"What is The Motley Fool? And... why?"
It was with that very question that we launched the first edition of our Motley Fool newsletter 10 years ago -- which essentially began, well, all of this!
Yes, 10 years ago in July 1993, before there was a website, before there was a newspaper column, before we had a radio program with NPR, before there were books and seminars and employees and television specials... The Motley Fool debuted as a simple print newsletter.
We were motivated by a "Wise" investment world whose resources and inclinations were often brought to bear against common Fools, against individual investors and our pooled interest. Young lads still in just our mid-20s, we couldn't sit idly by as the financial world exploited individuals who, due to our society's lack of education about money, were uninformed. Our belief in education, plain talk, and common sense, mixed with one of the truly important subjects in the world -- money -- was the secret formula behind the passion of our Foolish venture. And these same beliefs and passion are what motivate us just as much -- with many more capabilities -- 10 years later.
Today, as we celebrate a decade of Foolishness and our never-ending battle against financial conventional wisdom, we declare as strongly as we did in that first issue: "We are Fools, and we're writing for Fools, and we're doing as motley a job of it as we can."
We still hold certain truths to be self-evident, certain truths that haven't changed, and haven't been very popular among some financial-services companies. They include:
- 80% or more of all equity mutual funds actually underperform the stock market's average return, year in and year out -- yet most financial planners regularly recommend actively managed mutual funds to their clients.
- Wall Street, to put it lightly, doesn't have your best interest at heart. Most bankers and brokers are motivated to do what they can to increase their own fees. Whose accounts are those fees coming out of? Look in the mirror. Arm yourself with knowledge and good, independent advice, and proceed eyes wide open, Foolishly.
- You can negotiate the interest rate on your credit cards. Credit card companies pay a lot of money to get you as a customer, and they don't want to lose you.
We are so pleased to be working with 2 million members, Fools from across the globe who are -- every day -- helping us answer that very first question: "What is The Motley Fool?"
What is The Motley Fool? Simple.
The Motley Fool is you. We. The Motley Fool is a great place to figure out your money. The Motley Fool is unique fun. The Motley Fool is a revolution. And it is both a place and a community that will be here your whole life.
Thank you for your help so far in achieving the many successes of our first motley decade. By learning to live below our means, we Fools have paid off millions in credit card debt and have deposited together more than $400 million, and counting, through our Savings Center. We have fought together for equal access to information for individual investors, pressing companies to open their conference calls, and playing a leading role in the SEC's passage of Regulation Fair Disclosure. Through our Foolanthropy program, we have raised together more than $2 million for charities you voted for that exemplify Foolish ideals. And over the long term, our portfolios have all been enriched by profitable investment ideas first encountered, covered, and advocated right here at Fool.com.
And that is really only the beginning.
This August we'll recount many past stories, and celebrate many milestones, in honor of our first decade. We hope you'll join us in the retro-fun we're going to have, playing back some of the "Fool's greatest hits." And as everything in Fooldom is a team effort, if you have a story to share, please post away on the free 10-Year Anniversary discussion board, where we'll be spending some quality time this month.
We close with a bit of Shakespeare: "Motley's the only wear."
-- David and Tom Gardner
P.S. Though we'll reminisce throughout the month, we're also firmly focused on the present -- take a look at our Anniversary Special, 10 Ways to Make More Money Now -- and the future, building toward some exciting new introductions on Fool.com this fall.