The Motley Fool vs Seeking Alpha

  • Investments are mostly passive
  • Educates beginner investors
  • Wide range of subscription plans
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  • Geared towards experienced investors
  • Financial data spans years
  • Focused on self-directed analysis
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Many investors are happy to leave their money in an investment account and let it grow over time. Others develop an interest in the market, and people want to keep at the cutting edge of market research.

The Motley Fool and Seeking Alpha are both effective firms, offering expert stock tips, security recommendations, and other market overviews.

Both firms provide their customers with the best in market research, but there are enough differences between their premium services to consider one over the other.

The Motley Fool is Better for:Seeking Alpha is Better for:
Newer InvestorsAdvanced Investors
Easily Digested InfoSelf-directed Analysis
Simplified Monthly PicksFinancial Data That Spans Years
Growth Stock InvestingWall Street Ratings for Every Stock
Moderate Risk InvestingComparing Stocks Side-by-Side with Peers
Lower PriceStock Analysis on Email Alerts
Beating S&P ReturnsInvesting on the go or carrying out in-depth research and analysis

The Motley Fool’s mainly concerned with finding the next best stock that will outperform the market, and they report a long-lasting track record of outperforming the S&P.

Seeking Alpha also focuses on individual stocks but emphasizes the firm’s “Quant” computerized stock ratings. This piece can help you decide which premium service is better for you in the debate between Motley Fool vs Seeking Alpha.

The Motley Fool

Annual Subscription Fee:The Motley Fool Stock Advisor – $199/year; Rule Breakers – $299/year; Everlasting Stocks – $299/year
Securities Analyzed:Stocks
Investment Strategies:Qualitative/Quantitative
Base Use:Moderate Risk Tajers

Seeking Alpha

Annual Subscription Fee:Seeking Alpha Premium – $29.99/month or $239/year; Seeking Alpha Pro – $69.99/month or $499/year
Securities Analyzed:Stocks, ETFs or REITs
Investment Strategies:Advanced charting, data visualizations, technical and fundamental analysis
Base Use:Better investment decisions

The Motley Fool Overview

The Motley Fool has been in operation since 1998 with the launch of the Motley Fool Stock Advisor newsletter, making it one of the more dependable stock advisor platforms on the market. Despite the humorous language in each of its pieces, the Motley Fool has proven a stalwart advisory firm that provides monthly stock picks and stock prices for high-growth stocks.

Those who are hesitant to immediately invest in Motley Fool’s premium subscriptions can pour through the myriad of free columns and market advice offered on its website.

This should give potential customers ample to decide whether The Motley Fool is worth investing further into its premium subscription plans and market analysis tools.

The Motley Fool’s typical premium plan will cost $199 per year. Users can spend considerably more than this, all the way up to the $13,999 per year subscription that allows unlimited access to all of the Motley Fool’s publications and market tools.

There is a recent $149 limited-time option for those who only want to receive publications and stock recommendations related to retirement planning. If you want more beyond the droves of free content that the Motley Fool offers there are plenty of options for you to choose from depending on your investing strategy.

The Motley Fool Pros

  • Proven record of reliable growth
  • A subscription plan for every budget
  • Education available for all experience levels

The Motley Fool Cons

  • Somewhat aggressive marketing strategy
  • Can be too much information for customers
  • Humorous tone might not be appropriate for every subscriber

Seeking Alpha Overview

Seeking Alpha (SA) is another market advisor platform that offers users both free and subscription services. It boasts a focus on a large community of people analyzing the market together in addition to its proprietary “Quant” rating of stocks.

Much like Motley Fool, SA also offers newsletters and advice columns. Seeking Alpha claims that thousands of authors contribute roughly 10,000 articles every month.

Whether or not this is important information to keep investors informed or producing content for its own sake will ultimately be a decision for potential customers to decide.

Seeking Alpha pros

  • Very affordable subscription price
  • Large community of professionals and amateurs contributing information
  • Comprehensive “Quant” stock rating based on a range of stats

Seeking Alpha cons

  • Not suitable for beginner individual investors
  • Sheer volume of statistics to sift through can be too much for the uninitiated
  • Most useful analytical tools are hidden behind a paywall

The Motley Fool Cost

The Motley Fool offers a wide range of premium newsletter services at different price points:

  • The Motley Fool Stock Advisor: $199/year
  • The Motley Fool Rule Breakers: $299/year
  • The Motley Fool Everlasting Stocks: $299/year

For those who are interested in getting all of the Motley Fool’s main newsletters, and looking to save a couple of bucks in the process, the Motley Fool also offers their Epic Bundle.

The Motley Fool Epic Bundle comes with all three of the newsletters listed above for the price of $499 a year. If you purchase all three newsletters a-la-carte, it will run you $797. That means you save close to $300 a year by getting the Bundle. With the Epic Bundle, you also get access to bonus reports and stock tips.

Seeking Alpha Cost

Seeking Alpha has two different paid plans, both with different membership pricing.

Seeking Alpha Premium will run you $29.99 a month or $239 for the year. Seeking Alpha Pro will run you $299.99 a month or $2400 a year.

Both Seeking Alpha Premium and Seeking Alpha Pro come with a 14-day free trial, allowing you to give the services a try before committing to their monthly or yearly premium.

Is The Motley Fool Legit?

Not only is the Motley Fool legit, but they also have the numbers to back it up.

Here are just some of their average return numbers compared to that of the S&P 500:

  • Stock Advisor – average return of 356% compared to the 124% return from the S&P 500
  • Rule Breakers – picks trump those of S&P 500 205% to 106%

Additionally, their services have hundreds of thousands of subscribers, and they are still growing. That many people would not keep signing up for and renewing their memberships every year if the team at the Motley Fool wasn’t doing something right.

Better Business Bureau Rating: B

Is Seeking Alpha Legit?

Seeking Alpha has been around for nearly 20 years and has over 20 million users. You aren’t going to find too many companies that have been in business for that long and have that many users unless they are doing something right, especially in this day in age.

One of the biggest selling points of Seeking Alpha is that they routinely outperform the S&P 500 as well as competitors, especially their “Strong Buy” rated stocks.

Additionally, in order to ensure that their users are only getting the most accurate information, Seeking Alpha only accepts content articles from credible authors. They also fully vet all content that is submitted to them before posting it on their website and require all authors to disclose any sort of potential conflict of interest upfront.

What Are People Saying?

If you are still wondering if Seeking Alpha and the Motley Fool are legit, or right for you, don’t just take our word for it. Below are some reviews from users and subscribers of both platforms from Trustpilot.

Seeking Alpha

4.2 Star Rating

“I’ve been on Seeking Alpha for a few years and I find it a good resource. Naturally, the quality of posts varies but overall very good. There is also a marketplace and I’ve occasionally signed up to contributors, with varying degrees of success but I can say without a doubt, Seeking Alpha will always do the right thing and the customer service team are very good. It is light years ahead of most other sites and the Seeking Alpha premium service does offer plenty of excellent content.” -Paul Purcell
“I have subscribed to SA now for a year and a half. I am retired and have begun a DGIP. I have received most of my guidance and intelligence from SA. The information I have gleaned has been invaluable. With the information from SA, my personal portfolio has raised 27% over my initial investment over the last year. Needless to say, I am well pleased. Thanks again for all your help and input.” -Michael
“I have been using Seeking Alpha since it was only a “newsletter” It was useful then and now it is a TOP fund review and stock picking service with numerous Authors, a solid rating service and great in-depth evaluation of stocks and funds. I especially like the Stock ideas and dividend ranking and data availability. In short Seeking Alpha is worth every penny paid for this excellent service.” -Barry

The Motley Fool

3.6 Star Rating

“The Motley Fool has helped me learn and become more comfortable as an investor. I started late, at 42 years old, but the information I have gotten through my Stock Advisor membership and listening daily to the Motley Fool Podcast has been great. I have learned to invest in what I feel will be long-term wins and not worry as much about day-to-day volatility. Thanks to the Motley Fool, I truly feel like I’ll be able to retire with a comfortable amount of money put back instead of very minimal like many in my family have done. FOOL ON!” -Jason Scogin
“I started the Fool in 2006 after inheriting a substantial sum. I am of above-average intelligence but have little knowledge or time to research companies listed on the stock market. Over the years I have bought in excess of 80 Fool-recommended stocks and mutual funds/ETFs. I have sold recommended stocks when advised by the fool. I still own 73 recommendations and currently have increased my net worth by 600%. If you don’t have the time to research listed stock companies then any one or more of their subscription newsletters is a must. I have been a Stock Advisor and Rule Your Retirement for Many years.”-Allan Reese
“They provide rich and deep analysis on markets, stocks, and institutions. A great advanced platform offering a variety of services for investors looking for long-term growth.” -Melhelm

The Motley Fool vs. Seeking Alpha: The Verdict

Both Seeking Alpha and the Motley Fool offers reliable stock picking services to different types of investors. Both firms offer plenty of market research and stock tip columns, but their demographics differ slightly. The Motley Fool offers plans for subscribers who are new but enthusiastic about stock screener and market research.

They still offer a wide variety of programs for experienced investors, but the Motley Fool’s philosophy always revolves around long-term investing even though the company will send daily newsletters to those hungry to get a sense of the market.

Seeking Alpha will not be of use to beginning investors as it centers around providing more complex analytics to experienced investors and professional investors. Its crowd-sourcing approach makes it great for individuals who would like a mix of opinions and investment strategies between both amateur and advanced investors.

This can be a gift or a curse depending on the individual’s preferences, but it is a dynamic not often seen in market advisory services. Regardless of your conclusion in the debate between the Motley Fool vs. Seeking Alpha, you can start your investment ambitions right here!

Bob Haegele

About the Author:

Bob Haegele is a personal finance writer, entrepreneur, and dog walker. Bob has been writing about personal finance for three years and now manages several personal finance sites, including The Frugal Fellow, Modest Money, and Blooming Wealth. You can also find him contributing to popular websites such as Yahoo! Finance, MSN Money, and GOBankingRates. You can see more of his work on Muck Rack and Contently, or connect with him on LinkedIn.