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Motley Fool vs Stansberry Research – Which is Better?

June 15, 2023 by Phil

In this article, we present a head-to-head battle: Motley Fool vs. Stansberry Research.

Our review will help you determine which of these two would fit your approach to investing. Although the two are investment research companies, their style couldn't be more different.

Motley Fool does not take itself too seriously, while Stansberry seems more serious and academic. The former is more mainstream and traditional. Meanwhile the latter employs a contrarian approach to investing.

Also, Motley Fool is a more prominent brand with a presence in different regions of the world. Stansberry is a smaller firm, but it has ties to the wide-reaching network of The Agora.

If you want to know the extent of The Agora's influence in the industry, check out The Agora – Scam Company or Legit?

Of course, there are numerous similarities as well. After all, they are in the same line of business, targeting retail investors.

As we discuss the similarities and differences between the two, we hope you'll learn more about them. Aside from that, we want you to discover more about your investing style as well.

Green Bull Research has deep knowledge of these two firms. 

In fact, we have written articles on their various offers. You can read about our write-up on Motley Fool’s “10X Turnaround” or “10X Sweet Spot” teasers from our archives.

We even reviewed Shared Advisor from Motley Fool Australia, one of the overseas offices of the company. To go deeper, Green Bull Research also wrote: Is The Motley Fool Liberal or Conservative?

Meanwhile, we also have an exposé on Stansberry's "#1 Gold Play for 2023." Our website has also already reviewed the company's Crypto Capital so our readers can find out if it's worth subscribing to.

Let's begin exploring more details about Motley Fool and Stansberry Research.


  • Name: Motley Fool | Stansberry Research
  • Founders: Tom & David Gardner | Frank Porter Stansberry
  • Website: www.fool.com | www.stansberryresearch.com 
  • Service: Investment research newsletters

In this face-off, we have Motley Fool and Stansberry Research. Both offer free and paid subscription-based financial research services. 

According to Motley Fool, its investing philosophy focuses on long-term investments. Its recommendations are based on a company's fundamentals rather than "stocks' short-term price changes."

Meanwhile, Stansberry says it's committed to "risk management and a contrarian approach to identifying investment opportunities." Those familiar with its services know that it recommends "unloved, ignored, or unknown stocks."

Founders Tom and David Gardner remain active in Motley Fool. Both hold the top positions in the firm today since starting the company in 1993.

As for Stansberry, its founder, Frank Porter Stansberry, seems to have entrusted the company to his team. Brett Aitken serves as Publisher, while Matt Weinschenk is the Director of Research.

The two investment advisory firms are accessible online. Both websites are user-friendly. Any reader will quickly find ample information about their services.

They also reflect different feels. Motley Fool is more playful in its presentation, while Stansberry has a more corporate feel.

Company Profiles 

Big Picture

According to its website, The Motley Fool got its branding from the play "As You Like It" by William Shakespeare.

The court jester, often known as the Fool, was able to confront the king and queen with the truth. He was among the few who could do that without risking having his head chopped off.

Apparently, the "fools" of old provided the court with comedy that both delighted and instructed. More significantly, they never shied away from challenging common knowledge.

It is in this vein that Motley Fool exists. They say their mission is to "speak the truth about money and investing." It aims to make financial advice available to people from all walks of life.

Aside from investment research advisory, Motley Fool LLC has five other affiliates:

  • Asset Management
  • Wealth Management
  • Motley Fool Ventures
  • Lakehouse Capital
  • 1623 Capital

Overall, it has offices in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Canada.

Meanwhile, Stansberry Research says two basic tenets serve as the company's foundation.

The first one is that it provides customers with information they would want if the tables were turned.

Second, the firm claims only to publish the works of analysts whose recommendations they'd want to use for their own families.

Early on, you see how they present themselves. Though not necessarily opposites, the two project different images.


Regarding their investing framework, both are transparent enough to detail everything on their website.

As per Motley Fool, its method of investing emphasizes the long-term. The company says it puts a premium on the importance of purchasing and keeping quality stocks for extended periods.

Further, Motley Fool says its mission is to improve the world's intelligence, well-being, and wealth. This is a huge undertaking.

But it says the team currently assists millions of people around the globe in achieving their financial objectives. For the firm, the best way to build wealth is to invest in successful companies over the long term. 

Like Stansberry, Motley Fool says it upholds the "Golden Rule" of treating others how they would like to be treated in all aspects. 

Now for Stansberry Research, the company says it supports presenting a variety of viewpoints.

Accordingly, its analysts have their unique investment philosophies and techniques. As a result, they say they do not advocate for a solitary, comprehensive view of the markets.

However, it does say that it generally has a contrarian approach.

Moreover, it says it also favors a long-term strategy to develop enduring relationships with its clients. 

The other values Stansberry Research says it espouses are transparency, accountability, and excellent customer service.

As proof, the firm allows public evaluations of its recommendations. In addition, track records of newsletters are also available to readers.

Similarities, Differences

Both Motley Fool and Stansberry favor long-term investments over shorter ones. Their sites even give detailed narratives of what this means for their subscribers.

Another similarity is how they say they treat their customers with respect. Basically, both say they regard subscribers the way they want to be treated if the roles are reversed. 

As mentioned, Motley Fool leans on the traditional inclinations of investments. Stansberry, meanwhile, employs a more risky contrarian approach in its recommendations.

Regarding image, the former seems like a buddy you'd want to grab a beer with. The latter, however, establishes its credibility the way your professor would on your first day of class.

Leadership Teams 

According to its website, Tom and David Gardner, two brothers from Alexandria, Virginia, started The Motley Fool in 1993 as a conventional print newsletter in a backyard shed.

Its profile also said that The Motley Fool gained notoriety in 1994 thanks to an April Fool's joke intended to provide a valuable lesson about investment.

Both seemed to be accomplished students.

Tom attended Brown University and the University of Montana for his graduate work in geography and languages. Meanwhile, David earned his degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Also, the brothers claim that the best evidence of their brilliance is that they frequently outperformed Standard & Poor's Market Index. They beat the market by 40 percent in the first year.

According to them, their service was groundbreaking because it shifted the balance of power away from wealthy investors and brokers.

The Gardners claim that they put the focus on "the little guy," who had never before had easy access to investing information.

What about Stansberry?

Though suspiciously absent in any writeup on the website, Stansberry Research's founder is Frank Porter Stansberry.

Based on available information, he started the business in 1999. Back then, Stansberry's Investment Advisory served as the company's main magazine.

Additionally, it appears that he was a well-known financial radio broadcaster. People frequently listened to the Stansberry Investor Hour, which was broadcast weekly.

Additionally, he was also the first American editor of Fleet Street Letter. This is significant since it is the first English-language financial bulletin ever published.

According to his profile, his advice has become one of the most regularly used worldwide. It also says that accurate projections are to "blame" for this.

The End of America, a 2011 web video in which the founder foretold the US's coming demise, was also created by the Stansberry.

Upon further research, we discovered that Porter Stansberry now has a new investment research company. This development makes things more intriguing, doesn't it? But, yes, he did start Porter & Co. in 2022.

We wrote an article about his teaser on the secret energy grid. Apparently, it's supposed to meet "100% of our future energy needs." Read our energy company exposé to know more about it through our discussion. 

As for Stansberry Research, the person it features prominently now is Brett Aitken. Based on his profile, he has worked with top corporate leaders on three continents over the past 25 years.

Also, he previously co-founded a company that employed 100 individuals for debt collecting. Aitken's clients included big banks, government agencies, and blue-chip companies all over Australia.

According to his website, he is an expert in international commerce. 

Regarding leadership teams, both seem to have a group of experienced editors and analysts. 

However, it's suspicious why Frank Porter Stansberry did not even merit a mention on its website. As we dug deeper into the issue, this article on the supposed Stansberry scam could be a reason.

Of course, we are speculating here. But the issues in the article directly mentioned its founder as a key participant in a fraudulent claim.

If you read the write-up explaining the alleged Stansberry scam, you would know there is much more to unpack. But we will talk more about those in the following sections.


These are some of Motley Fool's banner services.

  • Stock Advisor
  • Rule Breakers
  • Rule Your Retirement
  • The Ascent

In its 30 services, specializations include Options, 5G, AI, Real Estate, Augmented Reality, and IPOs.

If you scan through Motley Fool's services, there are varied ways of availing. Some have annual subscriptions, and for others, you can pay for them per report.

There's also an option to avail of the all-access pass. The price is steep though: $13,999 per year.

As subscribers scan which services to get, a prominent line on top of the site serves as a guide for readers.

We recommend investors buy 25 stocks and hold them for at least 5 years.

As for Stansberry Research, its services are grouped into macro-level services, specialized investment research, and free resources. 

Macro-level services range from conservative to moderate investments. Among these are:

  • Stansberry's Investment Advisory
  • True Wealth, and
  • Retirement Millionaire.

Meanwhile, the second group has speculative and very speculative ventures for subscribers. Included in this list are:

  • Stansberry Venture Value
  • Retirement Trader, and
  • True Wealth Systems.

There are also portfolios and bundled memberships with different services. Subscribers can choose which combinations would benefit them the most based on their investing style.

Both companies have a wide array of free and paid subscriptions, which is great for readers.

Although Stansberry leans more into contrarian investing, each service has a very conservative to very speculative safety indicator, a neat feature.

Track Record, Issues, & Reviews

Stansberry vs TINA.org

We will start with the biggest controversy here, which Stansberry Research faced.

An organization called Truth in Advertising investigated the company because of reports it has been receiving. Apparently, the organization and its founder, Michael Vlock, are staunch advocates of honest marketing.

Based on its research, TINA.org found that Stansberry & Associates (the former name) used deceptive testimonials. The group said these were front and center in their ads for their newsletters.

For this reason, the advocacy group wrote a letter to Stansberry to remove misleading claims. Stansberry must also disclose the risks involved so subscribers would be made aware.

If the company does not comply, TINA.org will file complaints with the SEC, FTC, and Maryland Attorney General.

According to the watchdog, testimonials did not include information relevant to potential subscribers. The advertised investment results were also deemed "atypical." 

Moreover, when they studied the testimonials, the quotes were suspiciously similar in content and results. There was also patently false and misleading information in its promotions.

They also presented past pitches, screenshots, and videos to further boost their claims. TINA.org was serious about its job of protecting consumers.

In our Stansberry Research review, we also lifted these testimonials from the evidence:

"I made over $13,000 in January 2012 and about $75,000 last year with the help of this strategy." - Bill C.
"My favorite service is Retirement Trader. I am averaging over $10,000 per month since I started in November 2011.” - Aaron G.
"I've only been doing this for eight months and have already found over 160 ounces of silver bullion." - John C., Partham, M.A.
“I have been following Dr. Sjuggerud’s investments for several years. Only wish I had known him early in my life. My $600,000.00 is now worth well over $1,000,000.00. I think that I am almost ready to retire." - Clyde Lafond

After a series of exchanges, good sense prevailed upon Stansberry. They coordinated with TINA.org and told them the company had made the necessary adjustments.

Stansberry vs. SEC

As for Frank Porter Stansberry, there's another case in which he was directly involved.

The SEC filed a case against him in 2003. Included in the complaints is The Agora, the company which publishes his Pirate Investor LLC. If you read our article on The Agora, you'd know it is controversial.

Based on the complaint, the violations happened on May 14, 2022. Stansberry, through Pirate Investor, sent unsolicited emails to The Agora subscribers.

The email said that Stansberry had critical inside information. It was supposedly about an unnamed company getting a lucrative government contract.

Those in the know were supposed to get sky-high returns because of the deal. The group vouched for the legitimacy of the information. According to them, a company official confirmed the details to them.

All that readers need to know was pay the $1,000 amount to get the special report. According to the complaint, 1000 subscribers took the bait. As a result, The Agora got one million dollars.

So what happened? 

Nothing happened on the day of the supposed deal. Apparently, everything was untrue. It seemed like it was just a marketing tactic to get subscribers.

In 2007, the court made a decision on the Stansberry case. Baltimore U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis ordered Pirate Investor LLC and Frank Porter Stansberry to pay $1.5 million.

According to the court, this amount serves as restitution and civil penalties. It found that the respondents disseminated false stock information. Moreover, it defrauded public investors through its financial newsletter.

Moreover, as per Judge Garbis:

Stansberry's conduct undoubtedly involved deliberate fraud, making statements [about a stock] that he knew to be false.
Pirate acted in reckless disregard for regulations when it published Stansberry's unbelievable claims without a shred of confirmation.
The violation plainly involved the risk of substantial loss to those who bought the Special Report and relied upon Stansberry's false statements in their stock purchase decisions.

Maybe this is why the current Stansberry Research seems to disown its founder? What do you think?

In fairness to the new company, these are past issues. If they have already adjusted their strategies, they could regain public trust.

As mentioned, it does seem to conduct itself more professionally today.

Subscriber feedback

Stansberry Research

The company has a 1.8 out of 5 rating from Trustpilot. Obviously, people were not satisfied with the service. According to them, the services are not worth paying.

One reviewer said the reports are "simply copy and paste with a new ticker and some different data." If true, this is indeed a huge turn-off for subscribers. 

Another comment we found was harsh as well:

There is absolutely no meaningful insight to be found anywhere in their "content."

Apart from that, some comments complained about "fraudulent credit card charges." There were also those who complained about the number of spam emails they received from Stansberry.

In fairness, there was one positive feedback on Trustpilot.

As for the individual newsletters, Stansberry Innovations Report currently has a 2.7/5 rating from 40 votes on Stock Gumshoe.

Some comments from subscribers include these:

The reports are full of information, maybe even too much detail. His recent picks as of early May have done great! At $49 it s a great bargain!
Stansberry newsletters are only advertisements for more $$$.
Never made a dime on these stale picks!

Meanwhile, Stansberry Venture Value has a 2.1/5 rating from 23 people.

Two other services have received higher marks from subscribers. Investment Advisory and True Wealth got 3.8/5 (from 476 votes) and 4/5 stars (651 votes), respectively. 

Motley Fool

This investment research provider did not fare well in Trustpilot, either. As of publishing, it has a 1.5/5 rating. Some comments we found the quality wanting. People also did not appreciate spam emails.

Awful investment advice seemingly given by student interns. They ask you to hold for a minimum 5 years so you won't realize how poor their service is.
Every recommendation I’ve taken from them proved to be bad advice, and I always lost money on those trades.
Many writers lie, and none of the articles are fact-checked or even referenced properly. Many times do they misconstrue wording from other news sources.

There are also positive comments, though.

As for Stock Gumshoe, there are three services with reviews on the website. 

About 500 subscribers gave Motley Fool Rule Breakers an average rating of 3.7/5 stars. The commenters gave mixed reviews on the service.

Some subscribers were not satisfied with the service. User dandepriest says only those with more than $10,000 to invest would benefit from the recommendations.

According to rob007, the issues always arrived late, so they weren't useful. For the picks the user followed, most lost money or did not yield much.

However, for greenfire67, there have been many great ideas and write-ups in Rule Breakers. But it will only work well if you also research based on the subscriber's experience.

The weird thing is that the other newsletters on Stock Gumshoe also received 3.7/5 stars by the time we publish this. 

The rating for Motley Fool One was from 108 votes, while the one for Stock Advisor came from 1198 subscribers.

As always, we encourage you to look at the big picture when you read reviews. Not everyone gives their comments online. This means that we only see a small fraction of subscribers' experiences.

The purpose of why we are showing you these is to give you leads on your research. Ultimately, deciding between the two is all up to you based on your preferences.

Pros v Cons


Motley Fool

  • It is suitable for those who want an investment guide that's not too intimidating. The website is also modern, responsive, and user-friendly.
  • Motley Fool boasts investing wisdom from the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia.
  • Investors who want more mainstream types of investments will be comfortable with the company's recommendations.

Stansberry Research

  • Potential subscribers can see early on the risk profile of each service, from very conservative to very speculative. 
  • Readers get detailed descriptions of the services so they will know what they're getting into.


Motley Fool

  • Most of the services are pricy and not within reach of most individual investors.
  • Some feedback points out that some content is generic and not as insightful as other newsletters.

Stansberry Research

  • The company has its share of past controversies and court cases.
  • Although there are more conservative services, the company as a whole is contrarian, which can be riskier for subscribers.

Conclusion - Which is Better for You?

As mentioned, this article on Motley Fool vs. Stansberry Research compares and contrasts the two. We aim to help you decide which is a better fit for you.

Both provide various types of investment research advisory. However, each will appeal to different kinds of investors.

Despite its out-of-the-box branding, Motley Fool is actually more traditional when it comes to investing. Meanwhile, Stansberry Research presents a more serious, contrarian approach.

In the article above, we gave you a glimpse of who runs the show on these two. Knowing about the company's leaders is critical, especially if controversies are involved.

Aside from that, you have also seen the types of services each provide. Obviously, they want to attract as many readers as possible.

But, of course, they cannot please everybody. We have presented various feedback so you have a background. The reviews do not tell the story, however. So use them as starting point for your research.

As you read about the positives and negatives of each, you now have a better understanding of what they offer. We hope this Motley Fool vs. Stansberry Research clarifies questions you may have. Let us know if you have other queries below.


A writer and researcher, Phil enjoys exploring topics about finance, investments, and consumer behavior. His two young kids serve as inspiration for his advocacy on education and the youth.

  • Unfortunately I’ve been a subscriber to Stansberry Research for a few years now. When Steve Sjuggerud was behind True Wealth and True Wealth Systems I was able to make money and easily covered the initial cost and the yearly renewal. Brett Eversole now seems to be running both. The performance has significantly dropped. I cannot recommend either service.

  • I tried Motley Fool subscriptions two different times in recent years. I was not impressed with their picks and did better with my own. Also they unindated me with ads for their other newsletters which was aggrevating

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