It’s just a reality that the amount of time we have available to us dictates which products and services make the most sense for us to purchase and use, and nothing highlights that better than the differences between the Motley Fool and Zacks, which have also been discussed elsewhere. Both are terrific offerings that help investors, but they speak to two very different types of investors. When it comes to making choices about something as important as investment advice, it pays to be armed with all the information about the services you are thinking about using.
Something in Common
Before delving too far into the differences between them, it’s worth considering the ways in which they are the same. Both have long track records – Motley Fool dates back to 1993 while Zacks was launched in 1976. That’s not “old” by human standards, but for tools in a digital era where there are more offerings weekly than anyone could ever have time to look into, that’s some pretty impressive longevity.
The two also have several different service level offerings. We’ll go into them in more depth soon, but Motley Fool has about 4 different levels of service and Zacks has a couple with several different platforms for access across a variety of devices.
With a good understanding of their history and breadth of offerings, it makes sense to delve a little into the differences between Motley Fool vs Zacks. It helps to take a step back understand exactly what the two products are, in order to better spot the differences. At core, the Motley Fool is a stock picking advice service. It may be helpful to start with reading other overviews of it as well.
Understanding Motley Fool
It offers recommendations, rationale, and clear traceability of its previous picks and their results. While its different service offerings speak to different levels of risk comfort and growth goals (“Stock Advisor” suggests larger, better known companies and “Rule Breakers” recommends riskier, higher growth options) it is ultimately a platform geared towards making recommendations to people who want to buy stocks and hold onto them. It does not suggest day trading plays or provide information to help facilitate that style of trading. The Motley Fool has a lot of appeal to investors who want to buy stocks and not overthink it.
That’s not to say there is no additional work needed on the part of the investor. Anytime you are buying individual stocks it is critical to do personal due diligence. This is especially true when you are selecting a smaller number to buy instead of buying all 12 of Motley Fool’s picks.
Introduction to Zacks
On the other hand, Zacks is a more interactive service. For one thing, it lets users actually make trades through its integration with Interactive Brokers (IBKR). The Zacks Premium offering provides a rich data feature known as Zacks #1 Rank List and Equity Research Reports. It also has even stronger offerings known as Investor Collection and Ultimate. That said, the platform is very much geared towards investors who want to do their own homework and make frequent, real time trading decisions based on their own absorption and analysis of information.
It would be a very incomplete comparison to not touch on the cost differences between Motley Fool vs Zacks. Motley Fool’s four levels range from $149 – $299 per year. The most commonly used service that probably has the greatest ability to make an immediate impact on your investing success is Stock Advisor, which costs $199/year typically – but it’s offered at $79/year for new users’ first year, and at an even further discount of $79 through this special promotion.
Zacks services are priced somewhat higher, with Ultimate costing $2,995 per year and Investor Collection coming in at $499 per year. That said, Zacks Premium is comparable to Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor, costing $249/year.
Motley Fool vs Zacks: Which One is the Right Choice?
As was mentioned off the top in this comparison, it’s really a question of personal investment style. The biggest factor here is the amount of time you have available: if you’re a serious investor who does your own research, Zacks may be the right platform. If you’re more like most people, with limited availability to analyze stocks and simply want reliable, straightforward recommendations, the Motley Fool will likely have an offering at one of their service levels that will meet your needs.
A common strategy is to start with the Motley Fool and eventually migrate to a more robust offering like Zacks as you developer greater knowledge and interest in analyzing trades. Zacks can be a bit much to start with unless you are already at that level of investor.
Coupled with the great deals that give new Motley Fool users an affordable entry point, it is hard to beat it!