Global Gains

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Lucca 27
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Lucca 27
January 31, 2009 10:36 am

I subscribe to PRO, Stock Advisor, Million Dollar Portfolio, Global Gains, Hidden Gems and Rule Breakers and will post this review on all the sites. In general I found the letters useful for ideas in an up market, but not terribly helpful in our current down market. I found some excellent companies like DWSN, EDU & CTRP that I would not otherwise have looked at. Sell recommendations usually come too late and analysts tend to fall in love with stocks and catch “falling knives”. For example the repeated recommendations of Select Comfort, Irwin Financial, First Marblehead all the way down and then the final sell recommendation at much lower prices that had been recommended a few months earlier. There seems to be a reluctance to say do nothing and wait. Recent recommendation after recommendation is substantially under water.

In general Fool is an excellent source of information on a wide variety of financial subjects and the authors seem to be competent and professional. “The Boards” can be a useful source of information and opinion, however slogging through them is tedious because there are a lot of junk postings wherein people tell the reader what they are buying (not why) and criticizing other posters, a situation that breaks into a brushfire that overwhelms a posting site for a day or two.

Unfortunately the web sites for each of the portfolios, while consistent on a stand alone basis, are a total mess when one subscribes to several newsletters. Each letter ranks performance differently. No letter as far as I can ascertain includes dividends in calculation returns, a substantial flaw in assessing the performance of a stock.

The “cafertia” approach of the newsletters is also annoying – the same stock may be recommended in two different newsletters and checking the boards requires going to three different boards to get updates. The non-subscriber board and then each of the two different subscriber boards.

All in all I do not believe that the price of any individual newsletter, each of which is a niche letter, is worth it unless one is a substantial investor, as am I, although far less substantial than a year ago. I am not going to renew any of my newsletters, except PRO which I like because it discusses options.

All in all Fool is pretty good, but it presents a conundrum. The service is intended to educate unsophisticated investors, at which it does a good job, but it is so expensive as a percentage of assets that unless a subscriber has several hundred thousand of dollars to invest they would do better in a basket of index funds. I would recommend that a new investor without a substantial portfolio subscribe to one of the services for a year or two to get some education and then go on to one of the many free sites that provide all sorts of ideas and their own boards.

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david
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david
July 10, 2010 7:55 pm

The Global gains picks have really only had one period where they were successful and that was the first half of 2009. Every other pick going back to 2006 has underperformed the MSCI EAFE. The vast (%80?) majority of those have lost value (avg 20-40%).
To their credit, this information is available to members. The percentages above are estimates, but I can tell you if you look at the performance of their recommendations its pathetic.

Otherwise, its not such a bad service. I mean I have learned some things (some the hard way). Also, they will give you a refund if you request it. I quit motley fool options and got almost a full refund.

Despite my negative opinion, I haven’t dropped my subscription and don’t plan to (may renew). Fortunately for me I passed on most of their picks, some I picked up later at significantly lower price. I’ve also bought some of their picks which they already sold and have made money on them as well.

If you were really interested in joining, I would advise to not jump right in and buy anything they recommend without first doing some of your own research (which can be hard with some of their picks). If it doesn’t seem like a good pick, then skip it, based on past performance (going back to 2006!) it most likely is a loser.

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Ed
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Ed
October 24, 2010 9:32 am

I subscribe to all of Motley Fool services. As usual some Advisors are right on the money and some are less. In total the service has one unique trait: they have forums for every stock and you can interact with the Advisor who reccomended it. I do not expect 100% accuracy and do not think it is possible to reach, even Buffet made some major mistakes. I have made several 300% gains from 2006 to 2010 and my port is Up. Very large (relatively for a newsletter) advisory and support team help them keep watch over the picks which us unusual also.

high integrity, they are not traders and do not attempt to time the market.

I enjoy the service which keeps evolving pretty quickly.

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