I’m frequently asked what companies or products I recommend, so I created a list of different products or services that I personally recommend. These are companies that I either personally use, have used, or extensively researched and am comfortable recommending them. I would not recommend a product that I didn’t believe in and recommend 100%.
Disclosure: There are some affiliate links below, but these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used.
(example: for those who would want to open a Roth IRA (or another type of account) and who wants someone else to pick the mix of investments for them, and manage for them, ongoing, at a very-low cost)
Betterment – Betterment takes the top spot in my book for an all-in-one, online, fully automated investment option. Their proprietary technology guides you through a questionnaire to determine your risk capacity (how aggressive or conservative you want to be). They then recommend a diversified portfolio of funds, with the appropriate amount allocated towards stocks, bonds and cash, given the results of your risk score. The investments inside of the portfolio are Vanguard funds. They can perform automatic rebalancing, which is huge. And they can perform tax-loss-harvesting for non-IRA accounts. Their reporting and tech offering is top-notch. In all, they are an excellent option for someone willing to be a very low fee, for an automated and tech focused option.
Automated Impact – ESG – SRI Investing:
Motif Investing – Motif Investing is an online investing company focused on impact investing. The cool thing about Motif is that you can either create your own portfolio, or you can invest in a ‘motif’, which is a portfolio, or theme, that someone else has created.
Aspiration – Aspiration is an online banking and investing company that allows you to save and invest in a pretty efficient manner, and as they put it, “Banking and investing that puts you and your conscience first.” They have a very limited number of funds to choose from, but overall, I believe they’ll continue to develop.
Net Worth Tracker – Online Account Aggregator
Personal Capital is a one of the leaders in this space, and for good reason. This FREE online tool allows you to link up all your accounts (checking, savings, investment, debts, etc…) and track them, REAL TIME, on your smartphone. Knowledge is power and by monitoring your net worth, overall investment allocation, or progress towards a savings goal by using a tool like this, will give you the knowledge you need to stay on track.
Where to Open a Roth IRA/IRA – DIY Investing – Investing Custodians
TD Ameritrade is at the top for online, discount, quality custodians for the DIY investor. They are my preferred custodian for Registered Investment Advisors as well. TD Ameritrade offers transparent and low pricing on all transactions (currently at $6.95 transaction costs). I’ve personally and professionally used all of the top 5 custodians in the country, and TD just seems to do things the right way. They are supportive of those investors who wish to do it themselves, and have been very supportive of advisors helping investors. Overall, their platform is top-notch and you can have access to a plethora of tools to help you on your investing journey.
Charles Schwab comes in at the top as well, for custodians for DIY investors, AND for Registered Investment Advisors using a custodian on behalf of investors. Super low trading costs (currently $4.95). Very good, long-term reputation of doing things the right way. A pioneer in the investing world. Schwab offers robust analytic tools as well, and has a nice, easy to use dashboard. Also has a nice app to track your investments on your phone, or place trades. Overall, an excellent choice for your investment custodian needs.
Mutual Fund Investment Companies
Vanguard is the 800 pound Gorilla in the room, and for good reason. They are one of, if not the largest fund company in the world and have absolutely pioneered the way for low-cost investing. Jack Bogle started the company with the view that the industry was broken and that we needed transparency, proper fund structure, and l0w-costs. Vanguard is mostly an “index-fund” provider. To keep costs low, tracking an index seems to be the logical method for investing. Vanguard’s premise is to keep costs low, at all cost, and for investors to buy a proper mix of investments based on their individual circumstance, then get out of the way. Simple. Straight forward. No shenanigans. I like that, and that’s why Vanguard gets this spot for me.
Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) is one of the biggest mutual fund companies that nobody has ever heard of. They manage over $300B and are growing rapidly. One of the reasons many haven’t heard of them, is because you can only get them through a qualified advisor. They know that investors who use advisors generally do better, and make better decisions with an advisor, so DFA makes that a requirement. Their mutual funds are built around academic evidence. They have identified “premiums” or “factors” in the market, a.k.a, areas of the market that, over-time, tend to produce higher rates of returns than their benchmarks. Those areas include, stocks (over bonds), value stocks (over growth stocks), and small-cap stocks (over large-cap stocks). Other factors are emerging. DFA pioneered an academically driven investing process and have had tremendous success managing money this way. Their unique and flexible trading capabilities also set them apart and provide a unique advantage as well. Overall, they are a tremendous company, with a great track-record. Morningstar gives them an ‘A’ for their Stewardship Grade. I think that says a lot.
Low Load Insurance – life & disability insurance
Quotacy – online, life insurance quoting engine (run your own quotes)
Finding & Using a Financial Advisor: (no affiliate relationships with these groups)
NAPFA – National Association of Personal Financial Advisors – This is a network of Fee-Only planners. That is key. These are all vetted, fee-only planners who do not accept commissions and who are Certified Financial Planners.
CFP Board (Certified Financial Planner)
XY Planning Network
Garrett Planning Network
The Five-Minute Journal
Starting a Website or Blog:
Bluehost – Bluehost is where you can go to purchase your domain name, and park it, as a host. I prefer Bluehost because their domains are very competitive (although they typically are not the cheapest), and I like having all my domains in one hosting location that has all the tools I need. For me, that’s Bluehost.
Scotts Cheap Flights
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