Motley Fool One

Motley Fool One
4.33 (86.67%) 21 votes

If you’ve found this page looking for more information about the Motley Fool One service, you are in the right place.

I’m a Motley Fool One member myself and I’ve devoted extensive coverage to the service in earlier posts, but Motley Fool One has evolved so much over the years that a lot of information quickly gets outdated. So rather than having to search through all my posts, I’m going to maintain this page such that it will always have the most up to date information on Motley Fool One. I’ll link to related articles with more detail, as appropriate.

To see all my Motley Fool One coverage, you can always go here.

Page last updated on 3/31/15.

What is Motley Fool One?

Motley Fool One is the premium investment service from the Motley Fool, run by their CEO, Tom Gardner. It evolved from Duke Street, which was the Motley Fool’s first premium, all-access service. Since then it has greatly expanded its offerings, as described in more detail below.

What is Motley Fool One Classic?

In March of 2015, the Motley Fool began offering a variant of the Motley Fool One service, called Motley Fool One Classic. The Classic version basically offers all the features of Motley Fool One minus the relatively new wealth management features, including their popular SMA’s. The pricing for the Motley Fool One Classic service is lower than the full service.

Motley Fool One: The Marketing

A quick note on the marketing of Motley Fool One. I’ve never been a big fan of most Motley Fool marketing (see one of my most popular posts Is Motley Fool A Scam?), and the marketing for Motley Fool One is no exception.

It starts with an invitation to “apply” and a survey to determine whether you will “qualify” and whether you are the type of investor they are “looking for”. I’ve asked their customer service in the past what the actual qualifications are, and ultimately it’s more about a limited number of openings in any one enrollment period.

Most of the marketing centers around their Motley Fool One Lobby, which you gain access to once you give them your email, and take their short survey. The Lobby contains a number of promotional videos and a Q&A section. The Lobby itself has really been upgraded since the original, in line with the overall technical and interface upgrades that many of the Motley Fool premium services have received over the last few months.

Once the enrollment opens, you’ll receive an over the top, very lengthy sales pitch (11,000 words in the past) with the prices. Try not get too turned off by the car salesman-like pitch, nor too dazzled by their promises and marketing spin. I’m a Motley Fool member, not because of their marketing, but despite it.

Motley Fool One Cost and Subscription Terms

For at least the last 2 years, Motley Fool One has opened for enrollment twice a year, usually in March (but most recently in late January) and September.

The prices have gone up each time enrollment opens, but along with those increases have come substantial expansion of their offerings. They typically offer subscription terms from 1 to 5 years, with longer subscriptions offering lower annual rates. They sometimes also offer an early subscription discount ($1000 historically).

And in the past they have also offered a full one year money back guarantee. This is extremely generous and if you were to sign-up for a 1 year membership, you could theoretically use the service for a year for free.

Here are the most recent prices offered, along with the historical ones as well.

March 2015 Motley Fool One Classic Prices

  • 1 year membership: $4,999
  • 3 year membership: $9,999 ($3,333/year)
  • 5 year membership: $11,999 ($2,399/year)

March 2015 Motley Fool One Prices

  • 5 year membership: $17,499 ($3,450/year)
    • (As part of an upgrade offer during their March 2015 opening of Motley Fool One Classic)

Historical Motley Fool One Prices

February 2015

  • 1 year membership: $7,999
  • 2 year membership: $12,999 ($6,500/year)
  • 3 year membership: $15,999 ($5,333/year)
  • 5 year membership: $17,999 ($3,600/year)

September 2014

  • 1 year membership: $7,599
  • 2 year membership: $9,599 ($4800/year)
  • 3 year membership: $11,599 ($3866/year)
  • 5 year membership: $13,599 ($2720/year)

March 2014

  • 1 year membership: $7,999/year
  • 2 year membership: $12,999 ($6,500/year)
  • 3 year membership: $15,999 ($5,333/year)
  • 5 year membership: $17,999 ($3,600/year)

October 2013

  • 1 yr subscription: $7,499
  • 2 year membership: (unknown)
  • 3 year membership: (unknown)
  • 5 yr subscription: $14,499 ($2,900 per year)

March 2013

  • 1 yr subscription: $7,499
  • 2 yr subscription: $9,499 ($4,750 per year)
  • 3 yr subscription: $10,499 ($3,500 per year)
  • 5 yr subscription: $12,499 ($2,500 per year)

Motley Fool One Features

Everlasting Portfolio

The Everlasting Portfolio is the centerpiece of Motley Fool One.

It is Tom Gardner’s portfolio of stocks that he intends to hold for the “ultra-long term”. They invest $100,000 each quarter in 5 stocks equally, using Motley Fool funds (up to $400K). Tom Gardner also invests his personal money in these same stocks (apparently he owns no stocks besides the one in the portfolio), and has committed that these will be the only stocks he will ever own, and pledges to hold all stocks for at least 5 years.

They provide regular updates and coverage on the stocks in the Everlasting Portfolio, but because of the buy and hold, long-term nature of the portfolio, there is not any real portfolio management being done, other than the quarterly purchases.

You can track the performance of the Everlasting Portfolio with my monthly Motley Fool performance updates.

In 2015, they also introduced Everlasting Options which brings 3-6 option trade ideas each quarter. These options are not part of the actual Everlasting portfolio; they are supplemental trade ideas focused on simpler options trading strategies.

They also have a feature called Everlasting Raves, which are in depth analysis and discussion of each of the companies in the Everlasting Portfolio, which reflect the team’s latest thinking on each of those stocks. They evaluate each company on culture, strategy, financials, valuation and risk, and provide an overall number ranking.

All Access Pass

As part of Motley Fool One, members can access every service Motley Fool offers. This to me has always been, and still is, the key selling point of Motley Fool One. You get full access to each and every newsletter, research report, interview, and trade recommendation that Motley Fool offers.

You are also guaranteed access to any new service or offering that the Motley Fool introduces during your membership, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on anything once you sign up.

Being the investing junkie that I am, I have made full use of this unfettered access, and have been exposed to investment ideas and strategies I wouldn’t necessarily have considered otherwise. And since some investment recommendations overlap across multiple services, you get the benefit of extended coverage and multiple viewpoints of those recommendations.

The volume of content and updates can be overwhelming but they offer some customization options that allow you to filter what information you receive.

CIO’s Top Recommendations

The CIO Report, or Top Recommendations, is a monthly feature where the Motley Fool One team ranks the best investment recommendations across all the individual Motley Fool services. They come up with a Top 10 list determined via a formula based on the recency of the pick as well as how many services have recommended it.

If you aren’t following the other services, this tool allows you to get exposure to their recommendations, but it does beg the question how these recommendations are meant to be used in conjunction with the Everlasting Portfolio. The party line is that these are just additional recommendations for those who are interested.

Separately Managed Accounts (SMAs)

In March of 2014, the Motley Fool introduced Separately Managed Accounts (SMA). It is a ground-breaking change to their service in my opinion. Along with Motley Fool Touchstone, and Ayco Financial Planning, SMA’s are part of their newest Wealth Management features.

From their FAQ:

“SMA stands for separately managed account. An SMA is a private portfolio of actively managed, individual securities. But unlike a mutual fund, investors can easily — and closely — monitor their own portfolio’s progress and evaluate their individual securities and asset allocations.”

Customers have a choice to open up an SMA that is “inspired” by one of the Motley Fool portfolios (Million Dollar Portfolio, Pro, Supernova or Everlasting Portfolio) or one of the following strategy SMAs: U.S. Small Cap & Mid Cap , International, or Fixed Income. The key word there is “inspired”. When SMA’s were originally introduced, they were exact replicas of the portfolios in terms of investments and percentage allocations. In other words, every trade executed by the newsletter was mirrored by the SMA. However, as of September 2014, they no longer follow that strict mirroring. The SMA’s merely follow the philosophy of the portfolio, and are not required to invest in all the newsletter picks, nor are they limited to just the stocks (or options, etc.) that the newsletter picks. The strategy SMA’s are based on what the advisor for the SMA chooses to invest in.

So basically, you open up an Interactive Brokers account, transfer in money and/or existing equities, choose one or more of the SMA types to follow, and they will execute all trades on your behalf. Other than standard trade commissions, there are no additional fees beyond the Motley Fool One membership. Only equities that are part of those services can he held in the account.

The following account minimums are required to open the SMA’s that are “inspired” by the Motley Fool portfolios:

  • Everlasting Portfolio: $35,000
  • Million Dollar Portfolio: $45,000
  • Pro: $300,000
  • Supernova: $25,000

Motley Fool Touchstone

Motley Fool Touchstone, part of the Motley Fool One Wealth Management offering, is a centralized portal where you can link all your accounts (brokerage accounts, 401ks, bank accounts, etc.). After answering some basic questions an algorithm will generate a personalized Investment Plan. That plan calculates a target portfolio allocation across Equities, Bonds and Cash, and also across Growth/Value dimensions. It then will make investment recommendations, using actual Motley Fool stock recommendations. It also makes Sell recommendations to guide you towards the target allocation

It is an ambitious feature and early iterations had a number of technical problems. A number of those issues have since been addressed, but I still find the tool to be of very limited usefulness and have largely ignored it.

See these posts for more detailed coverage:

Ayco Financial Planning

As a member of Motley Fool One, you get access to Ayco Financial Planning services. Ayco Financial Advisors are available via the phone and provide generalized financial advice on things like estate planning.

I’ve heard generally good reviews of the Ayco advisors, but have never had a real reason to use the service myself.

Additional coverage can be found here:

Other Content and Features

Motley Fool One offers a lot of additional multimedia content beyond what was described above. This includes a number of interviews with CEO’s and business leaders, and podcasts that offer coverage on specific topics or companies.

They also hold Motley Fool One member events, which members can attend in person, but they are also recorded and available for viewing after the fact. These events include opportunities to meet the Motley Fool advisors and staff, as well as a number of investing related sessions.

There is also at least one Motley Fool One event each year that has a social aspect to it. Last year, they went to a minor league baseball game in Minnesota, for example.

The amount of the multimedia content can be difficult to keep up with, but generally offers an exceptional level of relevant coverage, delivered in a user-friendly, lightly entertaining way.

There is also a Motley Fool One member forum (in addition to the member forums for the other individual services). These Motley Fool One community is very active and helpful, and so are the advisors, so these boards can be an invaluable source for even more investing education and insights.

For additional details on any of the above service offerings, you might try some of my prior posts:

One Year Review

Is Motley Fool One Worth It?

Motley Fool One is an expensive service that offers a lot, but if you are considering signing up for the service, this is the question you ultimately need to answer.

I dedicated an entire post to answering that question so definitely read the full analysis here.

But ultimately Motley Fool One is best suited for investors with 1) A large portfolio to make it cost-effective, 2) at least five hours a week to spend on keeping up with the content, and 3) a fan of the unique Motley Fool culture and approach to investing.

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Leave a Comment

{ 6 comments }

  • Greg Damery February 20, 2015, 5:55 pm

    I guess I don’t quite understand the organization of your Performance Insights. If I were interested in evaluating the Motley Fool Everlasting Portfolio, then which of your offerings would I choose to get this information?
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Kevin February 20, 2015, 8:29 pm

      Greg, the Performance Insights are only available for Stock Advisor, Rule Breakers, Hidden Gems, Inside Value, and Income Investor. So it wouldn’t be applicable to Everlasting Portfolio.

      Reply
  • Lyd July 22, 2015, 5:27 pm

    I subscribed to Motley Fool One SMA in March 2014 BIG MISTAKE The
    was individual who handled the account should be fired. Unbeknowst to me there was a lot of shorting done even though I had specified no shorting
    at the time I had subscribed. I quit in Feb 2015, and I am still trying to cover the shorts. Lots of losing questionable stock picks. I would not recommend Motley Fool to anyone. The only good thing was a prompt
    refund in line with the guarantee.

    Reply
  • Craig July 31, 2016, 10:31 am

    Hi Kevin,

    I’m glad to have found your material; starting with your review of Motley Fool Options from March 22, 2013. The “sales material” a person gets from MF about joining MF Options is compelling, but I don’t have, nor want to take, the time to be as involved in precisely “staying on top of the process” as it appears to require. I wonder if there is any service that you are aware of, including MF itself, whereby an investor employs a brokerage company to execute options trading for him/her; an “options investing management service,” so to speak. I’d rather pay a professional ( a trustworthy and skilled one, that is!) to play the options game for me. And I’d be more than willing to pay a percentage of gains to that professional/firm for creating those gains; against a baseline “management fee,” as is customary in the financial advisory industry. Any suggestions? Thanks for your well-written coverage of various aspects of the MF business model.

    Reply
    • Kevin July 31, 2016, 8:37 pm

      Craig – thanks, glad you have found some value here. I’m not aware of any services per se that execute exclusively options strategies on your behalf. If you hired a financial advisor, I guess you could specify options only strategies, but I don’t think many would be well versed in that, as they are trained to offer asset allocation services more so than derivatives strategies.

      Reply
    • Kevin July 31, 2016, 8:47 pm

      Craig – I should have added that Motley Fool Wealth offers a Pro SMA that does include some options trading. Those accounts are managed on your behalf, but it’s not just options.

      Reply