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.
My wife is an amazing person in many ways. Her ability to save money, live frugally, and enjoy life to the fullest is an everyday inspiration to me. She really exemplifies the simplest and most important rule of personal finance: earn more than you spend.
During this one year of high intensity debt repayment, my wife maximized her income, minimized her expenses, and saved, saved, saved! After I proposed to her, we decided that she would continue working (we didn’t live in the same state) until we got married.
At the time, she was working for a pharmaceutical company making around $60,000 a year. However, this income was supplemented by the fact that her company gave her a car, gas card, food allowance when travelling (she was away from her home 2 weeks a month), a laptop, and a cell phone. Additionally, she moved back with her parents in her old childhood room, so her housing costs dropped to zero. Because her costs dropped so low, she was able to save over 80% of her take home pay. She generally spent less than $300 a month for a year on clothes, going out to eat, and spending time with her family.
This intensity and focus on a financial goal cut our combined student debt in half, from $100,000 to $50,000 by the time we got married. She came into the marriage without a penny of debt to her name. I wish I could have done the same, but my expenses were higher and my income lower, so I’m still working on paying down my $60,000 worth of student loans I graduated with (now down to $40,000 after 2 years!).
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.