Morningstar Ratings: Free vs Premium Service

by Millie Kay G. on 2010-07-134

Should you use a mutual fund ranking service to help you choose funds for your portfolio? That’s a debate that continues to flare in the investment world, given the many different factions that exist, supporting philosophies of one sort or another. But if you’re the type of investor that is interested in mutual fund research and somehow feels compelled to keep up with the investment industry, then you may want to check out Morningstar and its subscription services. It’s a way to keep up with the markets and prospective investment opportunities, and a good excuse to see how your portfolio at the discount broker is measuring up against other investments. For years, Morningstar has provided investors with an arsenal to manage their portfolios. So let’s compare Morningstar’s free and premium subscriptions.

Morningstar Ratings: Free Membership vs Premium Service

The Free membership includes an array of tools. For instance, you’ll be able to access data on more than 13,000 funds and 7,000 stocks. There’s also a useful portfolio manager. It displays information such as the current price of a fund or stock, the price change, the market value, and Morningstar’s rating for the fund or stock. You can figure out your rate of return or compare your portfolio to a certain index so you get a clearer picture of how you’re performing.

In addition, there are fund and stock screeners to help you make the right picks for your portfolio. Interested in finding out more about a stock or company? You’re welcome to search the articles archive. There are a number of video reports that include expert opinions on investment topics. You’ll be able to read the latest commentary and free mutual fund news, too. And if you want to learn more about investing topics and do more research, then there’s the Morningstar Investment Classroom. You can also earn classroom rewards that you can use toward Morningstar products.

You can interact with other users by visiting the forums and blogs. Here’s where you can see what’s on the minds of your fellow investors or pose your own questions. I’ve found that I learn quite a bit by just hanging around the proverbial water cooler with these like-minded folks. There are a large number of topics under discussion, and you don’t have to be a longtime investor to participate. To join, you’ll need to provide your name, email address, and zip code.

Sign up for a free subscription to Morningstar by visiting this link.

Getting More from Premium

The Premium membership includes the tools and services you have access to for free, plus more. The Premium portfolio manager is beefed up with 10 x-ray analyses and reporting features. You’ll be able to see details such as your asset allocation, sector weighting, and fees and expenses. Don’t forget to look at the Morningstar Ratings for Stocks. The 5-Star stocks have been shown to be strong performers in the past (but know that past performance is no guarantee of future results). The Portfolio Monitor will let you access your portfolio statements monthly or more often if you choose.

Thanks to the premium fund and stock screeners, you’ll be able to narrow down those thousands of choices to the right ones for you. Set your screeners to seek out bargains to buy from the best online brokers; use these tools to check out wealth builders or to mirror the top picks of your favorite investors, if you want.

When you’re in the mood for reports, you can go over the analysis of over 100 experts that cover 2,000 funds and ETFs, along with 2,000 stocks. Some of the commentary will cover topics like the risk of a particular pick, the management and stewardship of a company, and valuations.

Premium members can also learn about Morningstar’s stock and fund favorites, receive newsletters via email, and enjoy discounts on newsletters, books, and more products.

Free Trial for Premium

The Premium membership comes with a free 14-day trial. You can get that by visiting this link, along with $20 off the regular price.

You can choose from several price categories.

  • Monthly: $19.95
  • 1 Year: $179.00 $159.00
  • 2 Years: $299.00 $289.00
  • 3 Years: $399.00

If you intend to be a long-term investor and subscriber, then the three-year option will provide the greatest value, as it saves you over 40% over the monthly price. On the other hand, if you cancel during the trial period, you won’t have to pay anything. However, just be aware that you’ll need to provide your credit card information to start the Premium trial membership.

Want to see your portfolio on the go? Check out Morningstar Mobile for BlackBerry and iPhone. You’ll be able to access your portfolio and watch lists, check out performance charts, get real-time quotes, and view Morningstar ratings.

In conclusion, whether you’re just getting started as an investor or you’ve gathered years of experience, you might find beneficial portfolio tools at Morningstar. Having the right information in a timely manner can build your wealth, and Morningstar has an array of tools to help you. Compare the free versus premium subscriptions for yourself to see if you like the offerings.

Copyright © 2010 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

James July 16, 2010 at 2:39 pm

I am from an old school thought process of reading the wall street journal and tracking stocks on a daily / weekly basis. I also like to reference yahoo as they have up to date news on the industry.

This is a way for me to really form my own opinions on what is going on with current information and trends.

Does anyone do research like me or am I a 30 year old Dinosaur?

Paris August 4, 2010 at 6:11 am

This is a way for me to really form my own opinions on what is going on with current information and trends.

Jamie Jay April 15, 2011 at 8:28 pm

No, James I dress very conservatively; I’m a value guy: I love this country (as a second generation American. I do similar research… I am constantly told I’m a 60 yr old trapped in a 30 yr old’s body.

Silicon Valley Blogger April 15, 2011 at 8:46 pm

You need to do research unless you’re some day trader who’s simply riding momentum. If so, then you’d be studying charts. But if you are not interested in putting in the effort to do research, then hire someone who LOVES to do it. I have hired a financial and investment planner who does this as a job, so I have her do the legwork and provide me with the “summaries”. I like getting the big picture while some others focus on the details. It works well!

Leave a Comment