Do Investment Newsletters Add Value?

Investment newsletters are some of the most ubiquitous financial products on the web. But do they add any real value? Does anyone actually make money using them?

For most retail and and non-professional traders, the answer is a resounding no.

How many times have you read a newsletter touting picks with grandiose headlines? “XYZ stock is primed for 300% returns!” “This undiscovered stock could be the next 10-bagger!”

Astute and seasoned investors run far away from this sort of spin. These headlines are the work of master marketers whose goal is to tap into the greed center of our brains. They want us to run out and buy these stocks based on pure emotion. Forget about planning the trade! They don’t care if you make money in the long term. They have no real skin in the game. Even if you lose, they still win.

It is IMPOSSIBLE to achieve long-term success in the markets on picks alone.

Remember, a pick is only the beginning, only an entry. You still need to know where you should exit the trade if it goes against you. What factors invalidate the original thesis? The newsletter rarely mentions this part of the process.

You also have to know where you’ll take profits. How many times have you bought a pick, only to watch it go in your favor and then make a round trip back to where it started? Or even worse below the point at which you bought it? The newsletter rarely mentions this either.

How much of the pick do you buy? Do you go all in? How does it fit into your overall portfolio? Does it reduce your net exposure to the broad market? Does it increase it? Yep, crickets once again in the newsletter corner.

There are many questions left unanswered in the typical retail newsletter. This is why long term, you cannot win on picks alone. Think about it like this, investing in the market on a pick alone is equivalent to taking off in a plane without knowing how to land. No one in their right mind would do that. Do not expose your precious capital until a solid plan is in place for how to navigate and control it. Success comes from having a comprehensive process that is applied to the market consistently. Investing requires a battle plan, one where every contingency is accounted for.

Even with the most sophisticated and rigorous analysis, we never know which trades will eventually win or lose. The markets move a lot more randomly than people think. Yes, we can make educated assumptions on market direction. And yes we can control risk. But we must realize, even so, there is no guarantee of success.

Long term prosperity comes from not becoming too focused on any one pick. What creates success is the cumulation of many picks executed using a controlled process. Overtime, with enough disciplined applied, we let the process compound our wealth.

Though despite all the reasons to not trust newsletters and picks, it’s unfair to say they offer zero value to the investment process. When approached correctly, they can actually help add real edge.

Instead of focusing on picks, use newsletters as a source of idea generation. Use them to help you understand the world and what other players are thinking. Many times you’ll find articles that contradict your own thesis on the markets. Instead of dismissing them immediately, use the opposing view to challenge your own beliefs. Dig deeper into the reasons why you believe what you believe.

Remember, ideas are only as good as your ability to plan and execute on them. Without both key elements, a newsletter pick or tip will only damage your portfolio.


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Brandon Beylo

Value Investor

Brandon has been a professional investor focusing on value for over 13 years, spending his time in small to micro-cap companies, spin-offs, SPACs, and deep value liquidation situations. Over time, he’s developed a deeper understanding for what deep-value investing actually means, and refined his philosophy to include any business trading at a wild discount to what he thinks its worth in 3-5 years.

Brandon has a tenacious passion for investing, broad-based learning, and business. He previously worked for several leading investment firms before joining the team at Macro Ops. He lives by the famous Munger mantra of trying to get a little smarter each day.


Investing & Personal Finance

AK is the founder of Macro Ops and the host of Fallible.

He started out in corporate economics for a Fortune 50 company before moving to a long/short equity investment firm.

With Macro Ops focused primarily on institutional clients, AK moved to servicing new investors just starting their journey. He takes the professional research and education produced at Macro Ops and breaks it down for beginners. The goal is to help clients find the best solution for their investing needs through effective education.

Tyler Kling

Volatility & Options Trader

Former trade desk manager at $100+ million family office where he oversaw multiple traders and helped develop cutting edge quantitative strategies in the derivatives market.

He worked as a consultant to the family office’s in-house fund of funds in the areas of portfolio manager evaluation and capital allocation.

Certified in Quantitative Finance from the Fitch Learning Center in London, England where he studied under famous quants such as Paul Wilmott.

Alex Barrow

Macro Trader

Founder and head macro trader at Macro Ops. Alex joined the US Marine Corps on his 18th birthday just one month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He subsequently spent a decade in the military. Serving in various capacities from scout sniper to interrogator and counterintelligence specialist. Following his military service, he worked as a contract intelligence professional for a number of US agencies (from the DIA to FBI) with a focus on counterintelligence and terrorist financing. He also spent time consulting for a tech company that specialized in building analytic software for finance and intelligence analysis.

After leaving the field of intelligence he went to work at a global macro hedge fund. He’s been professionally involved in markets since 2005, has consulted with a number of the leading names in the hedge fund space, and now manages his own family office while running Macro Ops. He’s published over 300 white papers on complex financial and macroeconomic topics, writes regularly about investment/market trends, and frequently speaks at conferences on trading and investing.

Macro Ops is a market research firm geared toward professional and experienced retail traders and investors. Macro Ops’ research has been featured in Forbes, Marketwatch, Business Insider, and Real Vision as well as a number of other leading publications.

You can find out more about Alex on his LinkedIn account here and also find him on Twitter where he frequently shares his market research.