Sunday, October 01, 2006

Things I Pay For

One of the things that I often wonder about the blogs I like to read is what things (research, newsletters, publications) the writers of those blogs pay for or would pay for if they already get comped on them. I wish more of them would talk about those paid subscriptions they take that actually add value.

Since I wonder that I figured I should do it myself. Most of what I subscribe to is for educational purposes. Some of the things I pay for have actual stock picks, but I read them more for their teaching value. So here goes:

Outstanding Investors Digest

I subscribe to this newsletter. At first the $300 price tag might put you off, but for me I like that it is by issue and not time. Meaning that you are going to get 10 32 page issues (or 5 64 double issues) whether they come in one year or more.

OID has been around for some 20 years, and some have argued that much of its usefulness is irrelevant base don the web. For instance it was one of the only publications that would attend annual meetings like Berkshire's and then report on what WEB and Munger had to say. Well now in the internet age you can get that online for free.

But for me I think there is still tremendous value in OID because it provides perspectives and interviews that are not found on the internet. Overall I really enjoy it and find it very instructive.

Gannon On Investing Newsletter

Geoff Gannon has a great blog where he really shows a new investor what goes into fundamental analysis and some of the key things to look for in evaluating a company. Geoff also publishes a quarterly newsletter which goes for $75 a pop or $275 for a full year prepaid.

I have bought the first two issues and they have been really excellent. While you may or may not agree on the companies he profiles as inclusion in your own portfolio, for a new investor, reading on how value can be evaluated is worth the price.

Bill Fleckenstein

Many of you may be familiar with Bill Fleckenstein from his weekly article on MSN Money here. I read several of his MSN articles, liked what I read and subscribed. It is $120 a year. His newsletter provides a daily summary of his take on the market as well as Fleckenstein's selection of several questions he received from readers along with his answers. If you are looking for a unique perspective and opinion than it is worth it. I have learned a lot and consider it one of my best decisions as his insight as led to a better decision making process.


I subscribe to the premium service of Morningstar which is about $15.00 per month with yearly and multi-year prepaid discounts available. The premium service gets you access to over 1,700 or so analyst reports, their opinion as to the fair value of a company, and the premium stock screener.

The best thing about Morningstar is the fair value estimates and the stock screener. The stock screener lets you set up screens using some nice metrics. The one I like to use is just screening for those stocks Morningstar has as undervalued to quickly see who is on it. I do wish the screener was a little more flexible and easier to use on looking at multiple-year metrics.

I have not read too much on the internet at other blogs to know whether Morningstar's fair value analysis is in the ballpark. I am too new to form an opinion yet. So that is something that I would like to see.

One last thing, as a side note Morningstar does not rate its own stock, which I think a bit funny. I mean I get the whole conflict thing about pumping its own stock. But would that not apply to its advertisers as well. I mean I see ads for St. Joe, MSFT, AMEX, Fidelity, etc. on the site. So is their not a conflict about writing about a company that is driving revenue to you? Do you not have a conflict where your negative report might affect your own bottom line? And if their analysts and the Morningstar process is sound enough that this is not a worry than should not the Morningstar process be objective enough to rate its own stock?

Jason Kelly

This is one of the more recent things I signed up for. It is a newsletter written by Jason Kelly who also wrote a series of books which can be found on his website. The newsletter itself is actually quite reasonable at about $5.50 a month which comes with weekly updates.

This newsletter and the books are really great for the new investor. First, the first month of the newsletter only costs a penny, so your downside is pretty limited if you do not like what you have to read. Second, the newsletter is written in a way that is very readable to a new investor but not so simple as to be something you are going to outgrow. So far I would have to say that this newsletter is actually something that gives more value than you are putting in. I have only been reading for about a month but have already expanded my knowledge far beyond what I paid for.

That’s all I have time for write know. Next time I will talk about some magazines/newspapers I like as well.

1 comment:


The book sounds right on topic.