After responding to hundreds of individual emails, I thought I’d put together a page where I share what financial products and tools I use to manage my own personal finances. In some cases, there are other good competing products out there, so I’m not necessarily saying “this is the best one, hands down!” but they are the ones I’m using and have been happy with.
You can browse the best products by category here:
- Credit cards
- Stock brokers and investing accounts
- Car insurance companies
- Online savings accounts
- Online checking accounts
- Credit monitoring tools
- Budgeting and spend tracking tools
And here are some of the tools we’re using ourselves right now!
Capital One 360 (Savings Account) — This has been my primary savings account since 2006 (back when it was ING Direct) and it’s home to my emergency fund money I’m saving for goals coming up within a year. It pays a good interest rate (not always the highest, but within the top 5 percent). Better yet it’s phenomenally easy to use and allows you to save for multiple goals all within the same account.
Credit Karma (Credit Score Tracking) — I have a free account with CreditKarma that lets me track my credit score over time and show me how my credit health is doing from time to time. It’s always free. Credit Karma doesn’t replace reviewing my full credit reports at least once a year from annualcreditreport.com, but it’s the best free way I’ve found to see my credit score and see how monthly changes to my finances influence my credit. Click here to read a full review of CreditKarma.
Betterment (Investing) – Betterment is simple, low-cost, and hands-off investing. You select your risk tolerance and Betterment invests your money in stock and bond index funds. Betterment is perfect for short-term savings goals (up to five years out). This is money you don’t need right away, so you can tolerate a little risk for the potential of earning a better return than a simple savings account. Click here to read my full review of Betterment.
Vanguard (Investing) — For longer-term investments like my SEP-IRA, I have an account with Vanguard, the world’s largest mutual fund company. I invest mostly in low-cost index mutual funds that provide wide diversification and have expense ratios that are much lower than actively-managed funds.
TD Ameritrade (Investing) — There’s a lot I like about Vanguard, but it’s not the friendliest place for new investors because most of their mutual funds have $3,000 minimum investments. Before investing with Vanguard I invested with TD Ameritrade which is a perfect online broker for new investors. There’s no minimum to open an account and you can trade almost anything.
Personal Capital (Budgeting/Investing Tracking Software) — Although I’ve reviewed a ton of budgeting apps, I’ve always been a do-it-yourself nerd and preferred my Excel spreadsheets to colorful pie charts. In the last year or so, however, that’s changed with Personal Capital. The free Web app aggregates all of your financial accounts to provide budgeting and spending reviews, but what I love it for is how it aggregates your investments and helps you identify trades to rebalance your investments. Click here to read my full review.