Oxford Income Letter Review: I Tried It, Here’s What I Found

I’ve seen a lot of Oxford Income Letter “reviews” online, but most of them seem to be written by people who’ve never actually tried the service.

So I decided to “take the plunge” and pay the $49 to try it out myself.

Not only did I want to know what Marc Lichtenfeld’s service (actually) had to offer, but I knew that joining and taking the time to properly explore the member’s area would allow me to share a much better and more authentic review for my readers.

So, if you want to know if it’s worth it or not, stick around!

Ahead, I’ll show you exactly what went down after joining, show you what the newsletter involves, and give you a peek at how the model portfolio has performed.

About The Oxford Income Letter

The Oxford Income Letter is an investment research service edited by the Oxford Club’s “Chief Income Strategist,” Marc Lichtenfeld. And its core focus is showing subscribers how to earn income by investing in dividend stocks and different types of bonds.

When you first sign up, there’s a “welcome issue” that gives you some background on Lichtenfeld’s career and how his investment strategy works.

And according to that, he has developed a “10-11-12 dividend investing system,” which supposedly underpins the recommendations he shares with subscribers.

How does it work?

Well, in case you’re not familiar with dividends, these are simply a distribution of profits made by a public company to its shareholders.

And according to Lichtenfeld, his “time-tested strategy” is designed to help subscribers achieve “11% yields in 10 years” or “12% average annual returns” in 10 years.

“The Oxford Income Letter uses a simple, time-tested strategy that’s designed to help you achieve 11% yields in 10 years or 12% average annual returns in 10 years with dividends reinvested… Hence, 10-11-12.”

– Marc Lichtenfeld (source: welcome issue of the Oxford Income Letter)

Very few companies pay double-digit dividend yields, and the stocks in Lichtenfeld’s model portfolio are no exception to this. Almost all of them are yielding below 10%.

So it’s not like Lichtenfeld’s picks are all super high-yielding stocks.

They’re not.

Instead, he finds what he believes are great dividend-paying companies and shows you how to reinvest your earnings into more shares to achieve compound growth.

As such, this service is probably best suited to long-term investors and those who are more interested in earning income than seeing big gains in the stock price.

I’ll delve more into the types of investments Marc Lichtenfeld recommends in the model portfolio shortly, but that’s the general gist of his strategy.

Everything you get access to as a subscriber (newsletters, stock picks, training, etc.) is aimed at helping you generate income through dividends and bonds.

The Oxford Income Letter Member’s Area

To get started with the Oxford Income Letter service, the first thing you need to do is visit the Oxford Club website and join the service, which costs $49 or more, depending on which membership tier you select (more on this toward the end of the review).

And once you sign up, you can log in to the member’s area:

The Oxford Club member's area website.
The Oxford Club member’s area website.

As you can see, the moment you log in, there are a bunch of ads plastered on the page, prompting you to “upgrade” or join other services the company offers.

Frankly, it’s very pushy and annoying.

Anyway, there’s a link on that page that takes you to the Oxford Income Letter subscription “home page,” and that’s where you get access to what the service offers.

The Oxford Income Letter subscription home page.
The Oxford Income Letter subscription home page.

I’ve joined quite a few newsletter services over the years, and despite all the ads they sprinkle around the site, I don’t actually mind the layout of this member area.

The page you can see above contains a “getting started” section, a weekly updates section, and links to all the other aspects of the service that you would want to check out, such as newsletter issues, portfolios, research reports, videos, and more.

There’s also a side menu that takes you to the different areas of the membership, which can help you navigate to pages easier as you browse the site.

That’s the gist of it, anyway.

Ahead, I’ll walk you through the different main areas of the site to help give you a better idea of what to expect as a member.

Model Portfolio Stock Picks

There are four distinct model portfolios within the Oxford Income Letter member’s area, and each one is designed to cater to different investment goals.

  • Instant Income Portfolio
  • Compound Income Portfolio
  • High Yield Portfolio
  • Fixed Income Portfolio

In this section, I’ll show you what each portfolio is and how it’s performed.

One thing I want to emphasize, however, is that the Oxford Income Letter doesn’t give you a complete list of its closed (aka sold) recommendations.

As such, the only way to get an accurate idea of how the service has performed since its inception would be to dig through a decade’s worth of newsletter/update archives to try to piece it all together, which no person in their right mind would do.

My point? What you see in the model portfolios as a subscriber is only PART of the overall picture regarding the service’s overall performance. The actual long-term performance of the service, including the winning and losing closed picks, could be very different.

Anyway, with that said, let’s dig into the four different portfolios…

Instant Income Portfolio

This portfolio currently has five stocks in it, and according to Lichtenfeld, it’s designed for “investors who want cash today and more of it tomorrow.”

He also says that the stocks in this portfolio “have a track record of strong dividend raises” and that the goal of the portfolio is to help subscribers “boost income every year,” working toward the eventual goal of building a double-digit yield on your original cost base.

Here’s a preview of this portfolio:

The Instant Income portfolio (last updated December 5, 2022).
The Instant Income portfolio (last updated December 5, 2022).

As you can see, these picks are doing pretty well.

All five recommendations are up, and factoring in the dividend gains, two of his picks in this portfolio have more than doubled. Not bad.

Keep in mind, however, that his portfolio, like the others I’m about to discuss, only contains OPEN (aka “active”) recommendations. So the performance is subject to change as market prices fluctuate each day the market is open.

Compound Income Portfolio

According to Lichtenfeld, this portfolio is “designed for wealth seekers” and makes use of something called dividend reinvestment plans (DRIPs).

In short, a DRIP allows shareholders to reinvest their dividends back into additional shares instead of collecting the cash each month or quarter, for example. And this can allow investors to compound their returns over time by accumulating more shares.

Hence the name “Compound Income Portfolio.”

As of writing, there are 23 stocks in this portfolio, and all except for five picks are up, while eight are triple-digit winners. Again, not bad.

Here’s a preview of the portfolio so you can see for yourself:

The Compound Income portfolio (last updated December 5, 2022).
The Compound Income portfolio (last updated December 5, 2022).

If you’re wondering why I’ve blurred out the tickers and prices, that’s out of respect for the fact that this is a paid service.

I have exposed many of Marc Lichtenfeld’s stock picks on this blog by looking into his stock teaser presentations, but those were all guesses based on information he’s shared publicly, not stuff I learned as a member of the service.

Nevertheless, what I’ve shared is more than most “reviews” I’ve seen have done, and it should be enough to help give you a general idea of how his picks are doing.

High Yield Portfolio

Lichtenfeld states (in the “welcome issue” I mentioned earlier) that this portfolio is “geared toward investors who are able to take on more risk in return for higher yields.”

There are only three picks in there right now, and ironically, the yields aren’t that high compared to some of his other picks. But from what I understand, these are basically stocks he considers riskier but that typically pay higher yields.

Here’s a preview of it:

The High Yield portfolio (last updated December 5, 2022).
The High Yield portfolio (last updated December 5, 2022).

Marc Lichtenfeld suggests using a “customary 25% trailing stop” with this portfolio, as he does with the previous portfolios. And this is basically a way to help limit the downside risk of the stock price tanking, which is always a possibility.

Dividend investing is often perceived as being “safer” than speculating on growth stocks, and perhaps there is truth in that. But there’s always the chance of losing money in the market.

The dividend yield might be great, but what if the stock price tanks?

Fixed Income Portfolio

The last portfolio on the list consists of bonds.

From what I understand, these picks are meant to be held to maturity over a period of years or even decades in some cases. And it consists of a mix of “blue chip” corporate bonds, U.S. treasuries, and a couple of other alternative bonds.

This is easily the most conservative portfolio of the bunch, too.

Unlike dividend stocks, the idea is that you get your original investment back upon maturity while collecting interest along the way.

The yields in this portfolio are pretty low in comparison to the others, too, but that makes sense when you consider the risk/reward factor.

Model Portfolio Updates (April 2023)

I decided to log in to the Oxford Income Letter to see how the portfolios were doing, and the following are some updated screenshots to show you what I found:

Instant Income Portfolio (last updated April 19, 2023).
Instant Income Portfolio (last updated April 19, 2023).
Compound Income Portfolio (last updated April 19, 2023).
Compound Income Portfolio (last updated April 19, 2023).
High Yield Portfolio (last updated April 19, 2023).
High Yield Portfolio (last updated April 19, 2023).

Monthly Newsletter

The monthly newsletter is the bread and butter of the Oxford Income Letter service.

This is where Marc Lichtenfeld shares his core investment insights, latest recommendations, and updates on the existing picks in the portfolio.

Here’s a preview to show you what it looks like:

The Oxford Income Letter newsletter
The Oxford Income Letter newsletter

The way it works is similar to most newsletters, but what stood out to me with this one is that it was very relevant to what’s going on in the market.

For example, in the latest issue (November 2022), Lichtenfeld talked about the Federal Reserve, interest rates, and inflation. He also shared his view on the possibility of an upcoming recession, which is something many investors are concerned about.

Another thing that stood out to me was the way Lichtenfeld analyzes different companies. He breaks down the investment case for a given company in a very logical, value-investing-style manner, and I found it very informative.

It’s easy to follow along with, too. Even if you’re a beginner. And there are plenty of resources in the member’s area designed to help you learn more about his approach.

There’s also a section in each newsletter issue from Kristin Orman, which gives you a more “zoomed-out” look at the market in general.

Section of The Oxford Income Letter newsletter by Kristin Orman.
Section of the newsletter by Kristin Orman.

I don’t know much about Kristin Orman, but she comes across as very knowledgeable, and this section of the newsletter is quite interesting.

One last aspect of the newsletter that I think is worth mentioning is the “Marc’s mailbag” part at the end. In short, this is a section where Lichtenfeld answers questions that readers have sent in about the service or strategy in general.

It’s unlikely that all of the questions will be relevant to what you want to know, but chances are you will come across some questions/answers here that may be relevant to something you’re curious about, so this does add an extra layer of value.

Other Aspects of the Service

Aside from what we’ve just discussed, there are several different sections of the Oxford Income member’s area designed to help subscribers get more out of the service.

Here’s a quick overview of these:

  • Reports: There are currently 20 different “special reports” available in the member’s area. These mostly detail different investments Lichtenfeld has recommended over the years, but some discuss his investment strategy in general.
  • Updates: Each week, Lichtenfeld provides a written update on his existing recommendations and shares his latest thoughts on the market. These are basically shortened versions of the monthly newsletter.
  • Training: Aside from the newsletters and reports, there are a lot of resources in the member’s area aimed at helping subscribers learn how to invest. For example, there are several “getting started” articles, a video series, and an audio library.
  • Mailbag: The Oxford Income “mailbag” section is where you can access an archive of all the subscriber questions Lichtenfeld has answered. You can also view the latest Q&As at the end of each newsletter, but this is a page that puts them all in one place.

Who Is Marc Lichtenfeld, Anyway?

Marc Lichtenfeld is the “Chief Income Strategist” for The Oxford Club, the Baltimore-based company behind the Oxford Income Letter service.

Marc Lichtenfeld
Marc Lichtenfeld

According to his profile on investmentu.com, Lichtenfeld has “more than three decades of experience” in the market, and the Oxford Club website states that he’s worked as a trader, senior analyst, and fund manager throughout his career.

His various profiles on sites run by the Oxford Club state that Lichtenfeld began his career as a trader for Carlin Equities before working for Avalon Research Group as a senior analyst.

He has also written two investment-related books, which are both available on Amazon. One is called “Get Rich With Dividends,” and the other, “You Don’t Have to Drive an Uber in Retirement.”

These days, Lichtenfeld is probably best known for his work as a stock-picker for the Oxford Club, where he runs five different services (Oxford Income Letter, Technical Pattern Profits, Penny Options Trader, Oxford Bond Advantage, and Oxford Centurion).

He also contributes to a blog called Wealthy Retirement.

How have Lichtenfeld’s stock picks performed?

Given Marc Lichtenfeld runs five different services, it’s impossible to know how well his recommendations have performed overall without joining all of them.

However, you can get some idea of how his picks have worked out by looking at what I shared about the model portfolio earlier.

And aside from that, I’ve researched numerous stock teaser presentations he’s released, which has given me some insight into his recommendations and how they’ve performed.

As you might expect, some have done well, while others have flopped.

For example, my research of his “Biotech Royalty” (June 2022) and “Era of Valorem” (January 2022) stock teaser pitches shows that he has recommended the following companies:

  • Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc
  • Enterprise Products Partners LP
  • AbbVie Inc

And all three of those are up since he teased them.

As a caveat, however, those are guesses based on his stock teaser presentations, so there’s no guarantee I’m right on those. Also, even if I am right, it would depend on if/when he recommended selling each pick as to how successful they have been.

Anyway, as for the duds…

I wrote about an April 2022 presentation Lichtenfeld released about a “tiny crypto stock” (and one other related pick), and my research suggested that those were Galaxy Digital Holdings Ltd and Canaan Inc, both of which are way down since then.

Also, as a side note, the above stocks were teased as part of a service called Predictive Profits, which is no longer running. From what I can tell, this service has been replaced by his new service, Oxford Centurion.

In any case, you can see the full Marc Lichtenfeld archive page for more info, but those are some recent examples of companies he has teased, and the results are mixed.

Is Lichtenfeld the real deal?

Marc Lichtenfeld does seem to be a real investment expert, but that doesn’t mean his stock picks will make you rich. At the end of the day, you may learn a lot from him as a subscriber, but how his picks will perform in the future is impossible to predict.

And it’s probably wise to assume that at least some of them will be stinkers, just as some of his past picks have been.

Still, Lichtenfeld has recommended some great stocks in his time, and his flagship Oxford Income Letter service has a solid rating on Stock Gumshoe (4.6/5 out of almost 4k reviews at the time of writing), which is pretty good for a newsletter service.

Not to mention, while I’m not a fan of the Oxford Club’s marketing tactics, this is a legitimate company and one of the more well-known financial publishers in the space.

Cost and Refund Policy

The Oxford Income Letter has three price tiers:

  • Standard: $49
  • Premium: $79
  • Deluxe: $129

Each option gives you access to the same service but comes with different bonus offers and perks, which differ depending on when you sign up.

Also worth mentioning is that the service automatically renews at $79 after the first 12 months, regardless of which subscription “level” you chose.

What about the refund policy?

According to the Oxford Club website, The Oxford Income Letter comes with a “365-day full-refund guarantee.” I haven’t tried to obtain a refund for this (nor do I intend to), so I can’t say for sure how reliable it is, but I’m reasonably confident they’d honor it.

Pros and Cons of Oxford Income Letter

What I like:

  • The newsletter is great for people interested in learning about Marc Lichtenfeld’s income investing strategy and ideas. It’s comprehensive, easy to consume, and there’s a Q&A section at the end which adds another element of value to it.
  • The member’s area is full of content (video, audio, text) that teaches you about Lichtenfeld’s strategy and investment ideas.
  • Most of his “open” stock picks have done really well (although, as mentioned, that only shows you part of the overall picture).
  • The price of a one-year subscription is low, and the refund policy is good compared to many other newsletters.

What I don’t like:

  • The marketing inside the member’s area is very annoying. On any given page, you are subjected to links and banners prompting you to “upgrade” your membership and/or join other services the company and its affiliates run.
  • As with most newsletter services I’ve reviewed, the Oxford Income Letter is not upfront about how its “closed” recommendations have performed, which makes it virtually impossible to properly evaluate how Lichtenfeld’s picks have done overall.

Bottom Line: Is It Worth Joining?

The Oxford Income Letter is a pretty decent newsletter for the price.

Aside from the monthly newsletter issues, subscribers get access to weekly updates, research reports, and several other resources focused on income investing.

So, if you’re looking to get started with income investing (in particular, bonds and dividend stocks) then this could be worth checking out.

However, one thing I would say to those considering joining is to be prepared for the onslaught of marketing coming your way.

At the end of the day, the Oxford Club is a profit-driven business.

And while there’s obviously nothing wrong with that, and their services do provide value, they make their money by pitching you their higher-priced services inside the member’s area, within their writings, via email… and any other way they can.

Not only can this be very irritating over time, but not all of their services come with a cash refund policy either, so it pays to read the fine print before making any decisions.

Either way, whatever you decide, the most important thing to know is that there is no guarantee that the service will help you make money.

Hopefully, Lichtenfeld’s picks will work out well, but nobody has a crystal ball, so it’s always possible you could lose money, as with any newsletter service.

Anyway, I hope what I’ve shared helps you make a more informed choice one way or the other. Thanks for reading, and all the best!

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