I got to know the Motley Fool web site back in the mid 1990s as a great place to learn about investing in stocks. They taught me about avoiding high MERs and commissions and investing for the long run among many other useful lessons. However, they seem to have lost their way.
The Fool message in the early days was clear: investing in indexes is a great approach, and for those who are willing to put in the work, picking individual stocks can be rewarding as well. They advocated investing for the long-term with low turnover (infrequent trading) to keep costs low and keep the focus on company fundamentals rather than short-term trading.
The Motley Fool was a big part of my attempt to beat the market through stock selection and my ultimate decision to give up on this strategy and buy low-cost index ETFs. I even subscribed to one of their newsletters for a while. Since I cancelled my subscription, I received many “last chances” to come back. In just the past year I’ve received 63 pleading emails to re-subscribe, 61 of which came after a message that started “This is positively our final offer.”
Their latest invitation offers me “Rare investments that can make you 3-5 times your money in a single year – without abandoning conservative investment values.”
How can I take this stuff seriously? This kind of come-on is exactly the type of thing that sensible web sites warn people to avoid because it is too good to be true.
Given how highly I regarded the Motley Fool in the 1990s, it’s hard to believe how little regard I have for them now.