Comparing The Motley Fool and Morningstar – Which is Better

Jeremy BiberdorfBy: Jeremy Biberdorf

November 27, 2023November 27, 2023

When it comes to investment research, understanding the landscape of services available can significantly enhance your portfolio and investment knowledge.

Among these services, The Motley Fool and Morningstar stand out as prominent names, each with their unique strengths and areas of specialization.

Let’s dive into a comparative analysis of these two services to help determine which might align best with your investment objectives.

The Motley Fool: An Overview

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Founded in 1993 by David and Tom Gardner, The Motley Fool has carved out a niche in stock picking. The Gardner brothers continue to guide this service, offering insights primarily through their flagship weekly newsletter.

The Motley Fool is known for its somewhat playful approach to financial management, making it accessible and engaging. This Motleyfool review expands more on the features of the platform.
Learn More About Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Key Offerings

Stock Advisor Subscription

This is the cornerstone of The Motley Fool’s services, delivering weekly stock recommendations. Subscribers receive insights on new stock picks and refined “best buys now” lists, alternating between David and Tom’s selections.


Since its inception in 2002, the Stock Advisor service has reported a 575% return as of January 29, 2021, a figure that notably surpasses the 116% return of the S&P 500 during the same period.

Additional Resources

Besides its premium services, The Motley Fool offers a wealth of free content, providing a taste of what the paid subscription entails.

Click here to sign up for an account using our Motley Fool discount code and explore what the platform has to offer.

Morningstar: An Overview

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Founded in 1984 by Joe Mansueto, Morningstar has grown into a comprehensive investment research firm, with a team of over 5,000 employees analyzing a vast array of investment options.

Morningstar is particularly recognized for its influential rating system for mutual funds. This comprehensive Morning Star Review expands more on what the platform has to offer.
Learn More About Morningstar

Key Features

Morningstar Premium

This flagship service provides access to an extensive suite of investment tools, ratings, and reports, catering to the needs of regular investors. It covers a wide range of investments, including funds, stocks, and bonds.

Research Scope

Morningstar’s research spans mutual funds, ETFs, stocks, and credit ratings, making it a versatile resource for both individual investors and investment professionals.

Approach to Investment

Morningstar adopts a more formal and serious tone in its investment management, balancing its comprehensive data analysis with educational resources for both free and premium users.

Performance Tracking

Unlike The Motley Fool, Morningstar’s broad focus makes it challenging to compare its performance against market benchmarks directly.

Click here to sign up for an account using our Morningstar coupon code to explore what the platform has to offer.

Deciding Between The Motley Fool and Morningstar

When choosing between these two services, consider your investment goals and preferences:

Type of Investment

If your interest lies predominantly in stocks, especially individual stock picking, The Motley Fool’s services might align more with your needs.

Conversely, if you’re more inclined towards mutual funds and ETFs, Morningstar’s extensive research in these areas could be invaluable.

Investment Style

Are you looking for a more playful and engaging approach, or do you prefer a formal, data-driven analysis? The Motley Fool’s lighter style contrasts with Morningstar’s serious and detailed approach.

Resource Needs

Consider what kind of additional resources you value. If educational content and a wide array of tools are important to you, Morningstar’s offerings might be more appealing.

How The Motley Fool and Morningstar Operates

The Motley Fool’s Functionality

The Motley Fool, particularly through its Stock Advisor subscription, offers a unique approach to investment guidance. Let’s delve into how this service functions:

Subscription Format

As a subscriber to Stock Advisor, you have the option to receive weekly updates via emails or text messages. These updates, released every Thursday, bring fresh investment recommendations to your fingertips.

Content of Updates

Each week, either Tom or David Gardner shares their latest stock picks. This includes new recommendations as well as updated suggestions on the best stocks to buy, sometimes revisiting past recommendations they are particularly confident in.

Performance Track Record

The Gardners boast impressive average returns – David with 841% and Tom with a 309% average return. These figures are significantly higher compared to typical returns from low-cost S&P 500 investments, though it’s always important to remember that past performance does not guarantee future results.

User Experience

From a subscriber’s perspective, the service provides well-reasoned picks and analysis, which can lead to beneficial portfolio adjustments. However, some users might find the sales messaging and upselling tactics a bit off-putting.

Despite this, the overall value provided by the Stock Advisor membership is generally well-received and often results in renewals for personal investment guidance.

How Morningstar Operates

While the above outlines The Motley Fool’s approach, Morningstar operates somewhat differently:

Research Scope

Morningstar covers a wide range of investments, including mutual funds, ETFs, stocks, and bonds. This broad scope is beneficial for investors looking for comprehensive research across various asset classes.

Premium Service

Morningstar Premium offers extensive tools, ratings, and reports. This service is especially useful for regular investors seeking in-depth analysis and insights into various investment options.

Educational Resources

Apart from its research and analysis services, Morningstar provides a wealth of educational content, appealing to both beginners and seasoned investors.

Investment Approach

Morningstar is known for its formal and serious approach to investment analysis. This is reflected in its detailed and data-driven reports and ratings, which can be a valuable resource for making informed investment decisions.

Choosing the Right Service

Selecting between The Motley Fool and Morningstar depends on your personal investment goals and preferences:

Investment Focus

If individual stocks and active stock picking resonate with you, The Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor might be the better choice. For a broader approach encompassing mutual funds, ETFs, and more, Morningstar’s services are more suitable.

Preference for Analysis

Are you looking for specific stock recommendations with a personalized touch, or do you prefer comprehensive, data-oriented analysis across various investment types? Your preference here will guide your choice between these two services.

Both The Motley Fool and Morningstar offer valuable insights and tools for different types of investors. The key is to understand their unique approaches and decide which aligns best with your investment strategy and goals.

Exploring How Morningstar Premium Works

Morningstar Premium stands out in the investment research sphere with its extensive resources and unique approach. Here’s a detailed look at how it operates:

Extensive Research Database

One of Morningstar’s most notable features is its in-depth research covering over 600,000 securities. This extensive database is a treasure trove for investors seeking detailed information across a broad spectrum of investment options.

Best Investments Feature

The Morningstar Premium Best Investments page is particularly noteworthy. It features 15 different lists of mutual funds, ETFs, and stocks, categorized for ease of use and understanding. This resource is invaluable for investors looking to delve into specific categories and pick investments independently.

Data-Driven Approach

Unlike services that provide a narrow portfolio of stocks or funds, Morningstar offers a wealth of data, analysis, and expert ratings. This empowers users to make informed investment decisions based on comprehensive information.

User Experience

A trial membership reveals the platform’s user-friendliness and the sheer volume of investment opportunities covered. The interface is clean and intuitive, making it easy to navigate the vast array of resources available.

Unique Features of The Motley Fool and Morningstar

While both The Motley Fool and Morningstar serve the common purpose of aiding in investment decisions, they have distinct approaches and offerings:


  • Premium Services: Both offer premium services at comparable price points.
  • Newsletters and Websites: Subscribers receive newsletters and can access detailed research and recommendations on their websites.
  • Additional Resources: Beyond the core offerings, both provide extra reports, tools, portfolio trackers, and educational materials to enhance the understanding and utilization of their guidance.

Distinct Approaches and Offerings

  • The Motley Fool is more focused on stock picking, offering specific stock recommendations primarily through its Stock Advisor service. It caters to investors interested in individual stocks and provides a more personalized approach to stock selection.
  • Morningstar emphasizes a broader spectrum of investments, including mutual funds and ETFs. It’s more data-heavy and offers extensive research and analysis for investors to make their own informed decisions.

Distinct Features of The Motley Fool and Morningstar

The Motley Fool and Morningstar, while sharing the common goal of aiding investors, have distinct characteristics that cater to different investor needs and preferences.

Understanding these differences is key to choosing the service that aligns best with your investment approach.

The Motley Fool: A Unique Approach to Stock Picking

Engaging Style

The Motley Fool is known for its lighter, more entertaining approach to the stock market. This style can make financial information more accessible and less intimidating, especially for those new to investing.

Focused Recommendations

Its flagship Stock Advisor service typically concentrates on a selection of about 10-15 stocks at any given time, offering a more curated experience.

Regular Updates

Subscribers receive new stock recommendations on a weekly basis. Each newsletter is not just a list of stocks but includes detailed analysis and insights about each recommended stock. However, it’s always advised to conduct additional research and due diligence.

Pricing and Plans

The annual subscription fee for the Stock Advisor is $199, with a discounted rate of $99 for the first year for new members.

Morningstar: Comprehensive and Data-Driven

Broad Coverage

Morningstar excels in providing a comprehensive overview of the investment landscape, making it a valuable resource for checking in before making any investment decision, be it buying or selling.

Serious and Detailed

It offers a serious, in-depth approach filled with extensive data. It is beneficial for investors who are not necessarily focused on individual stock picking but want a broad understanding of the market.

Pricing Structure

Morningstar Premium offers several pricing options, including annual ($199), biennial ($349), and triennial ($449) plans. This flexibility can appeal to users looking for short or long-term commitments. The two-week free trial, though requiring payment card details, allows for a preliminary exploration of the service.


The Motley Fool and Morningstar serve distinct investor profiles. The Motley Fool is ideal for those looking for specific stock recommendations with an engaging presentation style.

In contrast, Morningstar caters to investors seeking a broad, data-rich view of the market, including mutual funds and ETFs.

Depending on your investment goals, strategies, and preferences, one of these services, or perhaps a combination of both, might suit your needs.

Remember, aligning your choice with your investment approach and goals is crucial for maximizing the benefits of these services.

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Jeremy Biberdorf
Jeremy Biberdorf

About the Author:

Jeremy Biberdorf is the founder of Modest Money. He's a father of 2 beautiful girls, a dog owner, a long-time online entrepreneur and an investing enthusiast.

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