Motley Fool Income Investor is the Motley Fool's dividend-focused stock newsletter. Led by advisor Mike Olsen, CFA, the Income Investor team searches for the best dividend stocks on the market.

We'll turn to whether the subscription is worth it in a minute, but first, let's talk about some general principles.

Despite the common misconception, the dividend stock with the largest dividend isn't necessarily the best one. Often these ridiculously high dividends are ridiculously high for a reason – either the business is doing poorly or the market expects the dividend to be cut in the near future. Rather, the Income Investor team seeks stocks that can maintain and grow their dividends over the long term – meaning they're seeking great businesses with sustainable competitive advantages. A winning income portfolio needs winning businesses.

Picture of Mike Olsen, CFA.

Mike Olsen, CFA, Income Investor Advisor. Image source: The Motley Fool

What should you pay?

Here at The Motley Fool, we don't typically believe in paying a fee equal to more than 1% of your portfolio size for investing recommendations. That's because fees can eat away at your returns in a big way. (And we all invest to make money, after all.) So whether the Income Investor subscription is worth the price really depends on how much you have to invest. For example, if you're paying $99 per year for a service and only have $500 to invest, that's a 20% annual fee – not a great deal.

But the answer is a little more complicated than that, too. After all, if you're new to investing and looking to learn an investing philosophy, then maybe that 1% rule-of-thumb has some flexibility. After all, everyone has to start somewhere, and we believe there are few better places to start than with The Motley Fool's premier dividend investing service.

So, to put it all together, it depends on what you're looking to get out of it. But use that 1% annual fee as a starter and consider your options from there.

Let's also turn (briefly) to the benefits of an Income Investor subscription, just so you have the whole picture.

Here's what an Income Investor subscription gets you

First, and most obviously: Stock picks. Mike Olsen and team commit to at least one new income pick a month. They also identify "best buys now" – timely opportunities to grab stocks that are in a uniquely good place to generate long-term profits – each month. The team also rigorously tracks each stock pick against the broader market so every subscriber can see which picks have outperformed (and which haven't. We aren't magicians – nobody has a perfect score in the stock market game). The team also provides value estimates with each pick, which serve to help investors think through the appropriate price to buy around. After all, even a great stock can be overvalued and offer poor returns as a result.

The team also provides timely updates on every stock on the scorecard. Whether it's quarterly earnings, material news that moves the stock 10% or more in a single trading day, or anything thesis-changing, you can trust that the Income Investor team is observing to make sure that they keep members apprised of what's going on.

Speaking of the members...perhaps the most undervalued part of an Inside Value subscription is the vibrant investor community that thrives on conversation, discussion, and collaboration. Members on the message boards challenge each other to learn more about investing and discuss picks when they come out, underpinning The Motley Fool's commitment to growing the knowledge and love of investing every day.

Income Investor is on sale now

The key part of deciding whether Income Investor is worth the price is...knowing the price. We have a discount from the list price running right now, so check it out and figure out whether this service is the right fit for you.

The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.