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Introducing TMF Money Advisor

In 1993, The Motley Fool first launched as a print newsletter. "To Educate, To Amuse, and To Enrich" was our mission, and you find us here today more than eight years later working as hard as ever (albeit on a grander scale) to fulfill that very mission.

Like most great missions, it is both beneficial and never-ending. Our commitment has taken us far and wide -- around America several times, out of a newsletter and into a website, a radio show, some best-selling books, and a PBS special. We've been an answer (or is that a question?) on Jeopardy and sometimes a curse word on Wall Street. Working with you over the past year, together we've been a primary moving force behind the passage of Regulation FD and one of the Internet's top charitable fundraisers, raising $2 million online via our Foolanthropy initiative.

And finally, in 2001, The Motley Fool has created its greatest offering ever -- TMF Money Advisor, which is being launched today. I know it's the greatest thing we've ever done because I've been around since day one and have had a hand in almost every good or bad thing we've tried. This is absolutely the most helpful, relevant, broad-based, and revolutionary thing we've ever served up. Allow me five minutes of your time to convey what it is and why we created it.

TMF Money Advisor, a partnership of The Motley Fool Inc., The Ayco Company L.P., and DirectAdvice Inc., is intended to be America's -- your -- guide to financial peace of mind. Many of us over the years have subscribed to AAA for its helpful roadside assistance service, should we blow a gasket on a Los Angeles freeway or (as I did two weeks ago) find ourselves with a dead battery somewhere out in the Vermont countryside. Well, TMF Money Advisor is very similar, except it's ever-present, long-term roadside assistance for something we consider much more important: your financial life. Whether you're online or offline, in debt or out of debt, an investor doing estate planning or researching your first stock, TMF Money Advisor has been hatched to be your financial "roadside assistance."

As helpful as we hope our emails, books, website, and broadcasts are, until today we could not as a company take that natural further step toward offering you the most helpful service of all: personalized guidance. In order to complete our offering, therefore, we searched exhaustively throughout the financial services industry to locate the most useful, helpful, and customer-focused organization out there.

Our search naturally pointed us toward fee-only financial planners, to whom we have sent thousands of customers over the years because they help you make your own plan and they don't have anything to sell you. In an age in which even the credibility of Wall Street analysts has been destroyed (by their own firms), and in which a public now jaded by reports of conflicts of interest doesn't know where to turn, we have crafted TMF Money Advisor as the answer.

For TMF Money Advisor we specifically selected as our first partner The Ayco Company, because Ayco can give anyone in America professional and direct advice, personalized, over the phone, and (the critical attribute) without trying to sell you anything. You see, not all financial planners are created equal, and not all of them work off the same business model, either.

Many planners make money by selling you financial products with commissions. But Ayco provides only solid financial advice with no conflicts of interest and no strings attached. For years Ayco has provided highly respected advice to companies, employees, and executives, including many Fortune 500 companies.

Ayco's partnership with The Motley Fool is the first time Ayco's professional services have been made widely available directly to the public. In conformity with everything we strive to do at The Motley Fool, the result will be both customer-focused and transparent, driven by a passion for (as Matthew Arnold had it) sweetness and light.

In an often shadowy and in some unfortunate cases quite shady industry, TMF Money Advisor will blaze a bright trail toward the advice tailored for you, not for the fellow on the other side of the desk or phone line.

However, sometimes we don't know what we don't know. Enter our second partner, DirectAdvice. We've integrated DirectAdvice's Web-based financial planning tool into TMF Money Advisor to help you develop a personalized roadmap for managing your finances and achieving your goals. With DirectAdvice, you can turn on your computer, enter your information, and begin to craft and manage a financial plan on your own or on the phone with your planner.

For years we have been saying that America would be much better off if each of us took the few hours necessary to plot our financial course, so that with confidence we can achieve a happy and well-funded retirement. (Not counting too much on Social Security, are ya?) Now, with services provided by The Motley Fool, Ayco, and DirectAdvice, you'll be able to do just that.

Which brings me to us, The Motley Fool, because the first and foremost part of our package is of course the "TMF" part. You as the TMF Money Advisor customer will receive a monthly email newsletter penned by my brother Tom and me, and you'll also receive free and unlimited access to numerous popular Motley Fool seminars, including Roadmap to Retirement, Beginning Investing, Couples & Cash, Disaster-Proof Your Finances, and many others. And, additionally, probably the most valuable component of all: You'll receive privileged access to our Motley Fool customer service staff, which consistently receives raves for its response time and quality.

With TMF Money Advisor, we have brought out the biggest and the best and put it into an annual package that you'll be able to use, now and forevermore, as your coach, your planner, your expert, your pal. And as Tom and I have said elsewhere, we'll stake our reputations and our business future on this offering. We're that confident in its usefulness and beneficial effects.

And that's why I wrote above that 2001 marks the greatest single step in our company's history, for it marks the debut of a revolutionary service that will help you in innumerable ways over the years as your financial roadside assistance -- whatever the topic, whenever you need help with your money. I invite you to deepen your relationship with our organization, one that is committed to helping you make the best decisions about your money for your benefit and the benefit of those you love. I invite you personally to subscribe. Click here to learn more, and Fool on!

David Gardner


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