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“Savvy Seniors” And The Pay Wall: What Shall We Do?


I recently learned that many of my old articles are no longer available to readers unless they subscribe to a Seeking Alpha "PRO" service.

Some of you have suggested I set up a low-priced "Marketplace" service that would, among other things, provide access to the "Savvy Senior" library of previous articles.

I am asking for your advice and feedback as to whether that would be a good idea or not.

If I did it, of course I'd need to add additional features, like "real time" insights into portfolio tweaks, "discoveries" of new investment candidates and additions to the "approved list"

Maybe even create, publish and update a second, lower-risk "widow and orphans" portfolio that targeted a 9% average yield instead of the higher-yield/higher risk Savvy Senior portfolio's current 11%.

A number of you have complained to me that under Seeking Alpha’s more aggressive “pay to play” or, actually, “pay to read” policies, my library of past articles – many of which lay out our “income factory” and “bet on the horses to finish…..” philosophy and strategy - is no longer available to readers unless you sign up for one of the Seeking Alpha paid services.

[NOTE: Have now learned that's not completely true; some articles are available, others are not.]

This annoys me too, but I don’t know any way around it, if I want to remain a free service. However some of my followers have suggested that perhaps I should institute a low-cost subscription service that would include as part of it, along with whatever new “content” bells and whistles I could come up with, the right to access any and all of my past articles.

If I did something like that, I guess the idea would be to continue to have regular quarterly updates of my portfolio and my current take on the financial market (just like I now do), which would still be published free, but add some additional features, like:

  • More frequent updates during the quarter, reporting on tweaks to the portfolio as they were occurring, "discovery" of new funds and investment opportunities, and just generally sharing in more of a "real time" manner the thoughts and ideas I have from day to day that inform my own continually evolving investment strategy
  • Perhaps add a second "model portfolio" that would be a somewhat less risky, "widows and orphans" version of my real-life Savvy Senior portfolio. This would be pitched more to the investor who wants to take an "income factory" approach to growth through re-investment and compounding, but with a slightly less risky selection of funds and ETF/ETNs. It might have fewer (or relatively smaller positions in) the AMZA, MORL, REML, OXLC, DSE, NRO, ECC, VGI, ZF category - i.e. paying 12% and higher - and more of our stalwart but lower yielding old favorites like UTG, EVV, FOF, MPV, BGB, ARDC, etc. with an overall yield goal of 8-9% versus our "stretch" goal of 10-11% in the Savvy Senior portfolio. 
  • Such a "widow and orphans" portfolio would still be a great long-term growth vehicle, since 8-9% yields, compounded, would double your income stream every 8 or 9 years (i.e. divide the yield into 72), so $50,000 would turn into well over $1 million in 40 years. The more aggressive Savvy Senior portfolio would double about every 7 years, so your $50,000 would turn into $2.5 million in 40 years.
  • Having both options - one sort of conventional "high yield" and the other more "ultra-high-yield" (but both well-diversified) might broaden the appeal of our income factory strategy to a broader investor group. It might also allow some followers/subscribers to mix and match and build a portfolio that met their own specific needs better than my current Savvy Senior portfolio, which has been - let's face it - designed around my personal needs and comfort level, and not those of my followers. 
  • The "widows and orphans" portfolio could end up filling a real need, since it actually does reflect the approach I take to managing the portfolios of my sisters, other relatives and close friends for whom I would not be comfortable (nor would they) with a portfolio quite as "high risk, high yield" as my own.

Anyway, those are some thoughts on which I would appreciate your feedback.

As I have said in articles and comments in the past, I haven't been anxious to turn my Seeking Alpha contributions into a "paid service." But if launching a service that was modestly priced (it would have to be much cheaper than SA's PRO service) that essentially involved sharing on a "real time" basis my current ideas, tactics and some additional portfolio strategies had the added benefit of opening up the pay wall on my past articles, it might be of interest to some of you. 

If it is, please let me know. Also please be as specific as you can about what features would be most useful or attractive. And if you think this is a dumb idea, tell me that too.


[Steven Bavaria is a financial writer and consultant. Check out his book Too Greedy for Adam Smith: CEO Pay and the Demise of Capitalism at, and his articles on “income growth” investing on Seeking Alpha.] 

Disclosure: I am/we are long amza, MORL, VGI, ZF, ARDC, MPV, OXLC, ECC, EVV, UTG, REML, DSE, NRO.