When you take pride in something, you put your name on it. That’s what Porter Stansberry did in 1999 when he formed Stansberry Research, a private publishing company that distributes newsletters on investments, investment theory, real estate, and stocks.
Financial writing is a fairly crowded space, with a plethora of both free and paid information available to investors. Stansberry’s newsletter is in direct competition with the likes of Seeking Alpha, Business Insider, and the Motley Fool.
In this article, we’ll review Stansberry’s Investment Advisory Newsletter and other products that are currently offered by Stansberry Research as well as provide some background information on Porter Stansberry himself.
What is Stansberry’s Investment Advisory Newsletter?
If you’ve ever cruised the headlines on Yahoo or Yahoo Finance you’ve probably come across a sponsored headline by Stansberry Research that may have appeared like an editorial piece – usually with a grandiose or doomsday type headline. This is how they bring many new customers into the newsletter offering.
So what is Stansberry’s Investment Advisory Newsletter?
The home page of Stansberry Research claims that they provide “actionable investment recommendations and research for individuals self-managing their portfolios.” And that they “aim to bring subscribers the safest, most profitable investment ideas in the world, no matter what’s happening in the markets.”
In other words, they’re stock promoters.
Stansberry claims to have predicted trends in the market with “uncanny accuracy” since 1999. They also position themselves as somewhat of a maverick, bucking the establishment at every turn and often betting against what the Wall Street establishment is disseminating.
The rest of the website reads like a sales page. There are claims of long-term success and the initial description of what you get with the service is somewhat vague. They recommend the following if you’re considering a monthly subscription:
- You should have $1000 in investable money to get started
- You should be committed to buying stocks only
- You should be prepared to hold stocks for a minimum of one year
The basic subscription, which is $199 per year, gets you twelve monthly issues of the newsletter, “special” readers-only reports, and “The Stansberry Digest,” which is basically a daily blog post in which they report on their successes and strategies.
Stansberry advertises their subscription as “risk-free” for thirty days. That does not mean you get the first thirty days for free. They charge you the full $199 up front and claim they’ll refund it if you’re not satisfied. Online reviews on their refund process are not good.
The free information that Stansberry publishes under the “Investor Resources” tab of their website might be the most valuable service they offer. There’s an education center, newswire, and weekly stock tips that you don’t have to subscribe to get.
Stansberry’s Research Advisory has over half a million subscribers, including 70,000 lifetime subscribers. Their analysts boast a cumulative 175+ years of investment experience and have been featured on CNBC, Fox Business News, and CNN Radio.
What products can you choose from and what do you get?
Stansberry Research does offer much more than just their standard monthly newsletter. On their “Products and Services” page, you can choose model portfolios, specialized monthly newsletters, and research packages designed for investors, brokers, and advisors.
Their model portfolios are:
- The Capital Portfolio: Basic US Stock and ETFs
- The Income Portfolio: Designed to Generate Monthly Income
- The Total Portfolio: Hedged with income, growth, and emerging markets.
Recommended minimum investment for all portfolios is $100,000. Investing in one of Stansberry’s model portfolios also gives you free lifetime access to all newsletters.
Their specialized newsletters are:
- Stansberry’s Investment Advisory
- True Wealth (Alternative Investments)
- Retirement Millionaire
- Extreme Value (Discount Stocks)
- Stansberry’s Gold & Silver Investor
- Commodity Supercycles
- Stansberry Innovations Report
All newsletters are $199 per year each. There are bundled packages available which bring that price down to $99 per newsletter, but the website lists those as “Invitation Only.”
Specialized investment research packages are:
- Retirement Trader
- Stansberry’s Big Trade
- True Wealth Systems
- True Wealth Opportunities: China
- True Wealth Real Estate
- Stansberry Venture Technology
- Stansberry Venture Value
- Stansberry’s Credit Opportunities
- Income Intelligence
- DailyWealth Trader
- Advanced Options
- Cannabis Capitalist
- Crypto Capital
- Gold Stock Analyst
- Ten Stock Trader
Stansberry’s research packages cost several thousand dollars each. They’re designed for the savvier investor with a higher net worth and professional financial advisors/brokers. Their top competitor in this area is Morningstar Research Center.
What value does the analysis offer?
There’s always value in well-researched financial information and Stansberry appears to offer that. The question I would ask is whether or not that value justifies the cost. The answer is situational. Novice investors don’t need this. Higher end investors might.
From a financial advisor perspective, I spent nearly a decade in the field and never once heard a peer mention that they used Stansberry as their source for financial research when doing portfolio construction. I also don’t personally know anyone who uses their models.
I don’t say this to discount the work they are doing over at Stansberry. A look at their team page will show you that the editors and analysts are all experienced and capable of providing solid research and stock recommendations. I’m just not sold on the cost.
For those who do invest in this service, the insights are pretty in-depth and some of the unique perspectives shared by Stansberry cannot be found anywhere else. They look at undervalued and discount stocks that some of the larger publications ignore.
Options traders could definitely gain an advantage by subscribing to Stansberry. I’m more of a fan of technical analysis through chart patterns, but finding the right companies to watch is always a challenge. Stansberry does a good job of identifying potential movers.
How does this compare to other services or free information?
The free information on Stansberry’s website is fairly comprehensive, but not something you can’t find in a dozen other places. I like the education links. They are fairly basic, yet good for novice investors. The investment glossary is useful and “Tip of the Week” could definitely be worth gambling a few dollars on. For information, they compete with:
- Seeking Alpha: Personally, I consider Seeking Alpha the clear leader in the stock market information and research space. Their basic subscription is free and comparable to Stansberry’s newsletters. The premium package is $240 a year, but they give you a monthly option for a slight markup ($29.99 a month). They also offer a legitimate free trial on all of their products, which are more diverse than Stansberry’s offerings.
- Motley Fool: I wrote a review on the Fool a few months ago and I am a genuine fan. Their rates are slightly higher than Stansberry and they don’t offer the research component for financial advisors, but their education component and reputation are better. I have to say a choice between them and Stansberry would be a draw. Neither is significantly better than the other, so you might want to go with the better price.
- Business Insider: If you know what to look for, you can research new trends and get insights on companies worth investing in by reading Business Insider. They offer monthly ($12.95) and annual ($99) subscriptions and are always running promotions for first-time subscribers. They’re not specific to stock analysis, but they are a valuable resource for investors and traders. I’d recommend this over Stansberry for newbies.
For my friends in the financial advisory community, I wouldn’t cancel my Morningstar subscription to use these guys. A premium membership at Morningstar is just $199 a year. Stansberry’s research packages start at $4000. I’m not seeing anything to justify that.
About Porter Stansberry
Porter Stansberry is a financial writer and a somewhat colorful character in the financial services world. He was sued by the SEC in 2003 for insider trading and fraud, a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court. He’s also been part of a mysterious murder investigation.
The SEC case garnered national attention as a threat to the first amendment rights of stock tip publishers. Stansberry lost the case, but he managed to gather support from multiple newspaper publishers who filed an Amicus Brief stating their fears over the outcome.
In 2006, Porter’s childhood friend Rey Rivera was murdered under mysterious circumstances at the Belvedere Hotel in Baltimore. Suspicion fell on company employees, but Stansberry provided an alibi, claiming they were all at a “company retreat.”
In 2011, Porter Stansberry produced a video titled “The End of America.” This 77-minute promotional video predicts the fall of western democracy and the end of the United States. Its credibility is questionable, but it certainly helped him sell more newsletters.
Due to his somewhat sordid history, I tend to be skeptical about anything Porter Stansberry says. His tips are decent, and his research is excellent, but his win/loss ratio isn’t higher than any other publication, including some of the free offerings you can get.
The website reminds me of sales pages I see for info-commercials on late night television. It’s a bit over the top, which to me takes away from its credibility. That was my first impression. Doing a deeper dive revealed some real value, but cost is somewhat prohibitive.
All that being said, I am impressed with the information side of Stansberry Research. If spending the $199 for Stansberry’s Investment Advisory won’t hurt you, do it. Any smart investor should be able to make that back fairly quickly using the information they provide.