Schaeffer’s Investment Research provides stock and options recommendations, options education, and market commentary. Schaeffer’s Investment Research’s current location is listed as being in Cincinnati, Ohio.

I subscribed to Schaeffer’s Investment Research hoping to use this system to supplement my current strategy, and to discover some big winners. Schaeffer’s Investment Research is known for their options picks; but before I would consider putting my hard earned money into any options recommendations (given the extremely risky nature of options), I wanted to see how the stock recommendations performed (I actually ended up subscribing to “Schaeffer’s Players” options service as a result of one of their sales promotions, and the results were abysmal).Before I signed up for the subscription, I browsed online to read some reviews of what other subscribers had to say about the subscription. It was very difficult to find many, if any positive reviews on any facet of Schaeffer’s Investment Research. While these reviews should have scared me away, I pursued a subscription anyways. After all, if Schaeffer’s could produce just a couple of the huge winners the site boasted, it seemed the subscription could be well worth the cost.

First things first, Schaeffer’s Daily Bulletin costs $59 a month, $149 a quarter, or $495 on a yearly basis. With this cost you are supposed to receive “the most important market-moving news each morning before the opening bell rings”. This subscription includes a “Featured Stock” with in-depth analysis, daily commentary, and daily bull/bear list of stock ideas. Unfortunately, what you actually receive is nowhere near the advertised offering.

Schaeffer’s Daily Bulletin is supposed to offer their “market-moving” news before the opening bell rings each day. When I signed up I assumed that I would receive this newsletter early in the morning, thus giving me the opportunity to read over any analysis presented, do any additional due diligence required, and then act upon the advice on the opening bell. The problem with my assumption is that you actually receive these emails around 9:15- 9:20 EST each day (There were even days when I didn’t receive the email until 11 am!), which does not give much time (if any at all) to act upon any suggested trades. I am not sure why Bernie doesn’t send the email out to subscribers the night before as it would give subscribers time to make an educated decision, but that still would not improve the quality of his recommendations.

I believe the only potentially positive thing I could think to list in this review would be that Schaeffer’s Investment Research does not require you to download any complicated software. Other than that, I really could not find anything else positive to say about this system. You receive about 3 bull stock picks and 3 bear stock picks daily, with the closing price of the previous day listed. There are no entry points or parameters suggested at all except for the single “featured stock” of the day. I am not sure what required parameters a stock needs to meet before being recommended to subscribers, or if there are any at all. It seems as though Bernie typically recommends bullish positions on stocks that have a large amount of short interest, hoping that some rebounded strength in the stock could force short sellers to cover their losing positions and drive the price up. Essentially, it seems as though Bernie recommends positions with a contrarian view, for example: “everyone else thinks this stock is going to go down, so I think it is going to go up”. Although, it appears he also recommends bearish positions on stocks that have a large amount of short interest, but in this case he is hoping that a stock that has recently rebounded will be driven back down by short sellers. Again, I am not exactly sure what Bernie’s required parameters are, these assumptions are made based off of the descriptions of the “featured stock” as to why it has been chosen. Whatever his strategy is, it is not very successful.

I personally had multiple technical problems while using Schaeffer’s Daily Bulletin, as I did not have access to any sort of portfolio, there were links to the recommended stocks that did not work when I clicked on them, there were no charts being displayed showing entry/ exit points, I got nothing. I sent in multiple emails which were ignored, and when I finally received an answer I was not pleased with the response I received. I was told that the positions may generate ideas for long or short position but no analysis would be provided on anything other than the featured stock. The links that were in the email had previously redirected the user to the screener section of the website but this no longer exists hence why I kept getting the ‘page not found’ message. Afterward, I was reminded that Bernie’s primary focus is the options market. So apparently the Daily Bulletin service offered on Bernie Schaeffer’s site is not paid as much as attention as their options services. I also sent in multiple emails requesting to look at Bernie’s overall portfolio or some sort of measurable track record for his recommendations, and my emails were ignored.

After countless emails I finally got a response and was able to take a look at Bernie’s performance for the past 12 months. I thought Bernie’s stock picks were poor before I had a chance to look at their actual track record, as the vast majority of stocks recommended seemed to do the exact opposite of what they were supposed to do. Once I had the chance to take a look at their stated performance it only proved my theory that Bernie’s stock picking strategy is much like throwing darts at a dart board. The track record I received was a 12 month rolling track record from August of 2014 to July of 2015, and listed 185 trades yielding a NEGATIVE -18.25% for the year. The report I got stated that the portfolio start was $20,000 and the portfolio ending as of 7/31/15 was $16,350.70. Out of the 185 recommended trades there were 114 losers, giving Bernie an approximate 38.38% success rate. Yes, you read that correctly… a 38% success rate! It is mind blowing to me that a service such as Bernie’s are still around, with such an awful track record. It is worth noting that when counting the losers, I did not include any trades that held a 0% gain as a loss. It is also worth noting that a vast amount of the “winners” only gained a fraction of 1%, which is hardly anything to brag about. After looking through all the numbers it seemed as though Bernie did an accurate job of recording the transactions, but there was no way to verify Bernie’s entry and exit points against the recommended prices except for the transactions that occurred during my subscription. Assuming that all numbers are recorded accurately, that still means that an investor following Bernie’s recommendations would have a portfolio that yielded a negative -18.25% for the year as stated by the company’s own records. I actually sent an email in and asked why (with such a poor track record) anyone would ever subscribe to their service instead of simply purchasing an index fund or even annuity of some sort, and again my email was ignored. Nonetheless, the disastrous portfolio and poor recommendations only solidified my decision, and I therefore cancelled my subscription. My only regret was that I did not cancel sooner.

The last pain point worth writing about is Bernie Schaeffer’s excessive sales strategy. It is truly the most relentless sales strategy I have ever experienced, with any product. The same day that I signed up for my subscription I received an offer for Bernie’s “Overnight Trader” subscription (which according to Bernie normally costs $2,990 for 2 years) for only $495, but I only had until midnight to make my decision. After I chose not to pursue the subscription I got an email letting me know Bernie extended the offer’s expiration one more day just to get me to sign up. So within 24 hours of signing up for a subscription that I was not familiar with, I had to decide if I wanted ANOTHER expensive subscription on top of the one I just signed up for. Not even two days later I got another similar email only this time it was for Bernie’s “Weekend Trader” and it was the same scenario, offering some large discount which I had to act on immediately. This barrage of emails was the only consistency during my time as a subscriber for Bernie Schaeffer’s Investment research and it got to be very old, very fast.

To conclude, Bernie Schaeffer’s “Daily Bulletin” is by far the worst performing, and most poorly managed investment subscription I have ever encountered. The “recommendations” given by Bernie should hardly be considered sound investment advice, by the loosest of standards. Most of the recommendations are not accompanied with so much as an explanation as to why that particular stock is being recommended to move in a certain direction. Bernie and his staff are entirely too focused on driving sales, instead of making sure the services they offer are up to par with their advertisements. For $495 a year, there are much better systems available. When most services say “The Results speak for themselves” it is usually meant it in a good way, in this case the results truly do speak volumes about the quality of this service. Heed my warning, and stay away!