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No. of Recommendations: 3
Harvey,

Did anyone out there in fool land have anxiety when they put down the dough to start the PRO SERVICE? I mean, it's a lot of $$$ !!!

I have had anxiety since last week and need some reassurance or some peace of mind on my starting expenses....


Look at it this way: an actively managed hedge fund might charge you 2% of your net assets every year PLUS 20% of any profits they earn-- the common 2-and-20 arrangement. Moving down the expense ladder a bit, an actively managed mutual fund might charge you 1.5% of assets, while a total market index fund at Vanguard is maybe .15% of assets.

Note that all of the above are percentage based fees, even the lowest-cost plans. By contrast, Pro is fixed price, so it gets cheaper on a percentage basis as you increase your working capital. There also are good discounts if you go with a multi-year plan.

So, whether it's money well spent depends partly on what alternative you might consider if you weren't in Pro, and partly how much money you have to put to work. I don't know how much you are paying, but at least one source from a few years ago cited $1,000/year on a multi-year plan (http://caps.fool.com/Blogs/motley-fool-pro-what-am-i/750089)... at that price, Pro would make sense compared to an actively managed mutual fund at around $66,000. And it would be dirt cheap for anyone managing multiple hundreds of thousands.

I took an anonymous poll a few years ago to see what people were putting to work with Pro, and the median response was around $500,000 at the time, with most of the rest using more than $100,000. So it's a good-to-great deal for the vast majority of members.

If you aren't in that category, and are working with $50,000 or less, you might consider part of the expense to be a management fee and part to be an educational fee. You might even consider part to be for entertainment, depending on your notion of fun. In that case it still may make sense even if your working capital is currently low, especially if you plan to add to your capital over time. Eventually you can think of the entire fee as a worthwhile management expense.

I've found the Pro fee pays for itself, and I feel like I'm getting good value, so it doesn't bother me. The first time I paid it, it felt like a risk, but one that was mitigated by the money-back guarantee. I'm not sure what the latest terms and conditions are on the membership fees, but if they are still offering 100% back if not satisfied, then you really have nothing to lose.

Rob
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