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So, is Jim Cramer’s CNBC Investing Club subscription worth it?
What are you really getting from joining Jim Cramer’s CNBC Investing Club?
Can you achieve market-beating returns by following the stock picks inside Jim Cramer’s CNBC Investing Club?
Are there any better stock-picking services than Jim Cramer’s CNBC Investing Club?
Jim Cramer’s CNBC Investing Club Portfolio
So, what is Jim Cramer’s CNBC Investing Club?
And what can you actually get from it?
CNBC Investing Club is Jim Cramer’s members-only investing club, providing real-time trade alerts and investment advice from Jim Cramer and his research team.
As a member, you have access to Jim Cramer’s charitable trust portfolio where you can see every move Jim Cramer and his team make for the portfolio and get their market insight.
Also, through newsletters, articles, and live calls, Jim and his team break down recent purchases, discuss investments they got right, and explain lessons learned from what went wrong.
A bit of back story first.
Jim Cramer’s charitable trust portfolio was created in August 2005 with a stated mandate to donate any resulting dividends and distributions to nonprofit organizations.
Before 2022, you could gain access to Jim Cramer’s charitable trust portfolio by joining Action Alert Plus which was marketed and sold by TheStreet.
Around late 2021, Jim Cramer left TheStreet and is no longer associated with Action Alert Plus.
In Jan 2022, he launched CNBC Investing Club in partnership with CNBC.
Now, let’s take a closer look at what exactly you are getting from CNBC Investing Club.
As a member, you get full access to Jim Cramer’s charitable trust portfolio.
The number of stocks in the portfolio fluctuates over time.
But generally, there would be about 30 stocks in the portfolio.
On top of that, you get a real-time notification on every buy or sell trade that Jim Cramer and his team are about to make, together with their trading analysis.
Also, you will receive a trade alert before Jim Cramer makes a trade.
Jim Cramer waits 45 minutes after sending a trade alert before buying or selling stock in his charitable trust’s portfolio.
If Jim Cramer has talked about a stock on CNBC TV, he waits 72 hours after issuing the trade alert before executing the trade.
So, what is the current holding of Jim Cramer’s charitable trust portfolio?
I am not legally allowed to disclose the current holding of the portfolio, so below is the public information taken from the CNBC website about the current portfolio holdings.
It is made up of tech names like Apple and Alphabet, software firms like Nvidia and AMD, and defensive plays such as Costco.
What about the entire Jim Cramer’s charitable trust portfolio holdings?
To give you a glimpse of what it is like, you can see the full list of Jim Cramer’s charitable trust portfolio holdings on this CNBC webpage as of Jan 2022.
As you can see, there are also healthcare stocks such as Abbott Laboratories and Eli Lilly and financial stocks such as Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo in the portfolio as well.
So, you could say that it is a pretty diversified portfolio.
Inside the portfolio, the stocks will be given a rating:
- “1” means stocks that they would buy right now
- “2” means stocks that they would add on a pullback
- “3” means stocks that they would sell on strength
- “4” means stocks that they want to unload
Also, there are some stocks that are so-called “Core Holding”.
These “Core Holding” are companies that Cramer thinks should be held for the long term because on a financial level, they have high returns on equity, strong margins, and low debt.
However, based on the historical trades of Jim Cramer’s charitable trust portfolio, you can see that there is also frequent buy and sell activities on these so-called “Core Holdings”.
For one particular “Core Holding” stock, I saw that some shares were bought in Oct 2019 and were sold just a few months later.
For the portfolio as a whole, they are constantly analyzing their holdings (technically and fundamentally) on a daily basis and take action as necessary—take a little off the table, add to positions, and trim losers.
Just recently in Dec 2022, they trimmed their position in P&G (which is a stock that they still like and believe in) because the stock just had a two-month rally.
As you can see, there were trading alerts almost every day.
Personally, I feel that there is too much short-term trading taking place in the portfolio, and I believe in investing in great companies and holding them for the long term.
Let’s look at some “market-timing” trades made in Jim Cramer’s charitable trust portfolio.
As you can see below, they sold Wynn Resort Ltd in Jun 2022 at an absolutely low which is about $55 per share, and took close to a 50% loss on its position.
A few months later, Wynn Resort’s share price (as of 30 Dec) is about $82 per share.
The hard truth about trading?
The majority of traders lose money in the long term because no one can predict the short-term price movement of the stock.
So, if you are looking for stock recommendations for long-term growth and appreciation, then Motley Fool Stock Advisor would be a much better alternative.
Now, let’s move on to other features of Jim Cramer’s CNBC Investing Club subscription.
There is an “Analysis” section that mainly talks about general stock market trends and also gives the CNBC Investing Club’s take on quarterly earnings from companies whose shares are part of Jim Cramer’s Charitable Trust.
However, the so-called analysis of companies is most of the time just a recap of what the CEOs of the companies talked about.
I also find the “company-specific analysis reports” quite short-term focused and of little substance.
For example, this is an “analysis” report on P&G following an interview with the CEO of Costco.
There is another interesting feature inside CNBC Investing Club.
It is called “Bullpen”.
Basically, the bullpen is stocks that they are watching along with the stocks within Jim Cramer’s charitable trust portfolio.
By the way, it’s not a specific buy recommendation with an entry price.
It’s merely opportunities that they find intriguing.
Also, it’s not guaranteed that they would add these stocks to the portfolio because sometimes they will also place in the bullpen stocks that are either too small for the portfolio or carry a lot of risks.
Lastly, CNBC Investing members can join the monthly call with Jim Cramer where you can either watch it on a live video feed on any web browser or dial in to listen.
If you have questions for Jim Cramer, you can submit them in advance for him to answer during the live monthly call.
But, you can ONLY ask him questions regarding the current portfolio holdings or broader macro trends.
Basically, during the live call, Jim Cramer would talk about what has happened in the market and also briefly go through the individual stocks in the portfolio.
To sum up, the biggest selling points of this investment subscription service are Jim Cramer’s charitable trust portfolio and its real-time trade alerts.
Also, you could learn from Jim Cramer about how to analyze stocks and manage a stock portfolio.
So, will it really help you outperform the stock market?
That depends on the track record of Jim Cramer’s charitable trust portfolio as well as the performance of the individual stocks inside the portfolio.
Jim Cramer’s charitable trust Portfolio Returns Vs S&P 500
So, what is the past performance of Jim Cramer’s charitable trust portfolio over the years?
Did it manage to beat the market every year?
Now, let’s look at the performance comparison between Jim Cramer’s charitable trust portfolio and S&P 500 every single year since 2001.
|Jim Cramer’s charitable trust portfolio||S&P 500|
As you can see from the table, Jim Cramer’s charitable trust portfolio has ONLY narrowly beat the market 7 times out of the 20 years from 2002 to 2022.
Honestly, I am not wowed by this performance.
I mean, you would be much better off just putting your money in S&P 500 index ETFs, and also saving yourself a $399.99/year subscription fee, and also saving yourself a lot of time from making so many trades based on the alerts.
So, if you are looking for a stock picking service for long-term investments with a proven track record of beating the market, I highly recommend that you check out my review of Motley Fool Stock Advisor.
CNBC Investing Club Cost
So, how much does Jim Cramer’s CNBC Investing Club cost?
There are three types of pricing plans:
- Monthly subscription: $49.99/month
- Annual subscription: $33/month (or $399.99/year)
Currently, there is no free trial.
What is their refund policy for CNBC Investing Club?
Once you have made payments, CNBC does not provide refunds or credits for any unused services.
If you don’t intend to renew your subscription, you need to turn off auto-renew on your subscription in the “settings”.
Is the CNBC Investing Club subscription expensive?
Personally, I don’t think it’s worth paying $399.99 per year for it.
If your investment portfolio is less than $40,000, $399.99/year would be more than 1% per year in fees taken out of your portfolio.
Over time, “a small 1% fee” would add up and significantly reduce your overall returns.
It would ONLY make sense to make such “a high percentage fee” if it can help you outperform the market by a lot.
Why did I say it is a high percentage fee?
This is because Vanguard S&P 500 Index ETF only charges 0.04% a year in fees.
So far, as you can see, Jim Cramer’s charitable trust portfolio has underperformed the S&P 500 index since its inception.
Furthermore, the stock picks in Jim Cramer’s charitable trust portfolios are NOT for long-term investments, unlike Motley Fool Stock Advisor stock picks.
There are just too many trades (adding to positions, taking profits, or trimming positions) going on to my liking.
For me, I want to buy fundamentally solid stocks with long-term growth potential and hold them for years, and not get affected by the temporary market swings.
By the way, that’s what investment legends Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger do to accumulate their wealth.
Do you see Warren Buffet buy and sell stocks in his portfolios frequently?
In fact, he has been holding Coca-Cola for 32 years and still holding it.
That’s why I prefer Motley Fool Stock Advisor to CNBC Investing Club and have been a paying Stock Advisor subscriber for years.
Price-wise, Motley Fool Stock Advisor is only $79/year, which is just a third of what you would pay for CNBC Investing Club.
CNBC Investing Club Vs Motley Fool Stock Advisor
So, what is the key difference between CNBC Investing Club and Motley Fool Stock Advisor?
CNBC Investing Club gives you access to Jim Cramer’s charitable trust portfolio and gives you real-time alerts on any buy or sell trades that are going to happen in its portfolio.
There could be as many as five alerts in one day, so there is much more short-term trading than long-term investing.
On the other hand, Motley Fool Stock Advisor gives specific stock recommendations every month to help you build a stock portfolio for potential long-term growth.
It shows its members what stocks it is recommending, what the recommended purchase price is, and exactly why it might be a good stock for long-term investment together with the potential risks involved with the stock.
Also, there is no need to worry about when to sell because it gives its members a real-time notification about when it thinks it is the right time to sell the stock.
Now, let’s compare Motley Fool Stock Advisor’s performance with that of Jim Cramer’s charitable trust portfolio.
As both investment subscription services started on different dates, it would not be fair to compare their performance directly.
So, we would be using S&P 500 as a benchmark to measure its performance since its inception.
First, let’s look at the performance comparison between Jim Cramer’s charitable trust portfolio and S&P 500.
As of 31st Dec 2022, the returns of Jim Cramer’s charitable trust portfolio are about 186% while the returns of the S&P 500 index are about 215%.
That means Jim Cramer’s charitable trust portfolio has been underperforming the S&P 500 index since 2001.
First of all, let’s take a look at their track record as of 5th Sep 2023.
Below is the performance comparison between Motley Fool Stock Advisor and S&P 500 between 2002 and 5th September 2023.
As of 5th September 2023, average Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations have returned over 510% since inception while the S&P 500 has returned 132%.
In short, the Motley Fool Stock Advisor has outperformed the market 3 to 1.
But, what about its individual stock picks?
Below is a table that shows you the performance of individual stock picks over the years.
As of 6th September 2023, Motley Fool Stock Advisor has had 173 stock recommendations with 100%+ returns.
[Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Individual investment results may vary. All investing involves risk of loss.]
Will the Motley Fool Stock Advisor always be right about their stock recommendations?
No, because no one can be right about their stock picks 100% of the time.
Let me sidetrack a bit here.
If any stock-picking service tells you that they have a close to 100% success rate on their stock picks and can guarantee you high investment returns, you should definitely stay away.
Even Warren Buffet has loss-making stocks in his portfolio, but he still achieves above-average returns because a few big gainers in the portfolio can make up for the under-performers.
What I like about the Motley Fool Stock Advisor is that they are very open and transparent about their bad investments.
As a member, I can see the performance of ALL its past and current stock recommendations (even for closed positions).
Some other stock-picking services that I’ve tried, don’t publish the performance of all their past and current stock recommendations, so it’s not easy for you to find out their true track record.
For example, the year 2022 has not been good for high-growth stocks because of rising interest rates and high inflation.
So, we can see a lot of Motley Fool Stock Advisor’s 2022 stock recommendations are not doing very well.
The truth is that other stock-picking services are not doing well either because of the stock market crash.
Do I still think it’s worth subscribing to the Motley Fool Stock Advisor?
My answer is yes.
The stock market goes up and down all the time.
Every few years, there is a bear market.
According to Peter Lynch who is a legendary fund manager, far more money has been lost by investors trying to anticipate correction than lost in corrections themselves.
In fact, I think the bear market is the BEST time to start investing in the stock market.
During a bear market, it’s more likely to find great businesses selling at very cheap prices because people are just selling out of fear when the business is still fundamentally sound.
A market crash is a time when huge wealth transfers from irrational and emotional investors to patient and rational investors.
So, if you are thinking of getting into stock investing, I recommend the Motley Fool Stock Advisor because I think there are a lot of well-researched stock recommendations with long-term growth potential.
Lastly, let’s compare the pricing.
So, how much does CNBC Investing Club cost?
Its annual subscription is $399.99/year.
Now, what about Motley Fool Stock Advisor?
Usually, its annual subscription is $199.
Right now, there’s a special limited-time $79 offer* for new members for the first year when you click the link here to try it out for 30 days with a Membership-Fee-Back Guarantee. (*Billed annually. Introductory price for the first year for new members only. First-year bills at $79 and renews at $199)
So, for $79 a year- that’s just $1.52 a week – you can gain unlimited access to their library of expert stock recommendations which are carefully selected to help you grow your wealth.