Resources & Tools
Mint: My first love. It was actually my first step for trying to understand my spending habits.It is both a web-based application and app that allows you to connect to different types of accounts such as banking, loans, credit cards, investment accounts, etc. Every time you log in your financial data gets updated on demand and it is very well presented in a dashboard-type visualization. It’s free to signup and it is great for tracking your spending and budgeting.
Personal Capital: This has become my go-to place for tracking my net worth. Similar to mint, you can connect to different types of accounts in a very smooth and seamlessly fashion. It’s also free and every time you log your financial data is aggregated and presented in a state of the art dashboard which is just phenomenal. The site also showcases analytics that performs deep dives on your investment accounts.
Ally Bank: today you’ll find lots of options on banking; however, I encourage you to stay away from your typical brick and mortar bank. Instead, consider online savings accounts with banks like Ally. The rate on their savings account is at 1.2% APR at time of writing (120% better than your typical 0.01% APR) and the application process and customer service are second to none. Forget about minimums for opening accounts and ridiculous fees.
Betterment: it’s actually the platform I decided to use when I started investing outside of my tax-deferred accounts. Betterment has leveraged technology and sound investing principles to build portfolios adjusted to your financial goals at a very competitive rate. They invest your money on a basket of Vanguard (mostly) ETFs charging investors a flat annual fee of 0.25% on AUM. They can re-invest dividends, rebalance and harvest losses for tax purposes.
Vanguard: it’s the largest provider of mutual funds and the second largest provider of ETFs. They’re admired by everybody in the personal finance community because they have been proponents and a major enabler of low-cost investing by individuals. My favorite fund is Vanguard’s Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTSAX) which has an expense ratio of 0.04% annually on AUM.
Robinhood: take from the rich and give to the poor … nah, we wish!. Robinhood is a brokerage firm that allows you to buy individual stocks for free. You get to do it all right there on your phone and the process is straightforward. I’m not going to do a review here but I will say this … if you’re really into day trading then you might need something more sophisticated than Robinhood.
Simply Wall St: This company provides tailored dashboards and toolkits via a web and mobile apps to help investors model their portfolios and assess potential returns. It provides information and infographics (The Snowflake) alongside a personalized portfolio analysis and stock recommendations based on investment preferences.
Bank of America Keep the Change Savings Program: I don’t keep a lot of money on my accounts but just enough to keep the preferred customer status that comes with its own set of perks. Interest rates are on the ultra low end; however, I take advantage of their “keep the change” savings program that automates (for free) rounding of expenditures to the nearest amount and taking the difference and parking it on your savings account.
Acorns: a pretty cool app that allows you to connect your card (debit/credit) and when used, transactions are rounded up to the nearest dollar with the difference invested in the stock market via low-cost index funds. The fee is $1/month or $12/year. I thought about using this app; however, I think at $12/year the fee is somewhat steep given the amount invested is relatively small.
Peer to Peer Lending
Lending Club: I’ve been investing with lending club for over 2 years and honestly I’m not impressed. When I got started it took me months to deploy the cash and the returns have been less than stellar. I still have a little bit of money parked there but as I continue to get paid (interest and principal) I will be pulling out. I still think it’s a cool idea but has not met my expectations. Feel free to check it out if you’re interested.
Evernote: This is where I keep my notes including blog posts, ideas, and drafts. It is a cross-platform app designed for note taking, organizing, and archiving. The app allows users to create a “note” which can be a piece of formatted text, a full webpage or webpage excerpt (chrome add-in), a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten “ink” note. Notes can also have file attachments.
Asana: It’s a web and mobile application designed to help teams track their work and improve collaboration. It focuses on allowing users to manage projects and tasks online without the use of email. Each team can create a workspace that contains projects and tasks. In each task, users can add notes, comments, attachments, and tags. Users can follow projects and tasks and, when the state of a project or task changes, followers get updates about the changes in their inboxes.
Slack: it’s a cloud-based set of team collaboration tools and services in the form of a chatting program. Users can create channels based on specific projects and invite the required individuals to the channel. Users can add attachments which can be searched at any given time. It’s normally used by the developer community; however, I find it useful outside for any type of discipline.