Most Loved Resources
You asked. I’m answering.
I’m frequently asked what companies, tools, and services I love. There are a lot of companies I’ve tried and don’t love, but these are some of the ones that I actually enjoy using.
For my cash:
Capital One 360
There are a lot of banks out there and this is the one I picked back in 2005 (when it was ING direct) and I’ve stuck with it. What do I like? There are no monthly maintenance fees for their savings or checking accounts. Transfers are simple. Customer service is great. And I can have up to 25 savings account and nickname them whatever I like. Plus, their interest rate is one of the highest out there. It’s hard to get that excited about a bank, but this one is pretty great.
I don’t like budgets, but I do love a good spending plan. Qapital was designed for people just like me. You can set savings goals (like a vacation) and create rules that help you reach that goal faster. For example, if you set a “spend less” rule of $20 per week at Starbucks, each week that you spend less than $20, the difference will be saved toward one of your goals. As I’m self employed and need to save for taxes, I set a rule that each time I have a client payment come in, Qapital will immediately save money for taxes. Lifesaver. The savings feature has zero fees, which separates it from other apps.
Instead of making saving money a negative, depriving experience, Qapital actually makes it kind of fun (and easy). I’m also a fan of the app because one of my professors from business school is the company’s chief behavioral economist. And guys, he’s really smart.
For my investments:
Robo advising is all the rage right now, and there are a lot of options to choose from. I use Wealthfront for a taxable investing account, but you can use them for so many other types of investment accounts (think: retirement, college savings, etc). They have low fees (0.25% + cost of the funds), they’re extremely easy to use, and so far their customer service has been incredibly helpful. Getting an account set up was quick and easy. The Chief Investment Officer is also the author of one of my favorite personal finance books, A Random Walk Down Wall Street.
I’m a big fan of passive investing (ie: index funds & ETF’s. Read what an index fund is here) and have been using Vanguard for nearly a decade. It’s slightly geared toward a DIY investor, and we use it for a lot of different investment accounts, including retirement, our taxable investing accounts, and our son’s 529. The fees are even lower (some of their funds get down to 0.04%), which means you keep more of the money you make. They also have great customer service and do offer the ability to speak to advisors, but I haven’t used that service.
For my life:
Like most people, I have money all over. Different checking and savings accounts, retirement accounts, mortgages, a 529 account, etc. This made keeping track of everything a bit of a chore. A chore that I never did. Jordan and I use Personal Capital as a way to get an instant snapshot of our money. It’s a free tool that you can connect all of your bank and investment accounts to so you can check your balances by just logging in in one place.
Aside from keeping things organized, I love being able to easily see details using their investment analyzer tool (which will show you how much you pay in fees), and the retirement planning tool (which shows you whether you’re on track for retirement). They also have paid investment services, which I haven’t used. I currently just use the free account to keep everything organized and easy.
See a full video tutorial of the tool and my review in this article.
For my debt:
I had student loans. A lot of them. Over $100k from business school. One of the great things I did to help me pay them off in 3.5 years was to refinance. I used SoFi to refinance to a much lower rate, which decreased my monthly payments. If you don’t need to use federal loan protections (income-based repayment and loan forgiveness), you might be interested in refinancing. The process was incredibly easy and now that I’m debt-free, I obviously couldn’t be more thrilled with the result.
PS: wondering if refinancing is right for you? Join The Worth Project by entering your information below and get access to a full library of free resources, including a student loan refinancing guide.
*Some of these are affiliate links, but I do love and use all of these products. For more information, please see this disclosure.