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.
Military servicemembers tend to be a younger, tech savvy bunch that love cars, the latest gadgets, and cell phones. Picking out a Christmas present for them can be difficult, but here’s some gift ideas that almost any military member will find practical, both at home and when deployed.
Amazon ships for free with Amazon Prime to APO/FPO addresses, making it essential for deployments. Amazon Prime is an excellent way to watch thousands of movies and TV shows while away from home. Giving the Gift of Amazon Prime to a servicemember is both a practical gift and provides years of entertainment.
Amazon Prime also just added HBO to their line up for only $15/month extra. Right now you can get a 30 day HBO Free Trial. I just watched Deadpool last weekend and I can’t wait to start Westworld soon. There’s no better way to get through a deployment than to binge watch the entire Game of Thrones series. Ask any servicemember and they would probably be happy with the gift of HBO for Christmas.
Christmas Gift Ideas for Soldiers and Sailors
Here are a few ideas for the servicemember in your life:
- New wallet to replace their crumbling old one.
- Waterproof external battery pack with a built in flashlight.
- Food scale to help with their strength or weight goals.
- Table tennis (ping-pong) to go.
- Universal adapter that works wherever the military may send them.
- Short book on investing to get them started on the journey to financial independence.
- Car mount for cell phone, because you know their using it for directions when driving anyways.
- The highest rated coffee travel mug on Amazon, because you know they love their coffee.
If you are a servicemember, what do you want for Christmas? If you bought a gift for a servicemember this year or last year, what did you get them?
2 Websites I Use to Achieve Financial Independence
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.
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.