One of the great things about the day and age we currently live in is that there are TONS of tools and companies out there that offer free services in the financial realm.
With so many options, how do you choose what’s best? Well, that’s what this post is about. Using a few, critical tools that can help you understand where you are at financially.
We are going to talk about three tools today. One focused on understanding all your accounts, one to help you understand your credit score and the other is an automated investing service.
Let’s jump in!
One of my favorite tools is Personal Capital. It is designed so that you can link all your accounts to their dashboard to get a complete picture of your financial life.
Early on, Personal Capital was one of the most helpful tools in visualizing all our accounts. It creates easily readable graphs and charts that are fun and make you feel smart, not dumb like some services out there.
Lastly, Personal Capital allows you to see if you are in good shape for retirement based on the data that is linked in your accounts.
This is extremely helpful to give you a high-level understanding of where you sit. You no longer have to sit down with a financial advisor and have them tell you what you can know in an hour of time spent in Personal Capital.
Credit Karma is another one of those tools that I’ve used since the early days. Your credit score is one of the most overlooked yet important aspects of your financial life.
If you have a poor credit score you will literally end up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars more over a lifetime in additional interest charges.
For example, the difference in a 4.0% interest rate and a 5.5% interest rate on a $250,000 mortgage over 30 years.
Credit Karma is one of the only true free ways to keep up with your credit score. It is not like the other scam like sites that tell you will get a free report and then charge you.
The best part about it, is that is also extremely easy to navigate and get set up. It will take you just a few minutes to get your account set up. You can do it here.
Saving this one for last because it, like the other, is one of my favorites. If you are aware of the robo investing services out there you are aware they continue to pop up and it’s hard to know which ones to trust. Betterment is one you can trust.
However, that now only applies to its Betterment Digital offering. Betterment Plus includes an annual planning call with a team of financial advisors and requires a $100,000 balance, and Betterment Premium, which includes unlimited access to those advisors, requires $250,000.
There is a very affordable 0.25% annual investing fee but if you are just getting started with an IRA or other account, this can be a great place to hold it if you want to set it and forget it.
One of my favorite things about this platform is that you can adjust your risk tolerance. Basically, you can set easily how much of your money you want in riskier stocks vs more tolerant bonds.
This is important for younger folks who want to invest but want total control over their allocation.
Additionally, betterment is amazing because you can set goals for your saving.
When you sign it, it will take you through a goal process. It will ask your age and current annual income and will let you pick your goals based on your target retirement amount. When you set a goal, it will suggest an allocation and how much you need to add to your account each month to get there.
This can be done very quickly and becomes quite addicting to see how you can reach your financial goals over time. It will really give you the motivation to start your investment or IRA account early!
If you are looking for new tools to help inspire you to reach your goals, these can certainly help. During this process, I encourage you to consider other tools that are like these and think critically about what will be best for you.
I do recommend these because I have used them for several years now and absolutely love them.
Overall, tools can be fun to play with to project retirement savings and see your net worth but ultimately, they do not set the strategy. You do. If you want to take your personal finance to the next level, enter your email below and we'll send you our free budget and goal setting guide.
If you want help developing those habits check out our Ultimate Guide on Budgeting or read more about how a Minimalist Lifestyle Can Help you 5x Your Financial Goals.
What about you? Do you have any favorite financial tools you use daily? I know there are a ton out there. Share them with us in the comments and tell us the top things you like about them.
Zack & Jen
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