The Motley Fool

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Motley Fool
Type Private
Founded July 1993
Headquarters Alexandria, Virginia, United States
Founder(s) David and Tom Gardner, and Erik Rydholm
Slogan(s) The Motley Fool's purpose is to help the world invest better.

The Motley Fool is a multimedia financial-services company that provides financial solutions for investors through various stock, investing, and personal finance products. The Alexandria, Virginia-based private company was founded in July 1993 by co-chairmen and brothers David and Tom Gardner, and Erik Rydholm, who has since left. The company employs more than 300 people.

The Business

Investment advice

The Motley Fool offers a wide range of stock news and analysis at its free website,, as well as through a variety of paid investment advice services. The services, many of which combine a traditional paper newsletter with interactive electronic discussion boards and other tools, cover a range of styles from small caps to international stocks, to options, to shorting.[1]

Motley Fool Culture

The company received the 2014 and 2015 nationwide honor for being "the No. 1 Medium-Sized Company to Work for in the United States" from[2][3]

Mutual funds

In June 2009, Motley Fool Funds launched its first mutual fund, Motley Fool Independence Fund.[4] As of mid-December 2014, the fund (FOOLX) had outperformed the Russell 2000 index by almost 20 percentage points and earned 3 out of 5 stars from Morningstar.[5]

In November 2010, Motley Fool funds launched Motley Fool Great America Fund. As of mid-December 2014, the fund (TMFGX) had outperformed the Russell 2000 and the most popular low-cost ETF tracking the Russell 2000, the iShares Russell 2000 (IWM), by almost 20 percentage points and earned a 3-star rating from Morningstar.[6]

In November 2011, Motley Fool funds launched Motley Fool Epic Voyage Fund. As of mid-December 2014, the return of the S&P 500 had been triple that of the Epic Voyage Fund.[7]


The name "Motley Fool" is taken from Shakespeare's comedy As You Like It.[8][9]

In August 1994, brothers David and Tom Gardner parlayed their one-year-old investment newsletter into a content partnership with America Online. The Motley Fool gained renown for its early recommendations of stocks, such as, America Online (AOL), Amgen, eBay, PayPal, and Starbucks, and was featured in a cover story for Fortune magazine (1996) about the emergence of online interactive discussion as a new form of investment research.[citation needed] In April 1997, the site was moved from AOL to the website,[10] and a UK site,, was established.[citation needed]

Motley Fool content is available to the public on and, and in its Motley Fool Money podcast and nationally syndicated newspaper column. The Gardners have written several bestselling books on investing, most recently the New York Times Best Seller Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio, published in December 2008.[11] Their third book, Rule Makers and Rule Breakers, was published in 2000.[12] Their best-known book, The Motley Fool Investment Guide, was in 2003 called the "#1 All-Time Classic" by investment club members of the NAIC.[citation needed]

During the financial crisis and the dot-com bubble collapse in 2001, the company ran into trouble, resulting in the loss of 80% of the staff in a series of three layoffs and the closure of its operations in Germany and Japan. Following the 2000–2002 stock market downturn, Motley Fool started to cover more strategies, such as a range of investment styles from small cap stock investing to growth and technology stocks, to dividend investing.[citation needed]

A December 2005 Washington Post article detailed the Motley Fool's 10-year lease for new offices in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, taking over office space vacated by Time-Life.[13]

In September 2006, the company unveiled Motley Fool CAPS, a service that monitors and ranks the most successful stock pickers amongst its members.[14]

In 2011, the company launched Fool Australia,[15] followed in 2012 by Fool Canada[16] and Fool Singapore.[17]

In 2013, the UK company reported a £1m loss on sales of £2m.[citation needed]

Premium services

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

In April 2002, the company launched the first of its premium subscription services. David and Tom Gardner pick one stock each month in a brotherly competition to best each other and the S&P 500. They maintain a consistent buy-and-hold style, tending to let their winning stocks compound returns over longer periods of time.


  • Motley Fool Hidden Gems - Small cap stocks
  • Motley Fool Income Investor - A newsletter focusing on high yield stocks
  • Motley Fool Inside Value - A newsletter for value investors
  • Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio - A managed portfolio of $1 million of The Motley Fool's own money
  • Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio 360 - A service that combines access to the Million Dollar Portfolio with access to most other newsletters
  • Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio Deep Value - Concentrated portfolio for Value investors
  • Motley Fool One - Allows subscribers to view all the newsletters in one place
  • Motley Fool Options - An options recommendation service used in conjunction with investments in securities
  • Motley Fool Pro
  • Motley Fool Rule Breakers - David Gardner and a team of analysts choose mid-cap companies they see as using disruptive innovation to change the marketplace
  • Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement - Retirement planning advice
  • Motley Fool Share Advisor (Australia)
  • Motley Fool Share Advisor (UK)
  • Motley Fool Champion Shares Pro (UK)
  • Motley Fool Special Ops
  • Motley Fool Supernova - Gives subscribers access to a team of analysts building a portfolio of David Gardner's stocks. This service consists of three portfolios: one for regular wage earners, another for people nearing retirement, and a third portfolio which pits baskets of stocks against each other in a battle to see the "best of the bunch". Returns on the Odyssey portfolio were 67.1% growth after 28 months (as of October 2014)[18][not in citation given]

Community discussion boards

The Motley Fool hosts online discussion boards. Registered users can get access to all non-newsletter boards that cover a variety of stock, personal finance, and investing concepts. The discussion boards are used heavily to recruit future Motley Fool staffers; frequent posters are first awarded free subscriptions to their favorite Motley Fool newsletters then eventually receive a small stipend and "TMF" username moniker to patrol the boards. Some veteran posters have gone on to found investment newsletters and hedge funds of their own, for example Stephen Bland in the UK, who launched The Dividend Letter in 2008.[19][not in citation given]

The Foolish Four

In 1999, Motley Fool ran into controversy with its eventually discredited Foolish Four investment theory, which had been marketed as a way to "crush mutual funds" in "only 15 minutes a year".[20][21] This stock-picking technique was referred to as "investment hogwash in its purest form" by Money (magazine) writer Jason Zweig in an August 1999 article titled "False Profits."[22] Zweig also called it "one of the most cockamamie stock-picking formulas ever concocted" in his 2003 commentary in the revised edition of Benjamin Graham's acclaimed Value investing book, The Intelligent Investor.[20]

Motley Fool writer Ann Coleman admitted in 2000 that the Foolish Four method "turned out to be not nearly as wonderful a strategy as we thought."[23]

Blog Network

The Motley Fool Blog Network was a stock analysis and news site that provided a platform for non-Motley Fool staff writers to submit articles. They received compensation ranging from $50–$100 for each article submitted and additional compensation for how many recommendations or "editors picks" they received.[24] Eventually the company merged the Blog Network with its primary site, syndicating bloggers' articles alongside those written by in-house staff and making the blogging platform defunct. In July 2014, after Yahoo announced its new Yahoo Finance Contributors platform,[25] Motley Fool was negatively impacted, as a significant percentage of traffic to its website relied on syndication of articles via Yahoo Finance. This led the company to sever relationships with the majority of its freelance contributors and former bloggers.[26]

See also


  1. "Motley Fool".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>]
  2. "The Motley Fool Named the Best Medium-Sized Company To Work For in the US". The Motley Fool. December 11, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Nycz-Conner, Jennifer (December 10, 2014), "The Motley Fool Tops Glassdoor's List of Best Places to Work", Washington Business Journal Morning Edition, retrieved December 12, 2014<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Jaffe, Chuck (2009-07-09). "Stupid Investment of the Week". Boston: Retrieved 2013-09-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Motley Fool Independence Fund (FOOLX)".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Motley Fool Great America Fund (TMFGX)".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Motley Fool Epic Voyage Fund (TMFEX)".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Harold Bloom & Pamela Loos (2007). As You Like It. p. 10. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> "Indeed, after meeting Touchstone, Jaques wants to change his own life, to take on the life of a motley fool himself."
  9. William Shakespeare (2004). As You Like It. Sparklesoup Classics. p. 23. DUKE SENIOR. Why, how now, monsieur! what a life is this, That your poor friends must woo your company? What, you look merrily! JAQUES. A fool, a fool! I met a fool i' th' forest, A motley fool.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "About The Motley Fool:History". Retrieved 2013-09-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. David Gardner & Tom Gardner (2008). Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. David Gardner & Tom Gardner. The Motley Fools Rule Breakers Rule Makers : The Foolish Guide To Picking Stocks. ISBN 9780684857176. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. de Tantillo, Lila (December 15, 2005). "The Motley Fool Finds Room to Grow in City". The Washington Post.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Oliver, Ryan (October 3, 2006). "Stock picking gets social on Motley Fool". CNN Money. Retrieved December 12, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "About Us - Fool Canada". Retrieved 13 May 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "About Us - Fool Australia". Retrieved 13 May 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "About Us - Fool Singapore". Retrieved 13 May 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. " Stock Investing Advice - Stock Research". The Motley Fool.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Dividend Letter".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. 20.0 20.1 Graham, Benjamin (2003). The Intelligent Investor (PDF) (Revised 1973 ed.). Harper Collins. pp. 44–45. ISBN 0-06-055566-1. Retrieved 13 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Dogs of the Dow and the Foolish Four". 1999-06-29. Retrieved 2013-09-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Zweig, Jason. "False Profits". Money Magazine. Retrieved 13 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Coleman, Ann (December 29, 2000). "Fool Four Moves On". Retrieved 2013-09-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. "Details of The Motley Fool Blog Network", The Motley Fool, October 26, 2011, retrieved December 12, 2014<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Pearlman, Phil (July 23, 2014), "Introducing Yahoo Finance Contributors", Yahoo Finance, retrieved December 12, 2014<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. Creation, ANew (July 30, 2014), "The Motley Fool is in disarray, laying off massive amounts of contributors", Reddit, retrieved December 12, 2014<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links