Every Motley Fool newsletter aims to help its subscribers make money with great investing picks. Yet each has a slightly different angle for doing so. Some investors want hyper growth and maximum volatility, while others want less risk to their capital – even if that means lower returns.

Motley Fool Explorer is intended to serve the high-risk/high-return crowd, while Million Dollar Portfolio (often abbreviated as MDP) appeals to those who want a more balanced approach but can still handle plenty of volatility. (For what it's worth, if you're looking for lower volatility options, Motley Fool Pro might be a bit more your style.)

Let's dive into both services.

MDP advisor Matthew Argersinger, clasping his hands in front of him, smiling at camera, standing in front of a wall, wearing a sportcoat and collared shirt.

MDP advisor Matthew Argersinger. Image source: The Motley Fool.

Motley Fool Explorer swings for the fences

Motley Fool Explorer's mission is simple: Find the disruptive trends reshaping society, from driverless cars to robotics, and try to identify the stocks most poised to profit. Every month, advisor Simon Erickson and his team pick a trend to focus on and four stocks positioned at the nexus of that trend. Then he commissions four analysts to each produce a research report on one of the chosen stocks, which are then presented to a hand-picked panel of investors. They vote bracket-style until one stock wins and receives a $20,000 cash investment from The Motley Fool.

Here's the kicker: Every stock considered was already pitched as an idea by Moley Fool co-founder David Gardner and his hand-picked team in either Stock Advisor or Rule Breakers. So every stock chosen by the Explorer team has gone through multiple rounds of vetting by some of the best investors out there. While that – in addition to the $20,000 investment and the three-year holding period mandated by Explorer – should give you plenty of confidence in the strength of Explorer's picks, investing in disruptive innovation is by nature a bumpy ride, so expect lots of volatility.

MDP's approach: Balanced growth

MDP still skews toward growth – advisor Matthew Argersinger has a long history of picking growth stocks – but it employs a slightly different approach from Explorer. For one thing, the MDP team spends more time on asset allocation than Explorer. Every Explorer picks gets the same $20,000 – while MDP allocates different amounts based on how the stock fits into the overall portfolio strategy. MDP also has more flexibility in terms of how it approaches the stocks it buys – while Explorer holds stocks for precisely three years, MDP can hold companies for longer when it makes sense to.

While Explorer strictly considers stocks recommended by David Gardner and his growth-oriented teams on Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers, MDP draws from a broader universe that includes stock picks by the more conservative Income Investor and Inside Value services, as well as small-cap-focused Hidden Gems. But that emphasizes one of the key similarities between both services: Both select companies that have already been through an initial round of vetting by other Motley Fool services. And both put real cash behind every pick, ensuring that The Motley Fool's financial interests are aligned with our members.

The MDP team also produces a detailed research report to accompany every stock pick presented to members. And as new, important information comes to light about each company (for example: quarterly reports or news big enough to significantly move the stock price), the MDP team provides ongoing updates to members. Each month, the MDP team also picks five "best buys now" – recommended stocks that are particularly timely opportunities. Often these stocks have reported news that triggered a negative market overreaction, offering an enticing buying opportunity for savvy investors who move quickly.

Ready to learn more?

The question of whether MDP or Explorer makes more sense for you really depends on your investing style. (Put differently: It's a question you're far better equipped to answer than we are. We'll restrict ourselves to picking great stocks – that's what we're good at. Mindreading? Not so much.) We have both MDP and Explorer available for sale right now at a discount to their list prices. So now's a great time to learn more about MDP or to try Explorer. Don't miss out on this (cheaper) opportunity to join two great services!

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