The key to being a great investor is to find winning stocks before the rest of the market discovers them.

And since 2002, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, which is run by Motley Fool co-founders David and Tom Gardner, has worked to help investors do just that.

And, given that its average pick has tripled the S&P 500's returns...

It's pretty clear that the Stock Advisor team is on to something.

How Stock Advisor has tripled the market's return

Motley Fool Stock Advisor focuses on finding stocks that have the best chance of outperforming the broader stock market over the next three to five years. More specifically, each month, Stock Advisor investors receive one pick from Tom Gardner and another pick from David Gardner. In choosing those picks, the Stock Advisor team focuses on seven time-tested principles:

  • Buy businesses, not tickers. Look for companies with strong managers with a vision for their future.
  • Be a lifetime investor. Invest for the long term and follow companies' prospects over time.
  • Diversify by holding a portfolio of many stocks from different industries.
  • Fish where others aren't. Thinking for yourself is better than following the crowd.
  • Check emotions at the door. Being able to act against your instincts is a valuable trait that most investors lack.
  • Keep score. Being accountable to members means tracking picks, celebrating victories and learning from setbacks.
  • Be Foolish and have fun. Too many people think investing has to be serious, but embracing your stock-picking can be both enriching and enlightening.
Two men smiling at camera, one is bald with a black sport jacket, the other has a blue checked shirt. They have windows behind them, reflecting clouds and blue sky.

Motley Fool co-founders (and Stock Advisor co-advisors) Tom and David Gardner. Image source: The Motley Fool.

In addition, the picks that David and Tom make reflect their own particular approach to investing. The rules that David follows in making picks include choosing companies with a "secret sauce" that gives them a competitive edge and businesses that will benefit from long-term trends, getting in early without overly focusing on buying in at the lowest possible stock price. For Tom, great companies in beaten-down industries are a primary target, and solid financials, a proven business model, and shareholder-friendly management with skin in the game are keys to success.

But Stock Advisor isn't just about new picks each month. Every month, Tom and David each pick five stocks as their best ideas for new money...and christen them the "Best Buys Now" within Stock Advisor. These companies have already been recommended by the Stock Advisor team...and now they get a second stamp of approval highlighting their just how timely of an opportunity they can be.

Additionally, members can see the service's exclusive list of Starter Stocks, which are selections that the Stock Advisor team believes are an essential part of any portfolio and make a great starting point for those who are just getting started with investing.

The true value of Stock Advisor picks

The real value of Stock Advisor picks isn't in the quantity of stocks...

But how good they are -- how effective at helping investors make a tidy profit.

A look at the top picks from Motley Fool Stock Advisor really brings home the value that the service provides. One of David's best recommendations was Booking Holdings (NASDAQ: BKNG),the online travel company that has become the leader in the fast-growing global industry. With its online platform for selling discount hotel rooms, car rentals, and airline tickets all over the world, Priceline has produced total returns of more than 6,000% since David initially recommended the stock in 2004. What helped give Stock Advisor members those top returns was David's insight that the internet would transform the travel industry, and Priceline's unique combination of technology, strategic partnerships, and kitschy advertising has propelled it to the top of its industry.

From Tom's side of the service, UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) has been one of the service's longest-held picks, and since 2002, the health-insurance giant has generated returns of more than 950%. Tom's position in UnitedHealth stemmed from his initial pick of Mid Atlantic Medical Services, a regional holding company for health management organizations and preferred provider organizations in the Mid-Atlantic states. Less than a year later, UnitedHealth made a bid to buy Mid Atlantic, delivering a quick return for Stock Advisor members. Yet Tom saw the potential in holding onto UnitedHealth shares after the buyout, and that has helped turn what would have been a modest gain into a big win for members.

How to become a Stock Advisor member right now!

Now, given everything we've described, you can probably understand why Stock Advisor's list price is $199.

But right now, you can sign up for Motley Fool Stock Advisor at a special introductory rate. Take advantage of this offer and rather than paying our usual price, you'll pay a special introductory rate of $99 for one year. You'll then get immediate access to the service's latest stock picks as well as all the other resources that Stock Advisor offers to its elite group of subscribers.

If you want to become a successful investor, you need to recognize value when you see it. That's why we've offered access to Motley Fool Stock Advisor at such a low price: so that you won't wait any longer. Join the Motley Fool Stock Advisor community right now and begin your journey toward investing riches.