I have never had much success with stock newsletters. The trouble is that over the years I often got sucked into subscribing to them with the promise of riches and huge stock market gains. As an example, I have been a subscriber of newsletters such as The Motley Fool’s Hidden Gems and Income Investor, Gordon Pape’s Internet Wealth Builder, and even the Keystone Small-Cap Report.[ad#tdg-embedded]
The trouble with all of these was that they provide me with recommendations for individual stocks that would not fit into my portfolio. I guess an investor could simply buy every stock recommended by a newsletter and build a portfolio that way, but of course you would run into diversification issues. Each investor has a unique asset allocation (relatively speaking) and picking and choosing individual stock picks from newsletters often creates a real hodgepodge of holdings that do not work together.
My approach to portfolio building is very structured: build up a core portfolio of index funds that provide lots of diversification and then supplement that core portfolio with quality dividend stocks that fill a specific purpose, be it dividend growth or high income . I am no longer interested in buying one small-cap here and there as recommended by one newsletter or another growth stock recommended by another. I choose the stocks that go into my portfolio very carefully because I know it is difficult to pick winners.
That being said, I do actually subscribe to one particular premium web service provided by a fellow blogger. It is The D4L-Premium Services offered by Dividends4Life. I have found this service to be very effective in managing and building my portfolio.
What is Included
The premium services offered by D4L include the following:
D4L-Dashboard: Updated weekly, the D4L-Dashboard is a color-coded pdf file that contains a multitude of data for the over 100 dividend stocks that D4L tracks. A quick scan of the file tells me which stocks D4L’s model has flagged as a buy and which ones are not doing well. Have a look at the Sample Dashboard to see how the information is organized and consider how you could use it in your own research.
Personally, I use this list to generate new ideas for my own research and to validate my own thinking on a number of stocks. Recently, I initiated a position in Emerson Electric Co. (EMR) based on much of the research and data I obtained using the D4L-Premium Content.
The data that goes into the dashboard is actually compiled from a much larger database of information that D4L tracks. This data is presented in individual Analytical Reports for each of the stocks that D4L tracks.
Each week, as part of the process of updating the D4L-Dashboard he looks at several companies and either creates a new analysis or freshens the data. In addition, before any stock is purchased for his portfolio the report is updated.
What this means for the subscriber is a constant stream of updated information on dividend stocks that would be difficult and time consuming to compile form the free data available on the web. I estimate that having the Analytical Reports cuts about 25 – 35% of my time in tracking down details for many of the stocks I own or track.
Have a look at a Sample Analytical Report to see the detailed information provided.
The final piece of the premium service are the alerts, which provided emails to me about when the premium content has been updated, when D4L makes trades in his own account, and/or breaking news such as dividend cuts for any of the stocks followed.
What I Like
Here is a quick summary of what I like (and frankly why I subscribe) about The D4L-Premium Services:
What I Would Change
I actually struggled with presenting some things that I didn’t like about the service because it does give me what I need – dividend stock ideas organized logically and in great detail. However, to ensure I am providing a fair review I wanted to let you know what I do not get as much value from.
The D4L-Alerts, although helpful for letting me know when the content is updated, do not provide me with much value when D4L lets me know when he made a specific transaction in his own portfolio. I manage my own portfolio according to very strict asset allocation guidelines and every stock and holding has a specific place. As such, it is not very relevant for me to know when a stock trade has been made in another investor’s portfolio. Therefore, I quickly read the emails when they come in and then do not act on them.
Pricing is simple, and frankly very cheap. The monthly cost is only $5.95 and you get all three services mentioned above. I pay via Paypal so I am familiar with the transaction engine. I know D4L so I absolutely trust him to be honest and ethical, but having the transaction go through Paypal provides that little bit of extra comfort level.
Summary and Final Opinion
As I said at the outset, I have tried and always ended up cancelling a number of investment newsletters because I was never really looking just for straight-up recommendations on stocks to buy. I would much prefer to build my portfolio and do the research on my own stocks so that I know everything I can about my dividend stocks.
The only premium web content I do pay for is The D4L-Premium Services because it provides me with a lot of the dividend data I need in one nice package and saves me a great deal of time in tracking this data down all over the web. For $5.95 per month, it is by far the cheapest services I have ever bought as well! I encourage you to give it a try here.