Complete Investor, The

Related Gumshoe Articles

Can you really “Create Extra Paychecks Month After Month Thanks to the ‘MCR Plan?'” (Leeb)

Figuring out the "Income Stacking" picks teased by Stephen Leeb's Complete Investor

5 Comments Read More

Share Your Thoughts

ShowHide Comments (49)
    1. Elissa Stein
      Jan 28 2009, 05:35:02 am

      The Complete Investor costs $39, for a year, so this is an inexpensive publication. Leeb is a “peak oil” advocate, but TCI is well-rounded, because it contains everything from financials to infrastructure, emerging markets, tech, etc. The publication recommends at least two stocks each month. The analysis is thorough and well written.

      Additionally, if a stock has lost its Mojo due to a flaw in a company or other adverse changes, TCI will advise to sell positions. There are two levels of sell recommendations: red and orange alerts, and you can receive them, and the publication itself, via email.

      TCI has conservative, moderate and aggressive portfolios. The picks are not cheap-for instance, Berkshire Hathaway B Shares has been a cornerstone of their portfolios for years.These are not penny stock picks, but actually run the gamut from small cap to large cap, both growth and value stocks.

      Additionally, there is a good support team. When I had a question on one of their small cap value picks, and the customer service rep could not answer it, I was referred to a stock analyst in their main office, who did answered my questions.

      While you will get a great deal of email ads from Leeb, you will also get explanations of his view of the economy and the opportunities it presents. All in all, it is a good value for the price of a couple of pizzas!

    2. Dusty
      Jan 29 2009, 11:34:28 pm

      This newsletter is one that I began in the fall of 2008 mostly as a tax deductible expense. The price is a beginning subscriber rate that will increase a lot with renewals. My ‘star’ ratings are based on inadequate experience. My situation and the current Market have not cooperated in allowing significant use of this data. I can agree that the flow of information is interesting and well written. I am not impressed just by a flow of pretty words and ideas. I think the listing of usable picks for a small investor is limited. Some of that, however, is because the same stocks appear in many different newsletters that I see. If there was only one newsletter available, this one covers a lot of ground and that is a very good thing. My buys are based on $1K. I know individuals who choke at the idea of buying less than 5K shares. Their world and its needs is very different. I am unhappy at being constantly bombarded with efforts to entice me into much higher priced offerings. Some of those efforts start out looking like what I paid for. The ‘Delete’ button gets a lot of use. My bottom line is that if I could have only one newsletter, this is number two on my list of preferences. When my subscription expires I may renew and keep this one also.

    3. A. Nony Mouse
      Jan 31 2009, 09:08:23 pm

      If I were to recommend one newsletter to anyone this would be it. I subscribed to “The Complete Investor” in September of last year and by following the advice therein, have actually been able to make money. Subscribers can choose from a number of Portfolios detailed within it to suit their investment strategy/risk tolerance: 1. Growth, 2. Income, 3. Fund Portfolio, ( included in it are mutual Funds from various sectors: Large Value,Large Growth, Large Blend, Mid-
      cap Value, Mid-cap Growth, Small Value among others) 4. FundFinds Portfolio (what some hot mutual fund managers are buying) 5.Fast Track Portfolio (generally speculative stocks and usually includes suggestions for stocks to short). 6. Small Cap Value Portfolio.

      Other informative features are Leeb’s Marketpulse column (his take on where he thinks the market is going), The Archive and Chindia,a brief review of what’s going on in China and India and sometimes includes stocks the Leeb team thinks are going to be profitable. Probably the most unique feature of his newsletter are Leeb’s short-term and long-term market “keys” based on his own mathematical formula for detirmining market direction. All-in-all I would rate this newsletter a good buy and above average in it’s stock picks. I would add one caveat, Leeb is convinced high if not hyper-inflation is in our future as various commodities are depleted. The Stock picks in this letter tho aren’t all or even mostly from the usual suspect commodity plays.

    4. McDaib
      Feb 7 2009, 05:40:34 pm

      I’ve been a subscriber since early 2008, so I guess I’m about to expire. I’m not sure how it is with new subscribers now but when I enrolled I did receive a couple of bonus reports. Both had to do with long term energy supply(with sidelights of precious metals) and both were pretty much spot on. I’m a small time investor and a $2,000 play weighs heavily on my investment portfolio. I made a couple of investments last year which were mainly due to the Complete Investor and the reports I received for signing up. Both did well but required timing. I purchased UGA (US Gas Fund)in April and managed to get out fairly soon after the peak of oil. Did pretty good. Also purchased GLD sometime in the Fall. Still holding it and it’s not making me rich but it is a winner so I’m happy.

      I have subscribed to a few newsletters over the past couple of years and for the money I think this one does OK. I will probably renew. But, ya know, now that I’ve found Travis and the Stock Gumshoe, I’m really wondering why I pay for all this other stuff. I mean, heck, I pay Travis $4.50 a month and get all kinds of good advice in both the free Gumshoe and the Irregulars account. Travis hasn’t made me rich yet but neither have any of the other financial newsletters that cost quite a bit more. Besides, Travis is way more fun to read………..You keep on sleuthing Travis, OK?
      Disclaimer: I do not own any stock in the and promise I will not buy any for at least 3 days :0)

    5. Sunny
      Feb 7 2009, 07:16:28 pm

      Overall a good publication. Dr. Leeb is a big believer in commodities and the coming era of inflation so there is a lot of talk about buying gold. Aside from stock picks which run the gamut from blue chips to small caps I’d never heard of, this newsletter is also educational if you are interested in economics. But you need a long term focus here, Dr. Leeb is a forward thinker (peak oil, coming water & mineral shortages etc.) so if you’re looking to get rich overnight, this one may not be for you.

    6. Megha
      Feb 8 2009, 12:01:23 pm

      I have read Stephen Leeb’s basic newletters for a long time. Now I can’t find any of my old issues – before “The Complete Investor” – but I remember how long it took him to understand that the fallout from the Enron scandal would affect a number of his picks that he kept saying were safe to hold on to. Of course I remember that vividly because I held on until some of them were worthless. I would say that his timing had been terrible and if you like his picks, be sure to track the technical indicators before investing in any of them. For me, too many of his stocks went down like 20% before either going lower or beginning to soar (such as FPL) that I had to give up on him. Also I did not appreciate the advertising as a “complete” service and then trying to sell all sorts of other things.
      About his peak oil theories. Although totally correct, originally he seemed to forget that when the price was right all the expensive to produce oil would start coming to market, postponing a day of reckoning for perhaps decades. Little of his peak oil advice – apart from lucky runups such as last year – has been profitable (for me.)
      I haven’t read his letter for over a year, so he might have improved on his timing if he now has better “sell” alerts.

      • Timothy Leeb
        Jun 6 2015, 04:53:17 pm

        First of all, thank you for following us on and off throughout the years. I believe we have made vast improvements regarding “timing” our trades as well as strengthening our portfolios. I’d happily comp you, so you can see for yourself, what I believe to be our strongest publication, most focused on timing, also requiring more focus on behalf of the subscriber. If we send a sell alert to your email and you don’t open your email, the trade alert is meaningless. Feel free to call me direct at 914 483 7654 or email me at

        Kindest Regards,
        Timothy Leeb
        The Leeb Group

    7. Lee
      Feb 9 2009, 05:11:24 pm

      I subscribed for the Complete Investor for four years, just dropped it…..costing me about $79/yr. Also signed up for his “Agressive Trader” for $1000 (options trading) a couple years ago but dropped it and got a partial refund promptly (I made a small amount of money with the Aggressive Trader newsletter but it felt like a casino….win big, lose big). He is a “peak oil” guy and was ahead of the pack. He also claimed to have a “Master Key” (based on oil price changes, among other things) that was “proven” to alert subscribers of market downturns. Well, we just had a downturn and he missed it completely. He was saying “buy, buy, buy” at exactly the wrong time. Overall, I found his picks spotty and his timing terrible, but his long term mega-trends seem to be right on target and he is an interesting read. I did get tired of him trying to sell me something three times a week with endless e-mails.

    8. Stan
      Feb 15 2009, 02:21:50 am

      He makes some good picks and it’s nice that he has all of these different types of portfolios to choose from. It can get confusing though because there are too many to choose from. I don’t remember him providing any good guidance on which portfolio(s) to choose for a particular investing style.

      He’s a smart man and seems to have pretty good timing.

      Of course, it’s an investment letter; so it’s buy and hold, which isn’t the best thing in these times.

    9. SageNot
      Feb 16 2009, 12:11:59 pm

      Have any of the 8 folks above read either of Dr. Leeb’s books on crude oil? If so, why do you think that we have crude oil trading below $35./brl on the Future’s Exch.? In his “The Coming Economic Collapse” he gives advice on how to thrive when oil costs over $200./brl, HUH?

      It never occurred to Dr. Leeb that when oil costing $147./brl blew up the commodity business in general, time had come to BAIL. Thrive Dr. Leeb, surely you jest.

      My last subscription to any of Dr. Leeb’s work was pre-Y2K, & he wasn’t any more accurate then than what has been written above sorry to say.

    10. Amanda
      Feb 24 2009, 12:35:12 pm

      I subscribed to TCI for about three years. The cost was $79 a year, and it just expired.

      His advice was fine when the market was doing well, but his timing has been off, and he didn’t seem to see the overall weakness developing in the market. There were far too many choices, so if you couldn’t buy them all, and happened to pick the poor performers, oh well. His “Master Key” predictor might simply have stopped working (that’s his alleged secret to success.)

      The two worst “picks” that I followed were Nova Gold and GE. He recommended NG, a stock with a “bright and shiny future” at $20. It’s selling today for $2.65. Also recommended GE at about $33. I waited and decided to buy it at $26. Since it’s now selling for under $9, and if he ever issued a “sell” or “warning” on it, I missed it. I still own it, and have been a buyer at the current lows. Hope springs eternal.

      The letter is well written, but I think it’s aimed at people with more money to invest than I currently possess (like millions?)

      I believe his intentions are good, and that he’s very knowledgeable, but don’t think he’s been able keep up with the current volatility. He seems to think that everything will go on, business as usual. I don’t think so…..

    11. Jim
      Mar 3 2009, 09:25:19 pm

      I subscribed from 2003 through 2006. Leebs comments about then current economic trends was the best part of his news letter. His recommendations were conservative, mostly blue chip types, with no wild out of space ideas! His portfolios rarely changed…. indeed two semi-annual issues would find almost the exact same names on his three lists.
      When it came time to re-subscribe for 2007, I dug out all issues from the previous years, and reviewed winners and losers. Except for Leebs reviews of “then current” market conditions, there were no real recommendations worth $39 a year. His free weekly emails were interesting, but I don’t know how you can get on his email list without being a subscriber. Perhaps others can help in this regard.

    12. Jim S
      Mar 19 2009, 06:11:58 pm

      I’ve been a TCI subscriber for a year or so – recently signed up for Leeb’s Real World Investing – for I believe in his overall themes (peak oil, gold) – only catch is, his timing’s awful. A couple examples: he called for a bottom in oil in Aug of last year, just before USO dropped a mind boggling 70%. Example #2, during Jan 09’s brief rally he called the market bottom – right before the Feb meltdown to new lows.. The real test of an analyst is what they say or predict at important market pivot points – and to this capacity Leeb falls short….

    13. JPA
      Mar 21 2009, 08:41:32 am

      Bear with me as I may ramble. Steve Leeb has decent logic and knowledge on the stock market and the economy, in general. I subscribed to his Leeb Income Investor and his Complete Investor newsletters because they are packed with picks like Personal Finance is by Elliott Gue. Not being a fool, Leeb has since come out with three more newsletters, one geared to taking $250k to $1 million in 6 years. Apparently exisiting members of his two other newsletters were not worthy of such advice without paying the extra fee. Ironically, he charges $500 per year for this service, so the only sure winner here is Leeb, even if after 6 years he fails to reach the $1 million. If he gets you for 6 years, that’s $3000 per subscriber, which means that he will collect nearly $1 million with only 3000 subscribers, he won’t lose either way. If that isn’t greedy enough for you, he just came out with another newsletter, Real World Investing, another slap in the face of his existing subscribers who apparently aren’t getting real world advice, just another ploy at suckering you in for more subscription money. How many newsletters does an analyst need? He is not alone doing this, too many analysts publish multiple newsletters as a way to generate more subscriptions. Imagine the realization in having a newsletter and finding out that the analyst’s other newsletter is where you should have been to make your money.
      Leeb must have nearly 10 newsletters and the latest three are each $500 or more per year. He is getting very greedy.

    14. Oliver Vandagriff
      Mar 21 2009, 10:05:18 am

      Stephen Leeb’s The Complete Investor

      I have subscribed to this monthly newsletter/email advisory longer than any other, about one year. The cost was only $79/yr and for that I receive detailed news on fast growth companies, funds, banking stocks, energy/commodities stocks, and emerging markets. Early on I accepted their picks as gospel and invested in ten of their high rated picks. I lost money in all but two of them. One of them, Helix (HLX) I lost a LOT. I bought it at $27, got out at $17. It is now down to $5! And yet on page 10 of the Complete Investor March 09 Newsletter Sandell writes, “Helix remains an aggressive bet on rising energy prices.” Moral to this story: I don’t take their picks anymore.

    15. Richway
      Mar 28 2009, 01:08:50 am

      I only signed up for it to get one of his books, and I should have just bought the book on

      He is even more of a wimp on his picks here than he was w/ Personal Finance, where he recommended so many picks to hold Warren Buffet would have been hard pressed to follow.

      And of course as with all the rest, we are constantly bombarded with teasers for “The Big Money Makers” services. By the way, he does not even list how much up or down his picks are, so I think that says it all.

    16. coachellabill
      Apr 8 2009, 02:12:26 pm

      I have been subscribing to this newsletter for several years. Some of his advice has made money for me, chiefly in Gold and Energy stocks.. But I am increasingly perplexed by his ability to play both sides. In his ads for special services he trumpets how the newsletter warned of the coming financial storm, but if one looks at the portfolios he espouses, one can see that the losses there have been just as severe as the market in general. If he knew, why didn’t he close those positions instead of suffering the losses? (and tell us to sell).

    17. csprings
      Apr 23 2009, 05:40:00 pm

      I like reading the letter for his sentiments. The picks make an interesting watchlist, but has to be combined with a timing system.

      If the other service of his I subscribe to takes off, I’ll stick with this one, but otherwise I’ll probably just start assembling my own watchlists from stockgumshoe, which are just as interesting and free.

      So far he is a good example that you can be right in the long term and dead broke before you get there.

      One of the reviewers said he doesn’t post performance…he doesn’t give an overall percent up or down of the model portfolios, but he lists for every pick the date recommended, the price at that time and what the current price is. The vast majority are seriously in the red, which just highlights that you have to combine his watchlist with some sort of timing system to expect to make any money.

    18. JohnnyHeck
      Apr 24 2009, 10:35:28 pm

      I will not be renewing my 2 year subcription this fall. This letter is a confusing mess of multiple portfolio recommendations with the usual data light “story stock” approach to justify the recommendations.

      The greatest “crime” of this service was it’s assertion that based on Oil prices it could predict when it was time to get out of the market. Well, it actually did! But unfortunately Leeb decided to ignore his own indicator under the “peek oil” theory. Too bad – If he just suffered 6 months of relative under performance before the crash, he would now look like a genius and I would not be dropping his service

    19. SLY DOG
      May 27 2009, 12:31:53 pm

      Not much to report here, other than the usual disappointments due mostly to a bear market. I do agree with others that I’m tired of the constant e-mails. He needs to provide some sort of grading device for his picks, as well as others. I tend to pick some of his dividend paying stocks, which is my preference, right now. Overall, just ok, at best.

    20. randy
      Jun 6 2009, 12:39:56 pm

      the sky is falling buy gold. definetly a reconstructionist. If someone wants someone to tell them what to do, Leeb will definetly let you know but after the fact. Spent your time before youspend your money. More sales than guidence

    21. stkfox
      Jun 7 2009, 08:06:37 am

      My two year subscription is about up and I won’t be renewing.
      Like alot of people I became aware of Leeb through some radio interviews and his book, “Oil Factor”. About two years ago, he sounded like a sage and I could see where he was going, agreed with many of his picks, and his rationale for doing so. His strategy seemed, well, pretty smart. And then he completely ignored his own “oil factor” and lost a bundle for his subscribers! I agree with JohnnyHeck, what was the guy thinking? He could have come through this with a diamond reputation would he have made the call to sell based on the “factor”. In fact the only four star rating I gave to this service was for customer service. I sent an email to him asking if his strategy was flawed. I didn’t expect a reply but did get one within 48 hours with the statement that this was a “different kind of market” (at the time everything across the board was going down, including his GOLD picks).
      I too, am tired of all his emails promising the next big thing. I think I can figure that out on my own now!

    22. Steve B
      Jun 23 2009, 06:05:31 pm

      I have been a long time subscriber and have followed Leeb’s advice religiously but I am down over 50% from my initial investment. I opted for a change and cancelled my account in May 09 expecting a refund. Customer service Steffany Bowes agreed to refund in 4-5 bussines days but I’m still waitng 6 weeks for the refund and they won’t respond to questions. I’d stay away from these folks……worst customer service I’ve seen in a long time. Leeb’s OK but his customer service is the pits.

    23. Phil
      Jun 29 2009, 08:30:05 pm

      I subscribed to the Complete Investor after reading the Oil Factor and thinking that it was terrific. In the Oil Factor Leeb gives a formula for when to be in the market based on the price of oil over the last 12 months. I think it was something like if oil is up over 80% in last 12 months get out of the market and stay out until oil up no more than 20% in last 12 months.

      The problem is that when the Oil Factor gave the sell signal Leeb told his investors to stay in the market becuase he was a “nimble” prognosticator and the market was fine. Alas, if he had followed his own formula his readers would have been mostly on the sidelines during the 2008 crash. Like many other reviewers, I lost faith when that happened.

      On the plus side I like Leeb’s macro view and his stock picks are solid blue chips with exposure to energy, gold or international exposure. He was proven to be right in the Oil Factor, although that was two books ago and he changes his formula every couple of years. On the down side Leeb wrongly touts himself as a world-class market timer and did not follow his own advice that he devoted an entire book to. It makes it hard to trust the guy.

      Read the Oil Factor and consider applying it to your portfolio. Don’t buy into Leeb’s over-blown self promotion as a short term stock picker.

    24. gene
      Jul 20 2009, 01:49:53 pm

      I have subscribed to Leeb’s publications for many years off and on. He is very long term and you need to pick and choose from his list. I use his ideas and philosophy and then compare with some other newletters I subscribe to. Over all good reading but picks are to long out in developing.

    25. Frank R.
      Aug 7 2009, 09:01:52 am

      In Feb. ’09 I received a mailing from TCI that proclaimed “There will be no depression”. Inside was material that was decidedly bullish on the stock market, stating that an important low soon would be reached. This agreed with my own opinion so I subscribed for $80 online, believing that my report on the “8 stocks to buy in 2009” would arrive in “5 minutes” as the ad claimed.

      It took several days and phone calls before I could even log on to Leeb’s website. I was placed in e-mail contact with an employee who admitted to me that the “8 stocks” report did not exist yet. Meanwhile, I read back issues on the web site to see how well Leeb had protected his subscribers during 2008. I could find no warnings, no big SELL signals, nothing like that at all. As far as I could tell he had remained fully invested or nearly so for the crash of 2008.

      Finally, after about 6 weeks and several emails, I received the “8 stocks” report. By this time Leeb seemed to have done a 180 and was now proclaiming that an even bigger crash was coming within months. I guess this meant that I was to wait on purchasing the 8 best stocks for 2009? In March several of my own indicators signalled Buy and I did so. By late April it seemed pretty obvious that the market had bottomed in March. Never a word from Leeb about that possibilty, throughout March and April he had been rather bearish. I was so confused and fed up that I cancelled my subscription and did receive a prompt refund. I will say that much for the service.

      Just for fun, I made a paper portfolio of the 8 best stocks with equal weights of each. (Actually there were 9 stocks. The last 2 seemed to be paired so I allocated 1/16 to each of these, and 1/8 to each of the first 7.) I assumed purchase of all of these at the close of March 9, the day of the low. For comparison I “purchased” the same amount of the Russell 2000 ETF (symbol IWM) at the same time.

      The market may indeed crash to new lows, no one can know for sure about that. However, the popular averages have all advanced 40% to 50% off the March low. That may not be a bull market in everyone’s book, but it is a large enough move that any adviser worth paying for should have made some money on it.

      I honestly do not know whether or not Leeb intended that I should have bought his best stocks for 2009. But from Mar. 9 to the close on July 31, IWM was almost 16% ahead of the paper portfolio of them which I had created.

      If you think that it is easy or even likely for a newsletter writer to beat a buy and hold strategy of an index like the Russell 2000 over time, I suggest that you look at the results of Mark Hulbert’s studies since about 1980.

    26. LarryG
      Aug 27 2009, 04:13:06 am

      I had subscribed to the Complete Investor for many years. During that time Leeb had sent, by e-mail, advice and market information 2 or 3 times weekly. However, when the market meltdown occurred in late 2008-2009, he seemed to have disappeared. At the time when we needed guidance the most, he was scarce as hen’s teeth. Because of his neglect I did not renew my subscription. Some of his recos like Novagold & GE were portfolio killers. And, too, his constant barrage trying to sell his other advice letters had become very irritating.
      I just wonder if his prediction of $200 oil will ever materialize (during our lifetimes).
      I wish him luck, but I will not be donating any more of my money to his vast fortune.

    27. FJH
      Oct 7 2009, 08:08:57 am

      A lot of valuable informations in a well written and relatively cheap newsletter.

      But you need to do your own technical analysis before buying or selling…(Leeb and his team aren’t very good “short term stock pickers”!)

    28. Todd
      Oct 10 2009, 04:34:33 pm

      I’ve subscribed to The Complete Investor from roughly early in 2007 to date (late 2009), paying $79 per year for most periods. What appealed to me initially was Stephen Leeb’s view of the global macroeconomy – largely founded on his outlook that the two primary factors determining which investments will be profitable in the years ahead are energy shortages (Dr. Leeb ascribes to the Peak Oil theory) and the rise of foreign/emerging markets, especially Brazil, Russia, China and India (though over the years this has shifted to Brazil, Russia, Australia, and China). I still think he has the macroeconomic trends pegged pretty well, and his recommended portfolio is an assembly stocks in stable companies that stand to profit from the trends he projects. That said, some of the critiques here raised by others are valid; especially disappointing has been Dr. Leeb’s guidance during the extreme bear market of 2008/early 2009, when he advised holding all positions till nearly the end of the crash, all the while affirming that the financial crisis was just a short downturn and that inflation was bound to come roaring because of the bailouts from governments and central banks. Long term, that’s still a strong possibility, but holding that expectation to be imminent in early 2009 was a portfolio killer.

      In short – I think most, but not all, of Dr. Leeb’s recommendations are good ones for long-term holdings, and you can rest easy that if he recommends a stock the underlying company is very likely to have a solid balance sheet and steady revenue stream. I think he gets too attached though to his expectations regarding coming trends in the global economy, so when the facts go against him he’s too slow to shift his holdings.

      Regarding ads for other newsletters – yes, I get several emailed ads per week, though never any snail-mail ads. They’re usually easy to identify by the sort of wording in the subject line, and I usually delete them. I’m not disappointed by the ads; most newsletter writers are partly in the business of analyzing investments, and partly in the business of selling newsletters, so advertising comes with the territory.

      A reader could do far worse with some other newsletters than with The Complete Investor. S/he could do at least a little better with yet different, well-chosen alternatives in the same general price range. If you do choose to subscribe to The Complete Investor, despite any advice Dr. Leeb may offer regarding holding on to declining investment, definitely use 25% trailing stops; when a storm hits, these will help you cut your losses short.

    29. DM
      Oct 12 2009, 07:38:42 pm

      My 1 year subscription just ended and I will NOT be renewing. My biggest disappointment with TCI is the short term indicator. This indicator went negative on or about 3/6/09 just at the market low. It has stayed negative through a 7 month 60% bull market rally. What a bad joke.

    30. Complete Investor Subscriber
      Oct 30 2009, 12:48:34 pm

      Stephen Leeb is a perfect market timer. In beginning of 2008,
      he recommended financial and home builder stocks, most of
      which lost 80-90% value during the meltdown. Now, he is
      recommending gold, oil and other commodities. I guess it is
      time to short commodities. He has short positions in fast
      track portfolio. Most of his short positions have increased
      in value, thereby losing subscribers money. The only way
      yo make money using this newsletter is to go long on his
      short positions and go short on this long positions. Consistency
      wise, I give him 5 stars, he is 100% wrong all the time.

    31. fivester
      Oct 31 2009, 03:43:05 pm

      I have subscribed to TCI since Leeb started this newsletter after leaving Personal Finance. Like some of the other reviewers, I would say I get more value from his commentary than from his stock picks. Of the portfolios in the newsletter, I find the small cap value and the mutual fund portfolios the least useful. The mutual funds seem to change without much reasoning and are not covered nearly as extensively as his economic outlook or the individual stocks. The small cap value picks do not seem to be particularly inspired or to have done very well, even accounting for a poor market since that portfolio’s inception. The growth and income portfolios have done better (at least by my accounting), but like most (all?) newsletters, you really need to buy into most or all of the picks in a portfolio to really follow it – if you cherry pick, you are just as likely to get a loser as a winner unless you are a better stock picker than Leeb. I use the newsletter mainly to give me things to think about in terms of asset allocation and economic outlook and have only bought a handful of the picks (did I just violate my previously stated rule? Oh well). If Leeb has been pounding the table for something, like commodities and precious metals (as he has for years now), I consider closely his arguments and that informs my own personal portfolio construction. If I were a subscriber really interested using many of his picks, I would first buy the larger, more solid companies he recommends. He seems to have a spotty record when he tries to pick a small cap stock as a potential home run (for example, he was bullish on Apex Silver for years, and though he did not ride it into bankruptcy, he rode it way down). If you want to see how he manages money on his own in a way pretty similar to the TCI growth portfolio strategy, look at his mutual fund: Leeb Focus Fund (LCMFX). It has not been a standout, but it has beaten the S&P 500 since its late 2006 inception, according to Morningstar. I subscribe to a number of newsletters and almost did not renew my subscription to TCI this last time, but decided to give it one more year. We shall see. One final note: I, like many reviewers, find the number of different newsletters Leeb sponsors, and for which I am always receiving touts, annoying. If Leeb has so many other good stock ideas, why are they not in a publication called “The Complete Investor” – perhaps he should rename it “The Partial Investor.”

    32. Laurence
      Dec 11 2009, 12:44:39 pm

      “……worst customer service I’ve seen in a long time. Leeb’s OK but his customer service is the pits.”
      I concur with the writer of this review. When I extended my subscription in March ’09, my email updates and alerts stopped. I’ve contacted them five times by email, phone, and written correspondence. It’s now December ’09, and the problem remains. Only after the 3rd or 4th contact did I receive the materials that had been offered (as a bribe?) with the solicitation for the extension. Amazingly incompetent. Or just crooks. I dunno which.

    33. ellisto
      Jan 23 2010, 03:11:19 pm

      I subscribed to this newsletter when it started in 2005 [appx] and have been pleased with the overall view and with the discussions of various stocks.

      What was a terrible failure was to NOT give a sell signal during the summer of 2008 at all.

      If you are going to claim to be a market timing guru you need to say when to get out, in a timely fashion.

    34. ellisto
      Jan 23 2010, 03:14:30 pm

      Leeb failed to give a sell signal in the summer of 2008- Springer in Income Performance at least said go to 50% cash- Sept of 08 so he is the better timer

    35. chick
      Feb 5 2010, 08:15:19 pm

      I subscribed to the Complete Investor for about a year as a ‘Charter member’, but dropped my subscription because I was annoyed at the relentless marketing of additional Leeb products. If it weren’t for that, I might have kept the subscription.

      For a very reasonable price at the time — less than $99 a year, I got an interesting read every month. Today, with internet access, I can get financial entertainment from the web, so it’s less valuable for that purpose than it used to be.

      He published the performance of every single newsletter recommendation in each issue from the buy price until the sell price. The service offered a large number of portfolios, and each one got space in each issue. Each one’s performance was tracked. At the time, he was doing OK by his readers, although I wouldn’t say he was shooting out the lights. I never bought many of his recommendations even though the investment theses seemed good; by the the time I got the newsletter, the stocks had already run up. I had to ask myself why I was paying for advice I couldn’t use (and killing a rainforest a year in mail spam from Leeb’s publisher). I was not a subscriber during the crash or the rebound so I can’t comment on his market timing skills.

      Dr Leeb appears on occasionally. My suggestion is to look for his articles there if you are interested in what he has to say.

    36. BOBK
      Sep 19 2010, 04:05:23 pm

      I have been a subscriber to THE COMPLETE INVESTOR since it started and to PERSONAL FINANCE before that. I that Leeb is an intelligent huckster – witness his neverending new newsletter and self-aggrandizing pronouncements. However, I think that his basic Growth Portfolio is a good one for somewhat aggresive investors and that his Income Portfolio bears cherry picking. His Fund Finds are also worthwhile. His long-term bullishsness on commodities and energy is, I think, valid. As for his other portfolios (especially small-cap value), forget it! Market timing is not his thing, so follow him for buy-and-ho;d only!

    37. Russell
      Sep 21 2010, 03:32:53 pm

      I cancelled my subscription July 15th and received an acknowlegement the same day. None of the promised items were ever received and zero information as to investment information as promised. Several calls to customer service and many emails to no avail. All I received is it is in the system. I can see by the reviews that this is an ongoing problem with Mr. Leeb. Guess we can kiss our money goodbye.

    38. Kwong
      Nov 25 2010, 03:08:34 am

      I read it for info and decide what to invest in. So far in ’10 I’ve returned 140%. Maybe I’m just lucky with my picks (2 gold stocks)… We’ll see next year. Gold situation has changed somewhat, wonder what he’ll say about gold’s next phase- that *mild inflation is expected and only in 2 or 3 years. That the euro and yen is in trouble so US$ may not devalue that much and may be safe haven too. He is long term and I’m a trader/ shorter term.

    39. M.R.
      Feb 14 2011, 03:22:57 pm

      Pros: Leeb provides very insightful “Big Picture” analysis and market commentary, along with coverage of current and future investment trends (his books are also very good, by the way.) Relatively inexpensive subscription rate.

      Cons: unreported track record (perhaps Hulbert covers TCI.) Too much portfolio turnover. Too many portfolio holdings – why not simply buy sector ETFs instead? Too many “stock story” write-ups and not enough comparative data analysis of a given recommendation’s position within its industry, and with respect to its competitors. The Small-Cap Value Portfolio is particularly atrocious: NovaGold was recommended at $18 in late 2007, then plunged to $1 over the next year – you would have suffered a 94% drawdown in the position. Mediocre Editorial Staff. Known bad customer service and fulfillment.

      Conclusion: allowing my subscription to end after several years. Will catch Leeb on Seeking Alpha and check out his future books from the library.

    40. billy-bob
      Mar 14 2011, 10:23:22 pm

      I found Leeb’s service to be junk. It’s basically a way for him to get your email address and then spam you with all sorts of other crap that he markets. Not only that, but he sells your name and address information to other investment newsletter services. I’d say read his books and skip this one. I now route everything from Leeb straight to my spam folder.

    41. Randy
      Mar 28 2011, 12:50:39 pm

      Do not give them your email address because they will spam you. After my subscription ran out I did not re-subscribe. I unsubscribed from their emails but they keep on sending me their spam anyway. Now all of their emails go into my junk mail. When the market crashed his portfolios crashed also. Mr Leeb did not have enough sense to get out before the crash. If he was honest he would warn people about his newsletters and how his portfolios crashed along with the market. You would do well to look elsewhere for market guidance.

    42. Mark
      May 28 2011, 11:42:25 am

      I have subscribed to The Complete Investor for years now, ever since Leeb left Personal Finance. I followed him to his new newsletter because his advice had been excellent. Leeb’s forecasting is not perfect, but after subscribing to over a dozen newsletters over the years, Leeb is as close as you’re going to get to someone who can tell you what most likely will happen long term.

      Leeb has made a lot of people money by getting readers in oil and gold years ago. He also was one of the first people advocating investing in the Indian and Chinese companies, which made a lot of people rich.

    43. Leeb Group
      Sep 1 2011, 02:20:53 pm

      Thank you so much for both the positive and negative responses you’ve posted here. Responses like these give us the feedback necessary to make the kind of changes to our services that best serve you, the customer. We’re not perfect, but without the negative feedback there’d be no way for us to improve. So thank you!

      We have a wonderful customer service center reachable by phone at 866-833-2070. We implore you to contact them with whatever concerns, problems or questions you may be having so that the issue(s) may be rectified ASAP.

      If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly at

    44. Jim W.
      Oct 12 2011, 03:04:55 pm

      Have subscribed for two year. The biggest problem with Leeb’s group is it has zero strategy provided with the pick. In addition, Leeb is a devote Keyesian and in one case chided the Fed for not starting QE3, which his ideology requires to make money. It is a classic “we’ll make money over other people’s misfortune” story. Back to my first point. He’ll tell you at the beginning of each month buy this or sell that. But there is never a strategy. Other papers will say, “buy XXX up to $##.## price with a ##% trailing edge stop to protect against the downside risk.” Later if the stock shows it is peaking, the others come back saying tighten your stops. Not Leeb. It stays in the portfolio until he says sell. Twice I bought only to have him state in 1-2 months it was a sell. Both times I lost.

      Spam is never ending. He should have an opt out option.

    45. Robert Blum
      Dec 6 2012, 08:38:08 pm

      Have actively followed Stephen Leeb since his days with Personal Finance. Complete Investor provides a continual presentation of 5 fund categories (Growth, Income & Value, Funds, Fund Finds as well as Small-Cap). . . giving a very good fundamental basis of additions/buys and deletions/sells on a timely basis.

      Stephen Leeb is and has been an agnostic economist in his views . . . providing a viewpoint that is clear, concise, and accurate; able to consider and reformulate those viewpoints as economic conditions warrant.

      Would have rated Complete Investor a 5 overall but I still would like to find that one, ultimate source that I could definitively classify as ‘the very best’ . . . should I live that long and review all other newsletters available.

    46. 1406
      Jun 6 2015, 07:27:07 pm

      Timothy give my very best wishes to your Dad who I am pleased to say was my roommate one year at Penn – he also appeared on FMN a financial management network that I helped establish back in the 80’s.I remember when you were born & fwiw I also have a son named Timothy. I was a friend of Marty Zweig & your dad-both very talented gentlemen who were Wharton school Grads.

    What These Icons Mean

    • The user who posted this comment is a Stock Gumshoe Premium Member (also known as an "IRREGULAR").
    • This user regularly writes articles for Stock Gumshoe. They may or may not be the author of the current article.
    • This user's comments have been "liked” by at least a few members of the Stock Gumshoe community.
    • This user has commented widely, with input that has been liked enough to earn a two-thumbs-up rating from other readers.
    • This is the highest rating a user can get. They are among the most respected commentors of our community.