After the TSP, I invest my money in Betterment and Vanguard. I track all of my investments with Personal Capital. I also wrote a short, 2 hour book summarizing this site. You can buy it here.
UPDATE: The Military OneSource H&R Block free online tax filing service is live!
According to myPay, all 2012 tax statements for US military personnel (active, Reserve, Guard, civilian, retired) will be available before the end of January 2013. Once you get your W2 pdf, the fun part starts…filing your 2012 tax return! The best free, online tax filing option for US Military servicemembers that I’ve found is H&R Block offered by Military OneSource.
Military OneSource Offers Free 2012 Tax Filing Software for Military
Military OneSource is “a free service provided by the Department of Defense to active duty, Guard, and Reserve service members and their families.” It is provided at no cost and offers counseling services and information for all aspects of military life including deployments, relationships, grief, education, parenting, and financial planning.
Every year, Military OneSource provides an outstanding benefit when they offer free tax filing service through H&R Block. I’ve used this service for my 2011 and 2010 taxes. I have nothing but good things to say about the product and customer support. Prior to 2010 I used Turbotax. The software is very similar. You will be asked a series of questions to fill out your IRS Form 1040 and then you can automatically import most of your 1099 and W2 forms as well. You could have your taxes done in less than an hour!
Some of the advantages to the H&R Block Military OneSource product are:
- complete and electronically file your federal and up to three state tax filings electronically,
- check e-file status,
- rest easy knowing H&R Block is by your side in the rare event of an audit, and
- experience 100 percent accurate calculations or H&R Block pays penalties and interest.
Another great service provided by Military OneSource is a free tax consultant hotline! From the Mil OneSource blog:
If you have questions about this tax service or about preparing your own tax returns, please call 1-800-342-9647 and ask to speak with a Military OneSource tax consultant. Trained tax consultants are available 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., EST.
For more frequently asked questions, refer to this article here.
How to Get your Free Tax Refund from Military OneSource
- Go to this link. Create an account on Military OneSource. This proves that you are a military servicemember.
- Once you’ve created an account, go to the H&R Block Military Exclusive site.
- Start filling in your information and file for free!
Instead of paying $20-50 for the same software, just file your 2012 federal and state tax return in 2013 for free through H&R Block, brought to you by Military OneSource. There’s nothing better than getting your tax refund from the government and not paying for it!
2 Websites I Use to Achieve Financial Independence Faster
I have investment accounts all over the place. To keep track of all of them in one place I use Personal Capital. It combines all of my accounts, shows me where I may be overpaying in fees, and provides beautiful charts showing my overall asset allocation and performance.
I use Personal Capital to track my Roth and Traditional TSP, Vanguard IRAs, banking accounts, SDP, and my Betterment taxable account, all in one place. It's free, secure and presents me with a one-stop dashboard so I can see all my money on one site.
Read my full review of Personal Capital and see how easy it can be to manage your investments in one place. Trust me, once you try it, you'll love it.
P.S. - If you have over $100,000 of assets and a 401k, you really need to run the Personal Capital 401k Fee Analyzer.
The best way I know to achieve financial independence is to keep your investments simple, diversified, automatic, and low-cost. Costs eat into your returns like you wouldn't believe! A 1% difference in expense ratios can mean $100,000s lost to fees over a lifetime of investing.
Even if you're a DIY (do-it-yourself) investor like I am, you need to check out Betterment. You can read my full review here, but the bottom line is for only $250 per $100,000 invested (0.25% expense ratio) you get simple, diversified, and automated investing. In addition every account now gets free Tax Loss Harvesting+ features, which should increase returns for the average investor more than the minuscule management fee.
If you're not a DIY investor or are just getting started with investing, then you definitely need to check out Betterment. It's what I recommend to my family and friends who aren't strong investors or don't care to learn about asset allocations, diversification, or rebalancing.