CAMPAIGNS: Weekly Web Watch - Motley Fool strips away finance fear

Subject: The Motley Fool

Subject: The Motley Fool

Issue: Survey of public awareness of finance


The Motley Fool is a web site founded in the US by brothers David and

Tom Gardner to demystify the world of personal finance. Its name, as

explained on the site, derives from Elizabethan drama, where only the

court jester could tell the King the truth without getting his head

lopped off.

The UK site has been operational for 18 months, ’dedicated to educating,

amusing and enriching individuals in search of the truth,’ the truth

being that the ’financial world preys on ignorance and fear.’

Sadly, though, despite the Fool’s determination, its messages are taking

time to get through to the general public. A recent survey carried out

by the Motley Fool and published on its web site found that there is

still widespread ignorance about basic financial concepts. While 86 per

cent of the 1,000 people questioned said they believed investing for old

age had become imperative, the majority of those questioned had no

practical idea of how to sensibly invest their money.

More than two thirds of Britons don’t know what the FTSE 100 is, despite

it being quoted daily in the media for nearly 20 years. A similar number

did not know what an ISA was and were unaware that it could give them a

tax break. More than one in ten said an ISA was a specialist financial


Nearly 70 per cent said gold, property or high interest bank accounts

were a better long-term investment than the stock market. One in five

believed that the value of a company was linked to the price of one of

its shares. Commenting on the results, Chief Fool David Berger said:

’The basics of money are easy to learn. Instead, the message we get is

that money is difficult, boring, and frankly beyond us. That is wrong

and we’ll continue in our campaign to ensure the subject is taught

effectively in our schools.’

The rest of the web site is a real eye-opener for anyone holding the

view that personal investment is dull, and the irreverent,

straightforward tone is refreshing. The home page appears baffling to

the first-time user as there is so much to see, but there is a guided


The site is a mixture of comment and analysis, with areas including ’Ten

steps to investing Foolishly,’ which of course refers to the style of

the piece, rather than the specific recommendations. Fool’s Eye View is

the comment spot, and there are also special features on subjects such

as women’s finance. Stock Market reports, share price analysis, and

company reports and accounts are all covered in the Fool’s inimitable


A daily summary of Motley Fool’s editorial comment and features is also

available on the business news section of Yahoo. If the Motley Fool

keeps up the good work, there is a chance that its messages will start

getting through to the public

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