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Motley Fool Stock Advisor vs Rule Breakers, Performance Review from 2016 to 2021

- TraderHQ Staff

In 1994 David and Tom Gardner started The Motley Fool. In 2002 and 2004 they started Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers their two most popular stock picking services. Both services are geared towards growth and share the same long-term investment outlook but they have some key differences that will influence which service may be a better fit for you and your investment goals.

Stock Advisor is best suited for:

  • New investors looking to build a new portoflio
  • Investors looking for whole market, moderate to high growth companies, not entirely focused on tech.
  • Investors looking for long-term returns.
  • Investors looking to really grow in their investing knowledge and experience.

Rule Breakers is best suited for:

  • Investors with established portfolios.
  • Those looking for a concentration companies which are first-movers or innovators.
  • Those who can stomach market volatlity.
  • Those with 5 to 15 year investing horizon.

What You Can Expect:

Both services have the same general structure for how they are run and what they provide.

  • 2 new stock recommendations per month along with a research reporting and video where the team's analysts discuss the picks and sometimes answer questions. Typically each release provide current market guidance providing context for investing during the current market conditions.
  • 10 timely stock recommendations per month (only 5 for Rule Breakers). The timely stocks were previously called "Best Buy Now" stocks are simply the best stocks from the current portfolio of recommendations to invest in right now.
  • This can be helpful to new members of the service who may have missed a big recommendation from 2 months ago. That big recommendation could get re-recommended as a timely stock giving you a 2nd chance at building out a position in it.
  • 10 foundational stocks, which are often updated quarterly. These stock recommendations are to help build a diverified portoflio.

Cost: Stock Advisor vs Rule Breakers

The normal price for Stock Advisor is $199/year and comes with a 30 day money back guarantee. New members can currently get the service for just $89.

The normal price for Rule Breakers is $299/year and also comes with the 30 day money back refund period.

Winner on Cost: Stock Advisor

Bundle Offer: Stock Advisor + Rule Breakers + Everlasting Stocks. 1 Year for $299

Stock Advisor is cheaper than Rule Breakers but both services are still affordable considering other services charge $50-100 per month. I find the cost of either service to be well justified considering the value they provide, particularly for those who take advantage of all the content they provide.

Performance: Rule Breakers vs Stock Advisor

What everyone wants to know is which service has the best track record of performance.

We analyzed every recommendation from each service from 2016 through 2021 and here is what we found.

Both services handily out-performed the market but Rule Breaker's results particularly at the 4 year return mark handily even out-peformed Stock Advisor.

New Recommendations Performance

New Recommendations - 2016 to 2021Stock AdvisorRule BreakersWinner
1 Year42.53%42.48%Tie
2 Years100.13%113.27%Rule Breakers by 13%
3 Years153.44%152.91%Tie
4 Years208.65%342.65%Rule Breakers by 64%
Blended Average126.19%162.83%Rule Breakers by 29%
  • For performance of new stock recommendaitons, Rule Breakers beat Stock Advisor for 2-year returns by 13% and 4-year reuturns by 64%.
  • Both handily out-performing the S&P 500.
  • The Winner is: Rule Breakers

Foundational Stocks Performance

Foundational Stocks - 2016 to 2021Stock AdvisorRule BreakersWinner
1 Year33.51%32.06%Stock Advisor by 5%
2 Years78.12%60.28%Stock Advisor by 30%
3 Years102.04%107.44%Rule Breakers by 5%
4 Years114.30%237.32%Rule Breakers by 108%
Blended Average81.99%109.28%Rule Breakers by 33%
  • For performance of foundational stocks, Rule Breaker's won the 3 and 4 year periods by 5% and 108% respectively.
  • In 1 and 2 year returns Stock Advisors 5% and 30% out-performance just wasn't enough to outshine Rule Breakers.
  • The Winner is: Rule Breakers

Best Buy Recommendations Performance

Best Buys - 2016 to 2021Stock AdvisorRule BreakersWinner
1 Year40.31%45.13%Rule Breakers by 12%
2 Years82.85%85.72%Rule Breakers by 3%
3 Years98.04%104.47%Rule Breakers by 7%
4 Years119.69%155.74%Rule Breakers by 30%
Blended Average85.22%97.77%Rule Breakers by 15%
  • For performance of "Best Buy" or timely recommendations, Rule Breaker's won in a clean sweep for all 4 years. Winning by an average of 15%
  • The Winner is: Rule Breakers

Conclusion About Performance

Between the two services, Rule Breakers produced better returns through all periods. This is not to say that Stock Advisor didn't perform well, because it performed exceptionally well.

During this period from 2016 through 2021, both services have done exceptionally well identifying high-growth companies that deliver great results for share holders.

It's hard to go wrong with either service, really the best option is to use both as they have proven in this comparison to deliver strong market-beating results.


If you are looking for quality high-growth investment ideas and research both Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers fit the bill, providing great value for the money.

The historical performance of their picks speak for themselves. They have had a knack for finding great investment opportunities.

Both services are complimentary to each other, so using both side-by-side is a good way to go. However, for new investors who are just getting started investing and want to test the waters with a paid service Stock Advisor is probably the best place to start.

Their picks come from a more whole market type of perspective and generally are less volatile than the Rule Breakers picks.

Both services provide great articles and videos and webcasting content to really help equip you with great knowledge about the current market, trends and Motley Fool recommendations.

We think either service is worth the subscription price even without any stock recommendations. The additional resources are really that good, for those who actually are eager to learn and become a smarter investor.

Bundle Offer: Stock Advisor + Rule Breakers + Everlasting Stocks. 1 Year for $299

Quotes of the Day:

  • "Even the intelligent investor is likely to need considerable willpower to keep from following the crowd". - Benjamin Graham
  • "Stop trying to predict the direction of the stock market, the economy or the elections". - Warren Buffett
  • "Go for a business any idiot can run because sooner or later, any idiot probably is going to run it". - Peter Lynch
  • "Returns matter a lot. It's our capital." – Abigail Johnson
  • "Don't look for the needle in the haystack. Just buy the haystack!" – John Bogle
  • "How many millionaires do you know who have become wealthy by investing in savings accounts? I rest my case." – Robert G. Allen
  • "The four most dangerous words in investing are, it’s different this time." – Sir John Templeton