Morningstar Review: Helping Investors Make The Most Informed Decisions

(Money Under 30 Rating)

Ranking

9/10

Morningstar offers perceptive investing insights with free and premium versions for every type of investor. But is it right for you?

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Cost

8/10

Ease of use

8/10

Features

10/10

Research available

10/10



Best for:

 

  • DIY investors
  • Value investors
  • Investors with time to commit to research

Editor's Note - You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent financial advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the author's alone. This content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser, unless otherwise noted below.

When you are choosing an investment, you’ll want to have access to top-quality information. Morningstar offers a rating system that is trusted by experienced investors throughout the community. 

Although you’ll need to dig into the numbers yourself to decide whether an investment opportunity is a good choice or not, Morningstar can help make your decision a little easier. 

Here’s what you need to know about Morningstar’s offerings.

What is Morningstar?

Morningstar was founded in Chicago in 1984 to provide investors with the information needed to succeed. Originally, the global investment research firm looked at only mutual funds. But it has expanded to review individual stocks as well. 

You’ll find swathes of high-quality data in digestible formats about market investment opportunities with Morningstar. 

How does Morningstar work?

When you arrive on the homepage of Morningstar, click on the ‘sign up’ button in the upper right corner. Morningstar Review: Helping Investors Make The Most Informed Decisions - Morningstar

Next, you’ll have to enter some basic personal information. 

Morningstar Review: Helping Investors Make The Most Informed Decisions - Create account

It takes less than a minute to fill out your information, and then you are in!

Morningstar Review: Helping Investors Make The Most Informed Decisions - Welcome to Morningstar

Once you’ve completed the sign-up process, you’ll be able to explore information about different stocks. For example, I checked out the quote on GME:

Morningstar Review: Helping Investors Make The Most Informed Decisions - GME quote

Although you receive a fair amount of information with the free version of the platform, you’ll need to upgrade to the premium version to access the detailed analysis. 

Pricing for Morningstar

Morningstar has a free and premium version. 

The Basic version is completely free to use. You’ll have full access to the article archives on Morningstar, which investment experts write. Plus, you’ll have limited access to portfolio x-ray, the portfolio manager, and the fund screener. 

When you upgrade to Morningstar Premium, you have full access to analyst reports, top investment picks, the portfolio manager, portfolio x-ray, screeners, and article archives. 

If you are interested in giving premium a try, you’ll get a free 14-day trial. After that, it will cost $199 per year. Although the price tag of Morningstar Premium may seem a little steep, Money Under 30 readers can score a deal. You’ll receive $30 off a one-year membership, $70 off a two-year membership, and $100 off a three-year membership. With that, it can be more affordable to access comprehensive information about stocks that you think. 

Morningstar features

Here’s what Morningstar has to offer:

Portfolio x-ray

The portfolio x-ray tool offered by Morningstar is a standout tool that sets it apart from the competition. The tool helps you uncover which companies and sectors are held by funds within your portfolio

With that, you’ll be able to determine your true asset allocation based on the information found in reports published by each mutual fund. You might find that you are too heavily invested in a particular sector and take the opportunity to rebalance your portfolio accordingly. 

This is a useful tool, but you’ll have to manually enter your mutual funds, which can take some time. Unless you already use Quicken – in that case, you can import your information through Quicken for Premium users. 

Fund screeners

You can use Morningstar to evaluate mutual funds based on their performance, category, and rating. With that, you can quickly find funds that align with your investment goals. 

As a premium user, you’ll have even more information to screen stocks more effectively. Beyond the fund’s performance and rating, you can explore the annual returns, risk, yield, sustainability, and more. Additionally, Morningstar Premium provides further insights in the form of an analyst grade. 

The combination of screening capabilities within Morningstar Premium will allow you to explore the available information to make a smart investment choice. 

Investment planning

Instead of sorting through every possible option, Morningstar offers a shortlist of the best investments to help you start your search. The analysis of these ‘best stocks’ is created based on the opinion of 200 independent analysts. You’ll find these ‘best stock’ lists in a variety of investment opportunities, including ETFs, mutual funds, and individuals stocks. 

If you want to speed up your analysis process of different stocks, this is a great tool to rely on. However, you should always confirm that you agree with any stock analysis before moving forward with an investment. 

Portfolio manager

If you have investments in multiple places, it can be difficult to keep track. Luckily, Morningstar makes it easy with a portfolio management tool. You’ll find a quick way to check up on your current investments. With this bird’s eye view, you can hone your future investment strategy. 

Article archives

Morningstar has a wealth of information published through articles each year. With the free or premium version, you’ll have access to the entire archive of articles. You never know what hidden gem of advice you’ll find in these archives until you take a look around. 

Check-in on-the-go with iPhone and iPad apps

You can use the Morningstar app for free on iPhones and iPads. Although there is limited functionality within the app, it offers an easy place to check in when you can’t get to your computer. 

My experience using Morningstar

In the course of this review, I signed up for the Morningstar free version. As I explored the information available on the site, I was pleasantly surprised. Personally, I can find the sheer amount of information available on similar investment sites a little bit overwhelming. But Morningstar breaks everything down in a way that I could easily understand. 

Morningstar does offer very helpful tools. However, I found the clunkiness of entering my own investment portfolio somewhat tedious. 

Morningstar Review: Helping Investors Make The Most Informed Decisions - Personal investing portfolio

But once I took the time to enter my portfolio information, the analysis provided was very helpful. Overall, I will likely continue to use the free version of Morningstar. But if I decide to take a more active approach to investing in the future, I would upgrade to the premium version. 

Who is Morningstar best for?

Value investors

If you are a value investor that wants to buy undervalued stocks, then Morningstar offers incredible resources. You’ll find all the information you need to make informed investment choices. 

Investors seeking expert analysis

As you make investment choices, selecting the right stock can be an overwhelming task. But with the expert analysis offered by Morningstar, you can feel more comfortable moving forward. 

Investors concerned about their asset allocation

Are you heavily invested in many mutual funds? It is important to uncover whether or not you are too heavily invested in a particular industry. You can easily find this out with the portfolio x-ray tool.

Who shouldn’t use Morningstar?

Hands-off investors

If you have no desire to tinker with your portfolio on a regular basis, then Morningstar will not be a helpful tool for you. 

Investors with small portfolios

Morningstar premium comes with a price tag that you might not be able to justify with a very small investment portfolio. Ideally, you should be able to cover the cost of Morningstar with the investment gains you make. If you know that your portfolio is too small to support that threshold, then it might not be the right time to sign up. 

Pros & cons

Pros

  • High-quality investment research and data — You will find a vast quantity of information available through Morningstar.
  • Independent analysis — Over 200 independent analysts provide insight into Morningstar’s ratings.
  • Useful tools — Some of the tools, like the portfolio x-ray, are especially helpful.
  • Free version — The free version of Morningstar is fairly comprehensive.

Cons

  • Clunky tools — Some of the tools, like the portfolio manager tool, are cumbersome to use.
  • High premium cost — The annual cost of Morningstar's premium version could put a dent in your budget.

Morningstar vs. Motley Fool Stock Advisor vs. Zacks Investment Research

 MorningstarMotley Fool Stock AdvisorZacks Investment Research
CostFree version; Premium $199 per year $99 per year$39 to $2,995 per year
Access to stock picksMany in multiple categories2 per month50 stock picks
FocusStocks and funds throughout the marketOnly individual stocksSeasoned investors

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Morningstar Review: Helping Investors Make The Most Informed Decisions - Motley Fool Stock AdvisorMotley Fool Stock Advisor is a subscription service that provides two stock picks each month. When you receive your stock picks, The Motley Fool will let you know why those stocks were picked. Beyond two new stocks each month, you’ll have access to all of the past stock picks by The Motley Fool. 

Unlike Morningstar, Motley Fool Advisor Service handles the research for you. Once you receive the picks, you can head to your portfolio and make an investment. 

Another unique feature is that Motley Fool Stock Advisor provides a list of starter stocks to help you build a portfolio from the ground up. If you have investment questions, you can dive into the built-in message boards to the platform. This will give you the opportunity to discuss the market with other investors. 

Zacks Investment Research

Morningstar Review: Helping Investors Make The Most Informed Decisions = Zacks Our Research

Zack’s Investment Research was founded in 1978 to provide investment information. It is connected to the Zacks Trades platform, which is an online broker. You’ll find a platform that is tailored towards seasoned investment professionals. If you are a beginner, then you could easily lose money with Zacks Trades. 

When you work with Zacks Investment Research, there are multiple levels of financial commitment to choose from. The plans range from $249 to $2,995 for the year, with varying levels of access to information. Additionally, the platform offers a DIY course for $39. 

You will have access to different stock picks. But the focus of the platform is for seasoned investors that are willing to trade on margins. With that, it is not the best choice for a new investor. 

Summary

All in all, Morningstar provides a vast amount of information in manageable chunks. As an investor, you can sort through investment opportunities quickly to find the right fit for your portfolio. 

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About the author

Total Articles: 60
Sarah Sharkey is a personal finance writer covering retirement, investing, debt, savings, credit cards, mortgages, and student loans. Additionally, she is the founder of Adventurous Adulting, a personal finance blog dedicated to helping readers tackle their money and take control of the adventure of life. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.