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.
USAA offers many easy, cost effective, and outstanding financial products and services to military members and their families. Their mobile banking app is one of the best in the industry. They were also the first US bank to offer mobile deposits through scanners and then iPhones and Android devices. These kinds of innovations make it easy to use USAA as an “online only” bank (although I have been to their San Antonio branch and done a few transactions in person, which was a bizarre experience, having never been in a physical bank in so many years).
I recently was able to use a new feature on their mobile app: “Pay Someone.” This is an awesome financial tool and it was astounding how easily it worked. Doesn’t it bother you that in the days of iPhones, wireless electricity, and Google Glasses, there is still no easy and free way to electronically send money to your friends to, say, split a bar tab or a restaurant bill? It really bugs me!
The “Pay Someone” feature is located under the Transfers/Deposits section of the USAA app. I’ll walk you through my experience on an Android device:
This should be your next screen. Select what account you’d like to send the money from (I used my checking).
Now you can type in the receipts name and email or phone number. If the email or phone number is registered and confirmed with Paypal, the transaction will go through as soon as you select an amount and hit transfer. When my friend and I tried it, the money was in his checking account within 30 seconds. And it was all free and easy!
If the person doesn’t have their phone number or email address linked into Paypal, they will receive an email or text message informing them that they have money waiting for them and can sign up for Paypal to receive the money.
So that’s it! I found the service extremely easy to use. And of course, it’s the best price: FREE! Another great service for military members and their families from USAA.
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.