETFs and mutual funds. 

You may also prefer its self-guided research platform that fits most investment styles.

While you won’t receive investment recommendations or a model portfolio, the Morningstar rating lists can help you identify the best performers within a specific niche.

Additionally, the analyst reports provide bullish and bearish insights for the potential investment.

The Motley Fool and Morningstar Alternatives

If The Motley Fool or Morningstar aren’t right for your investing needs, these alternatives provide in-depth investment research and stock recommendations.

Seeking Alpha

Seeking Alpha is similar to Morningstar because you can read research reports for stocks and funds from independent authors. It has an impressive stock screener and Quant Ratings. It even tracks the performance of each author.

An annual subscription costs $239 after a seven-day free trial.

Learn More: Is Seeking Alpha Worth It ?

TheStreet

TheStreet offers several investment platforms that provide multiple stock ideas each month. Its flagship Action Alerts Plus (AAP) provides short-term and long-term investing ideas with detailed descriptions.

AAP can be a good option if you’re comfortable selling shares more often to either take profits or honor a stop loss with the help of a model portfolio. This service costs $29.99 monthly or $299.99 annually. 

Related: Motley Fool vs. Action Alerts Plus

Zacks

Zacks Premium provides an exclusive Zacks Rank on stocks and funds based on the likelihood of outperforming the broad market short-term. Plus, the Zacks Focus List is a model portfolio of stocks and funds to buy and hold for at least one year.

This premium service has a 30-day free trial. It then costs $249 per year.

Learn More: Zacks Premium Review: Is It Worth It? 

Summary

These stock-picking services can help you invest your money wisely with long-term investment ideas. In addition, both platforms can make it easier to find stocks to invest in, with Morningstar extensively covering ETFs and mutual funds.

The better platform for you depends on your investment strategy and research needs. Consider The Motley Fool for curated stock picks and Morningstar if you want flexibility as well as the ability to research any stock or fund. 

*$99 Stock Advisor promotional price for new members only. 50% discount based on current list price of Stock Advisor of $199/year. Membership will renew annually at the then current list price.

*$99 Rule Breakers promotional price for new members only. $200 discount based on current list price of Rule Breakers of $299/year. Membership will renew annually at the then current list price.

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