How are things going on the Premium side?

It’s no secret that participation has dropped on the Freemium side of TMF since the big format change. I’m curious how things are going on the Premium side. I used to buy the occasional $25 seminar back in the day but I don’t participate in the premium services any more. Genuinely curious what folks are seeing over there.

More content? Less? About the same?

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LakeEffect,

Most of the boards I follow on the Premium side - large cap Tech mainly - are, in the immortal words of Miracle Max, “mostly dead.”

The exception is the very active Tesla board.

Cheers, SC

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Another area of heavy activity, spread around a bit, is about what I am tempted to call Angst. Everyone who subscribed to TMF just in time to buy growth companies that dropped like stones is, understandably, rather upset. Being remote they can’t bring the torches and pitchforks, but some are doing their best without those tools. A secondary theme is how messed up the web site is.

With the old boards I only saw posts about the handful of companies whose boards I made favorites. Those favorites are now tags on my personalized left-side menu, but when I’m done with those I click on Talking Stocks and see all the activity tagged with companies I do not follow. I can scan down the list, read what sounds interesting, and Dismiss the rest. So for me the new arrangement gives me exposure to companies I would never have seen before.

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Thanks for the replies. I always imagined the subscriber side was more engaged since everyone has a vested financial interest. Of course, a bear market will dampen enthusiasm.

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I used to be a premium member but the value was not there for me. I pretty much stick to the non premium side…doc

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The Premium side is going down hill fast. I don’t know if TMF realizes that or even cares. CMFMints what do you think?

File this under a fool with a pitchfork :joy:.

I bought into the newly minted ownership portfolio in 2020 and exited in 2021. At the time, they were purchasing stocks which already had a massive run up, some of which 10x already within a very short time.

A great majority of those stocks have massively come down since then, and no doubt any subscriber who held on had experienced massive losses. Some of their recommendations are down over 95%.

Their entire thesis was based on 1 or 2 of the 30 companies taking off like rockets, which would make up for the many dogs in the portfolio. As of this writing, only 1 of their 1st three round purchases is slightly up, and the rest are massively, massively down. This is based on a buy and hold of their initial recommendations, which they highly touted. I don’t know if there were recommendations made after I left which protected their subscribers. I’d be very interested to hear from anyone who stuck it out.

I think their approach and timing to this particular portfolio was very irresponsible, if not criminal. The entire portfolio, in my estimation, is down over 70%. I didn’t stick around for the last round of recommendations so they may have pulled a rabbit out of their asses.

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn if the SEC or some other regulatory agency is severely limiting their operations, or has severely limited their marketing tactics.

Whatever mission the MF had is gone. I’ve lost respect for them, and no doubt this is all reflected in this updated website.

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There is nothing remotely close to criminal for spouting off bad investment advice - unless you are actually doing the investing for clients, which is a different thing.

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn if the SEC or some other regulatory agency is severely limiting their operations, or has severely limited their marketing tactics

Some lawyer somewhere will tell the SEC about “freedom of speech”, and that will be that.

Look, I understand that you’re frazzled because you followed some investment advice and got burned. Happens all the time. Jim Cramer spouts off daily, others run weekly newsletters or tip sheets, and they’re worth what they’re worth, which is usually nothing.

We had a similar situation after the Nasdaq meltdown in 2000, and again in 2008 when the real estate market almost burned the economy to the ground. Use this as a lesson: try to “invest” rather than ride a rocket ship to to the moon. Ever heard the expression “Bulls and bears make money, pigs get slaughtered”?

PS: Also massively down: Elon Musk, 50%+. And Mark Zuckerberg: 75%. And Changpeng Zhou (*Binance), down 83%. Alex Mashinsky: 85%+. Do Keon (Luna creator): international fugitive. And our buddy Sam Bankman-Fried from FTX: oops. Even a former President’s NFT’s are trading at $25, down from $99. Jeff Bezos: down 63%.

You know who’s not down nearly so much? Most investors who buy normal companies that make money and produce things. They’re off a little, they’re up a little, they’re paying dividends, they’re OK. Take a lesson.

I assure you they care. It’s their whole life, and they’ve been at it for almost 30 years. Believe it or not an organization with hundreds of employees tends to pay attention to how it’s doing. Whether that leads them to make the right decisions is a different matter.

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Glad to hear you escaped the G Boyz’ scam before you suffered even further damage.

What subscribers fail to realize is that price and timing matter. If you overpay --or if you wait too long to get in/out, you’re accepting risks that likely mean losses. In that sense, investing is no different than fishing. When the bite is on, any fool can catch fish. When the fish are off their feed, time on the water is wasted time if your goal is to catch fish.

The G Boyz’ goal isn’t to make money from buying stocks, but from selling “newsletter” subscriptions to the naïve who want to believe that investing is easy. simple, and safe. Well, it can be on occasion. But mostly, investing is hard work that requires the sort of discipline, patience, and timing that Ben Graham describes in his intro to value investing.

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Contrary to popular belief the activity on this site has not decreased significantly since we switched platforms. The way the data is organized makes it feel like there are less posts but it’s really about the same. See chart below…

image

The premium site graph is similar.

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I have a theory that the Fool does what it does and has been doing for 30 years, but newbies come in when things get exciting. It’s maybe a little like the Lottery (no insult intended); people get excited when things are going good (the jackpot is rising) and they jump on board in hopes of a big payout.

In investing the time to “get in” is early, not after the excitement peaks - but newbies don’t finally take the plunge until their friends tell them about these fabulous returns they’re getting (crypto in 2000, real estate in 2007, internet stocks in 1999) and then find themselves crapped on when the market turns.

It’s not that the Fool is doing anything much different than when it began in 1994 with the RuleBreakers (and RuleMakers, although at least that added some balance), it’s just that we’re now hearing from those who got burned by trying to jump on board when the train was already doing 60 through the station.

[I’m not thrilled with the marketing “Here are 5 stocks that will go to the moon!” {exaggeration} and have opined on that before, but I suspect that’s the thing that brings new people in, if there was a more demur approach that worked I suspect they would use that, too.]

Goof,

Yes. The G BoyZ’ self-professed investing niche is small-cap/mid-cap ‘growth investing’, as opposed to something more “traditional” (and less sexy) such as Ben Graham-style ‘value investing’ in either of its two main variants, ‘Defensive’ vs ‘Enterprising’. Which might be the better path for building wealth can be debated, with the likely answer being, “It all depends” (on one’s means, needs, interests, goals, and opportunities).

Frankly, I despise TMF’s over-the-top marketing and their endless, never documented and easily disproven claims about “superior performance” (which isn’t any better than the average mutual fund with the same investing objective).

Arindam

You don’t owe it to us to share data like this, but it’s interesting, so thank you.

That said, didn’t the site migration happen in September? So that chart would need to go back to July or August to be informative.

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Actually, if TMF wants to claim that its web traffic hasn’t declined, the chart would have to show data going back at least 10 to 15 years. But they’re not going to do that, of course, though all of us who’ve been posting for 20 years or more know that traffic has declined as the GBoyZ abandoned their original goals.

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Agreed–10 or 15 years of data would be interesting, and there has been a substantial transformation of what TMF espouses now vs. the time when I first discovered it in the late 90’s (who remembers the Foolish Four? I believe in one hour of time a year you were supposed trounce the market). Remember when “options” was a dirty word at TMF? Now they have a paid service for it.

As far as the premium boards go, for me the retirement of TMF1000 Tom Engle (or Tom Engles? he posted enough good info to be at least three people) was a big blow. He was gold. I didn’t re-up after that.

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What was the bond board named? Was it just “Bond Investing”? Perhaps it should he added to shrewdm.com? I agree with your sentiment completely about the late 90s spirit of TMF needing to be returned to.

— Manlobbi

Has the world become so neoliberalistic that the notion of running a private business that could do something of their own choice, at the expense of maximizing profit, is not even possible to conceive?

That would be a very sad world. Whilst getting there, with the rampant brainwashing that has been taking place the last 50 years, I don’t believe we have gone quite that far yet.

— Manlobbi

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leosource,

You wrote (in part) “…that 2022 was the worst-ever year for U.S. bonds … may have something to do with [the decline of the discussion of bonds and fixed income instruments].”

But just the opposite should have the case. There should have been howls of pain and outrage and furious discussions on how to repair or reverse the damage. But instead of the formerly 5 to 10 posts a day from 15 to 20 regular posters, there was almost zero discussion from anyone. Why? Because most of the previously active posters had moved on to other things. Why? I have no idea. But let me make some guesses, the chief of which is this. Most would-be investors don’t understand the role that bonds and FI instruments can play in building wealth, nor do they appreciate just how much money can be made from/in those asset classes, both on an absolute-returns or on a risk-adjusted basis (which are posts for another time). Why don’t they understand those things? Because they are encouraged not to understand them by our dear forum hosts who hate bonds (as, admittedly, did Peter Lynch), though the G BoyZ do offer a ridiculously expensive “service”, Total Income at $1,999/yr, as part of their suite of “premium” services.

So that’s the conundrum. If the G BoyZ can’t monetize it, they minimize/avoid it, which stands in stark contrast to their original mission of “having some fun and making a few bucks as well”. It’s that abandonment of outreach and education – without an eye to profit-- that most of us miss.

Arindam

Why do I know that Dave hates bonds? Because he publicly said as much in answer to a question I put to him at talk he gave in Portland around 2001.

Manlobbi,

I applaud the alternative you’re creating to TMF’s forums. I’m just not sure yet what I want to do about it.

Posting --good posting-- takes a lot of thought and effort, and I’ve reached the point in my life where ‘investing’ and ‘wealth-building’ are no longer a necessity. Also, I know full well that “No one can trade another man’s game” and that what I might say about what could be/should be done probably has little relevance (or interest) to anyone else.

“Caminante, no hay camino. Se hace camino al andar.”

Arindam

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