Morningstar Review – Free vs Premium Membership

by Investing School on May 20, 2009

Morningstar is one of the most respected financial research firm and it offers a free and premium membership for regular investors like us who want up to date, honest and comprehensive research news and tools.  Here’s a review that takes a look at the free vs premium membership that Morningstar offers to see which one is for you.

Click here to sign up for Morningstar’s free or premium memberships

Morningstar Free Membership

morningstarAs I’ve mentioned before, I’m less concerned with the research that the stock brokers provide because I’m a member of the Morningstar program.  With the free service, I can research on any fund, stocks as well as read up on what other people think about the investments by going through the articles and message boards that Morningstar provides.  There’s also a basic portfolio manager that comes with the free membership, so if you want to have a play portfolio to test out your strategies, you can use that as well.

For something that’s free, the services are actually quite good.

Morningstar Premium Membership

Of course, Morningstar would like you to pay for its premium membership but what’s in it for us?  Here are a few features:

Advanced Analyst Research

You know all those analyst research reports that people talk about but you never see on the web?  A bunch of them comes from Morningstar.  With the premium membership, you get access to the research report on the stocks and funds that you are interested in so you can trade and invest like the professionals.

Portfolio X-Ray

The X-ray portfolio is actually extremely useful in diversification because it allows you to figure out not only the sectors that you are invested in but geographical information as well.  In fact, Barron’s named it “Best of the Web” five years in a row.

Rating System

Some of you may be familiar with Morningstar’s rating system for your 401k funds.  With the premium membership, you get access to this for every fund as well as stocks so you can just invest in the ones that are graded the highest.

Free vs Premium Membership

Signing up for one of the memberships is a no-brainer, but why would you want to pay?

Why Free Membership

If you are skeptical about the tools outlined, you may want to just sign up for the free membership to try it out before you look into the premium membership at a later date.  It’s free and I must say that it’s helped make me tons of money so there’s no reason not to sign up (Click here to do so).

Why Premium Membership

The x-ray portfolio is amazing but I really like the grading systems that they have.  While I won’t exclusively invest based on their rating system, it doesn’t hurt to get another confirmation that the stock I like is a buy.  Right now, they are also offering potential customers a 14-day free trial, so why not give it a spin?

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter Henderson May 21, 2009 at 9:09 am

Nice find. I signed up for the free membership and although I only looked at it briefly, so far so good.


belldirect September 14, 2009 at 9:32 am

Morningstar had built a reputation as one of the most respected financial research firms in the US and coming from you, I think I will give Morningstar a try and see for myself if they can really give me what I need.


Chandu June 17, 2010 at 10:02 am

Does Morningstar tracks Indian stock markets (BSE & Nse) as well?


Gary June 24, 2010 at 2:54 pm

If you sign up for the Premium’s 14-day free trial you may end up paying for it whether you want to or not. You have to give them your credit card info. first. After the trial is over, if you haven’t canceled, the system uses your info. to automatically purchase the premium membership, whether you want it or not. You may not realize that until you see the charge on your credit card. Remember, you may accidentally forget to cancel or life may put you in a situation where you can’t cancel in time in time, then you’ll buy it whether you want to or not! I forget what happened to me and it doesn’t matter. I have active epilepsy and brain damage. I either just forgot or my health put me in a position where I couldn’t cancel it – no computer in my hospital room. I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. I just faintly remember that one month years ago, when I went to pay my credit card bill there was a large charge on it. It was the Morningstar Premium membership. I don’t remember whether it was any better than the free info. It probably wasn’t REMEMBER – WHEN YOU GIVE THEM YOUR CREDIT CARD INFO. – YOU’RE BASICALLY GIVING THEM THE CASH AHEAD OF TIME! For all I know, I could have been in the hospital on the day I was supposed to cancel. I’ve had hundreds of seizures and been rescued and hospitalized many times. There’s a good chance that brain damage or just life in general caused me to pay for a membership that I didn’t really use. Oh well, lesson learned, no more trial memberships for me.


Mark July 24, 2011 at 10:21 am

It’s of little importance whether they automatically renew or not because all you need do is call and they will refund the unused balance, prorated.


Don Pinkus August 7, 2010 at 1:01 am

Chandu – I believe M* is now covering a large amount of Indian markets.

Gary – that sounds pretty awful, if you call the M* help number and explain the situation I’m sure they would refund it right then


randall November 26, 2011 at 1:32 pm

I’ve used M* for about 8 years now & have been very pleased with them. It’s my favorite investing site. & I recommend it to others.


Seth October 3, 2012 at 8:57 am

You may be able to get M* Premium free through your local library


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