Million Dollar Portfolio

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Investment Performance

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Rating: 2.9/5. From 11 votes.
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Quality Of Writing/Analysis

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Rating: 3.6/5. From 9 votes.
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Value For Price

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Customer Service

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Rating: 3.2/5. From 9 votes.
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19 Comments
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Duane Strickland
Duane Strickland
January 28, 2009 9:36 am

The goal of the Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio is to outperform the S&P500 by 15% per year. MDP started with One Million Dollars and have invested most of the money already. They advertise to subscribers what they are buying, what percentage of the portfolio they will use and announce that they will buy between 3 and 30 days. The subscriber should mimic their moves to get the same results. They are currently close to the results of the S&P500. I joined in October 2008 when they had already lost around 30%. I purchased most of their recommendations (a couple of the stocks I already owned from another service MF has) and am currently losing 28% (not counting 2 positions I have closed already with comparable losses). They seem to be reluctant to sell any stocks. Out of 22 different stocks that I purchased only 1 is currently gaining by about 7%. My losers are down as much as 82%. There are several financial stocks involved. The service is expensive and I have no confidence in it, therefore I cancelled it last week.

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Lucca 27
Guest
Lucca 27
January 31, 2009 10:33 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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L.L
L.L
February 25, 2009 7:57 pm

This was by far the worst of the MF publications I subscribed to. The premise sounded very promising, taking the best from all their newsletters, but proved to be a resounding dud. And an expensive one, too. I got out after 6 months with nothing to show for it. They charged $ 500. I do wish I had researched subscribers’ feedback before I committed to any of the newsletters and I am grateful for having found this web site.

Michael
Irregular
Michael
June 12, 2009 5:04 pm

I joined this service when it first started around November 2007, just as the market was peaking. The million dollars that they started with is now down to $664,000, which is about 5% better than the S&P 500 did during the same period. However, this is factoring in dividends.

I really like the Fools, their letters are optimistic and informative, but if this is their best of the best service, I am not impressed. Only one of the stocks that I purchased based on their recommendations made any money and most of the others I purchased dropped 30-90%. Factoring in the $1,000 a year subscription and stock buy and sell transaction fees, I would have been much better off just buying an S&P 500 index fund or a few diversified high dividend paying stocks.

I suspect that they will significantly outperform the S&P 500 when the economy recovers and we are definitely into a bear market. As for me, I will not be renewing my expensive subscription when I can throw darts darts just as well they do.

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Not seeing honesty
Guest
Not seeing honesty
June 19, 2009 12:58 pm

I subscribed when the MDP started and kept with it for a full year. I had in the past tried out other Fool newsletters. This one was supposed to give you the best of all of their other newsletters combined.

I wish I could like and trust the Motley Fool. In reality I’d be fooling myself if I agreed that the emperor was wearing clothes. As someone else pointed out, their articles are often directly contradictory and vague. “It could be this way” or “it could be that way” – clever and sarcastic in style at times.

The proof is in the pudding… and both myself and my son had sub-optimal experiences with Fool recommendations. I was trying to convince my son of the wiseness of doing DCA monthly instead of leaving his money earning pennies in the bank. I told him he could trust the Motley Fool and to study it and choose some of their picks. Not only did my “ok he’s young and naive” son have very high losses – but the Fool’s Million Dollars isn’t a Million Dollars anymore. In fact it never got above a million once.

Pretty soon after they were suffering the terrible losses they started trying to get all of us to join Pro instead. Going directly against their professed buy and hold strategy – they wanted us to pay a lot more to get sure-fire returns by doing market timing which they have always preached against. I think desparate to win instead of lose, they couldn’t stand to see those shorts / options opportunities going buy. It was the only way out of their embarrassment and failure.

But once again while they have always professed to be advising the little guy… they are really only aiming for the fatcats…. what small investor would they advise to take $1500 or $2000 out of their portfolio and spend it annually on a newsletter???? They are always explaining how various fees would eat up your profits…. where is their honesty in explaining what their newsletter costs do to your profits?

And… now a lame message if you try to enter the MDP website… “due to overwhelming demand” there will be no more subscriptions allowed. Pretty much the height of dishonesty there. So we can all stop pretending that fool.com is a friend of the consumer. How about a message like “due to how poorly the MDP has performed – not really up to our standards… god a bear market sucks! – we aren’t letting anyone look at it! In fact we are refunding everyone who paid, giving them a credit toward any other fool products they want.”

That would be honest.

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J-son
Guest
J-son
December 13, 2009 8:32 am

I had subscribed between Dec 1, 2007 and Jan/Feb 2008. Surely few predicted the chaos of the markets during these times, but I can say that the Fool’s picks: CSE, AIB, LM, CX, among others are the worst performing members of my portfolio and have hemorraged value @ at a rate of roughly 2-3x what the S&P will bear.

While I am not sure that they are still holding MDP events with companies they intend to add to the portfolio, it seems prescient that their first conference was with Eugene Sheehy @AIB in Ireland. And from the numerous articles/posts that followed, whatever snake oil he was selling, they bought it by truckload. Unfortunately, so did I….

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Jon W
Guest
Jon W
December 15, 2009 8:41 am

What a waste of money for this subscription to MDP. All hype to deliver little better than S&P returns since inception. Joined at the start and glad I only tracked the suggested portfolio and never invested real dollars. Granted 2008 was a tough year, but I did much better on my own with mutual funds. Save your money and buy a dart board you couldn’t do much worse. Of course I could always buy additional services from MF which seems to be offered on a regular basis. A little honesty would be nice!

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Mark P
Guest
Mark P
February 22, 2010 2:38 pm

I subscribed when the service started as many of the previous reviewrs did. It was a trainwreck from day one. Granted the market was entering a bear market at the time, the simple fact that the MF had no clue as to the risks in the number of retail and financial service companies that the recommended was very poor. They totally missed the boat on a number of occasions and when I cancelled after the first year the only stock I had any appreciable gains on was BWLD. Even with the market tumbling they continued to buy rather than holding cash and seeing what would shake out. The fact that they used no stop loss or downside protection pretty much goes against what they preach and a number of their picks are still down 50% + even after the recovery of the past year.

In addition they continue to peddle additonal products that as one reviewer noted go against everything the MF preaches.

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